The Magento Upgrade

A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

Magento how to upgrade

The world of eCommerce is a fast evolving one and it is important to be aware of latest versions. To keep your online store ahead of the competition, it’s crucial to regularly update your eCommerce platform, such as Magento, with the latest versions. Regular updates not only offer improved features and functionalities but also fix bugs and security issues, ensuring that your website continues to deliver the right customer experience.

For this purpose, Adobe rolled out its Magento 2023 upgrade (version 2.4.6) on March 14, promising a host of new enhancements that can streamline operations, boost site performance, and improve security measures. But how do you navigate this upgrade? If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. This comprehensive step-by-step manual is designed to guide you through the process smoothly. We’ll delve into what’s new in this upgrade, how to prepare for it, the actual steps for the upgrade, and what needs to be done post-upgrade.

Whether you’re a Magento veteran or new to this open-source e-commerce platform, this guide will help you successfully steer the 2023 Magento upgrade and leverage its new features for your business’s benefit.

Understanding the Magento Upgrades

You might still be wondering, “Why should I bother with regular Magento upgrades?” The answer is simple: to keep your eCommerce store running smoothly and securely.

Magento upgrades often come with improvements in performance, security, and functionality. They fix known bugs and vulnerabilities, making your site safer from cyber threats. Performance enhancements mean your website loads faster, providing a better experience to your customers, which can lead to increased conversions and sales.

Moreover, Magento upgrades introduce new features and functionalities that can help you manage your store more effectively, streamline operations, and offer better services to your customers. In essence, regular upgrades ensure your eCommerce store remains modern, efficient, and customer-friendly.

What’s New in the 2023 Magento Upgrade?

The Magento 2.4.6 upgrade brings an impressive suite of nearly 300 enhancements that seek to refine the platform’s quality, bolster modules integrated with Google, streamline payment methods, optimize GraphQL caching performance, and enhance accessibility.

Here are some of the key improvements:

  • Boosted Performance: The upgrade has addressed issues related to Magento installation, upgrade, and deployment. This has resulted in a significant boost in performance, allowing your eCommerce store to run more smoothly and efficiently.
  • Bulk Product Updates and Filtering: The new version facilitates the mass updating of products through API, along with improved grid filtering capabilities that operate seamlessly without triggering errors. This means you can manage large inventories more effectively, saving time and reducing potential errors.
  • Improved Accessibility: The checkout and review order processes have been enhanced for better accessibility. Buttons in these workflows are now easily accessible with keyboard inputs, making it easier for all users to navigate and complete their purchases.
  • Optimized Cache Management: The full-page cache now remains intact unless the product ordered is completely out of stock. Successful data caching is achieved with the configuration of the L2 cache. These advancements guarantee an accelerated website loading time, resulting in a superior user experience.
  • Refined Inventory Display: The ‘Display Out of Stock Products’ feature on the storefront inventory now functions as expected when enabled. This allows customers to see out-of-stock products, which can be useful for planning future purchases or requests.
  • Better Product Configurations: Admins can add simple products with a salable quantity of 0 to a configurable product in their shopping cart. Similarly, shoppers can add multiple simple products to an existing configurable product without encountering errors.
  • Email Optimization: Upon creating an order from the Admin, Magento will no longer send duplicate emails to the customer, preventing confusion and maintaining professional communication.
  • Custom SMTP Provider: The new version allows merchants to specify a custom external SMTP provider, offering more flexibility in managing email communications.
  • Enhanced Account Security: Customers exceeding the allowed number of failed login attempts can reset their password and log in again. This improvement enhances account security while ensuring user accessibility.
  • Accurate Shipping Rate Calculations: The 2.4.6 upgrade ensures accurate calculation of shipping rates for FedEx, USPS, and UPS, even when the Free Shipping Cart rule is configured to apply solely to a specific subset of items in the cart.
  • Updated JavaScript Libraries: Obsolete JavaScript libraries have been brought up to date with the latest versions, improving site performance and compatibility with various web technologies.

Magento 2.4.6 upgrade

System Requirements for Magento 2.4.6

It’s crucial to meet specific system requirements to ensure the smooth operation of Magento 2.4.6. With this upgrade, Magento introduces support for PHP 8.2, keeping PHP 8.1 fully supported while discontinuing support for PHP 7.4. Thus, Magento Open Source 2.4.6 no longer runs on PHP 7.4.

Compared to the previous version, Adobe Commerce 2.4.6 has undergone significant changes in system requirements. Here are the key points to check:

  • Composer: Version 2.2 is required to manage the installation and updating of packages in your Magento project.
  • Elasticsearch: The latest version calls for Elasticsearch 7.x or 8.x, which is an open-source, RESTful, distributed search and analytics engine.
  • OpenSearch: This release recommends OpenSearch 2.x, and it has been tested on 2.5. It serves as the default search engine for Magento Open Source on-premises and cloud deployments.
  • Database Management Systems: MariaDB 10.6 and MySQL 8.0 are the recommended versions. For AWS users, Aurora (MySQL) 8.0 is required.
  • PHP: While PHP 8.2 is the stable version, PHP 8.1 is also supported.
  • RabbitMQ: Version 3.9 is needed for messaging capabilities that allow different components of a large application to communicate and process operations asynchronously.
  • Redis: The caching system needs version 7.0 to enhance performance by storing precomputed data in a shared memory space.
  • Varnish: Version 7.1 is required for HTTP acceleration designed for content-heavy dynamic websites.
  • Web Servers: Apache 2.4 or Nginx 1.18 are needed to serve your Magento site.
  • AWS MQ: For AWS users, version 3.9.13 is required to manage all the administrative operations associated with messaging.
  • AWS OpenSearch: AWS users also require OpenSearch 1.2 for powerful search and analytics capabilities.

