Dispelling The Myths of Magento Updates

Despite being a popular choice of eCommerce platform, there remains a perception that Magento is one of the trickier solutions to maintain and protect. But we’re here to debunk the myths of updates and set the record straight.

Magento isn’t a hosted platform like Shopify, meaning you (or your web agency) need to look after updates, upgrades and hosting yourself. As a result, some believe this makes Magento difficult to maintain and protect. The truth is, however, that Magento is simply a different system. And one that requires manual updates every now and then.

Why are updates so important?

Containing fixes, enhanced security measures and new functionality, updates are designed to make sure your site continues to perform the best it can. A priority when it comes to taking care of your eCommerce store and ensuring your customers are safe and secure online, without regular updates, your site could be vulnerable to exploitations.

Remember, change is not a bad thing, but unmanaged change is.

Do all eCommerce platforms need updates?

Yes, all software platforms need updates. There’s a common misconception that SaaS or hosted platforms don’t require them, but they do, they just happen to be handled by the software provider.

For example, did you know that Shopify made an average of 10 releases a month in 2020 so far, whereas Magento has had just three? Neither approach is wrong, and one is not necessarily better than the other – they’re just different processes to the maintenance and patching of their software and are just one of the considerations you face when selecting your eCommerce platform.

Which approach to updates is better?

With the immediate benefits evident, some merchants lean towards hosted platforms in favour of the hands-off maintenance approach. Magento, on the other hand, undeniably requires manual intervention to keep your store up to date. But don’t be mistaken into thinking the hosted approach removes the risk of updates altogether. In fact, it carries a whole different risk when it comes to updates and maintenance.

You see, the problem with ‘invisible’ updates being rolled out to hosted platforms is that you don’t have control over when and if they’re implemented and you also don’t know the effect each fix has had on your site. This makes it harder to regression test and spot issues that may need immediate attention to ensure your store and customer experience are not negatively affected.

Instead, Magento’s managed and process-driven approach to updates makes it much easier to monitor knock-on effects and react accordingly. There is certainly a degree of regular maintenance that should be considered, but it is this that gives you greater control over your own website.

How are Magento helping to improve the upgrade process?

While not as frequent as some platforms, Magento do still regularly release updates to patch their software, making fixes, enhancing security measures and releasing new and improved functionality to Magento powered eCommerce stores. But they are equally as committed to making that process as simple and streamlined as possible.

With several notable developments recently rolled out, here’s how Magento are working to make updates all the more manageable:

  • Improvements to updates within Magento 2: When Magento 2 was created, it was completely re-architected from the ground up with many improvements on its predecessor, Magento 1. Major improvements were made to the update process making it simpler, faster and more manageable in comparison.
  • Security Only patches: Magento is now also releasing ‘Security Only’ patches which are even less complex to install. Giving you even greater control, these patches provide the option to purely implement the security updates with the flexibility to delay less critical quality and performance changes until a later time suited to your development programme.
  • Support for previous versions: With over 12 months support guaranteed for previous major versions of the Magento platform, merchants have plenty of time to plan and implement updates alongside other functional upgrades they may be working on.

Easy management of the update process

With upgrades such an important part of your website’s health and your customer shopping experience, keeping on top of them will ensure your site remains safe, secure and protected.

When Magento upgrades are released, it’s important they’re carried out properly and in a timely manner. If you’ve heard the odd horror story, you’ll be reassured to know that these are not typically caused by the Magento updates themselves, but by poor customisations or a bad implementation.

One way to make the update process easier and mitigate risk is to lean on the experience of a reputable Magento agency, with the processes and expertise in place to seamlessly carry out your site updates. A good web agency will be on-hand to provide ongoing support, with regular maintenance such as updates already considered within their support services and retainer plans. This approach means you have one less thing to worry about and you can rest easy knowing your site is safe, secure and in the hands of Magento experts.

If you’d like to learn more about the Magento platform and how to handle updates to your site, get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.