magento_2.4.6 system requirements

Preparing for the Upgrade

Preparing for the Magento 2.4.6 upgrade requires careful planning and execution to ensure a seamless transition. Here are some key steps to help you prepare for the upgrade:

1. Review System Requirements

Before starting the upgrade process, it’s crucial to review and meet the necessary system requirements for Magento 2.4.6. This includes ensuring the correct versions of PHP, Elasticsearch, OpenSearch, MariaDB, MySQL, RabbitMQ, Redis, Varnish, Apache, Nginx, and Composer are installed on your server. As discussed above, for AWS users, make sure the appropriate versions of AWS Aurora, AWS MQ, and AWS OpenSearch are in place. Some hosting providers will automatically carry out these checks and upgrades to your stack.

2. Backup Your Data

Creating a complete backup of your store’s data is a critical step before any major update. This includes backing up your database, media files, and custom code. Should anything go wrong during the upgrade, having a recent backup allows you to restore your store to its pre-upgrade state swiftly. Depending on your hosting provider this could be done at a click of a button, or a manual process might be needed. Such was the case with Osborne & Little project

 3. Test in a Staging Environment

It’s highly advisable to perform the upgrade first in a staging environment that mirrors your live store. This allows you to identify and resolve any potential issues without affecting your live store’s performance or customer experience.

4. Review and Update Custom Extensions

Ensure all your custom extensions and themes are compatible with the new Magento version. If they’re not, they might cause conflicts or break functionalities in your store. You might need to update them or find alternatives that are compatible with Magento 2.4.6.
This is where things can go very smoothly or become complicating, which can be the case if you have inherited the site. This was the case with Sinopec were custom written modules critical to the operation of the site could not be updated. To avoid any issues, bespoke modules should be written following Magento methodologies and guidelines.

5. Plan for Downtime

Although Magento strives to minimize disruption during upgrades, it’s wise to plan for some downtime. Inform your customers ahead of time and try to schedule the upgrade during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on sales and user experience.
In some instances we have had to schedule different timings, based on the location of the client. With Osborne & Little for example, with a user base across the UK and the US, the Go Live was schedules for 4am UK time, while Sinopec, which is based in Australia, the Go Live schedule took place at 5pm. It is important to reduce the impact of down time on your customer base.

6. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you’re not comfortable performing the upgrade yourself, consider hiring a Magento-certified developer or agency. They can help ensure the upgrade process goes smoothly and troubleshoot any issues that might arise.

How to Upgrade Magento

With careful planning and execution, the process of upgrading to Magento 2.4.6 can be smooth and efficient. In addition to the points mentioned above, here is the step-by-step manual for upgrading to Magento 2.4.6:

Step 1: Start the Upgrade Process

As mentioned before, it’s better to start the upgrade process in your staging environment. This involves updating your Composer’s “composer.json” file to require the new Magento version and running the Composer update.

composer-update-magento-version
composer update

Step 2: Update the Database Schema and Data

After upgrading the Magento software, you’ll need to update the database schema and data. Run the command “bin/magento setup:upgrade.”

Step 3: Clean the Cache

Run the command “bin/magento cache:clean” to clean the cache.

Step 4: Reindex the Indexers

Reindex the indexers by running “bin/magento indexer:reindex”.

Step 5: Check the Site

Thoroughly check your staging site. Test all functionalities, check all pages, and ensure everything works as expected.

Step 6: Go Live

Once you’re satisfied everything works correctly in the staging environment, repeat the process in your live store.

By following this guide, you can successfully upgrade to Magento 2.4.6 and take advantage of its new features, improved performance, and enhanced security. Remember to always review the system requirements, back up your data, test in a staging environment, update custom extensions, plan for downtime, and seek professional help if needed.

Post-Upgrade Considerations

The journey doesn’t end at the upgrade stage. There are several post-upgrade considerations to ensure your eCommerce store runs smoothly and correctly.

I. Thorough Testing

Post-upgrade, it’s essential to thoroughly test your site. This includes checking all functionalities, from navigating through the website, searching for products, and adding items to the cart to completing a purchase. Also, check your payment gateways, shipping methods, and any other integrations you have.

II. Troubleshooting

Despite careful planning and execution, you may encounter some issues after the upgrade. Common problems include broken links, layout issues, or extension conflicts. It’s crucial to address these issues promptly to ensure a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

III. Performance Monitoring

Monitor your site’s performance after the upgrade. Look for any changes in page load times, bounce rates, or conversion rates. If you notice any negative trends, they could be signs of issues that need to be resolved.

IV. Leveraging New Features

Magento 2.4.6 brings several new features and improvements. Take time to familiarize yourself with these enhancements. For instance, Magento 2.4.6 introduces support for PHP 8.2, offering improved performance and security. Elasticsearch and OpenSearch have also been upgraded, providing better search capabilities.

V. Customer Feedback

Pay close attention to customer feedback post-upgrade. Your customers can provide valuable insights into any issues they’re facing or improvements they’d like to see. This feedback can guide your ongoing optimization efforts.

VI. Continued Maintenance

Remember, maintaining an eCommerce store is an ongoing process. Regularly update your Magento software, extensions, and themes to ensure optimal performance and security.

Final Words: 2023 Magento Upgrade

Upgrading your Magento store is more than just a routine maintenance task. It’s an essential strategy to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving world of eCommerce. Each upgrade brings with it improved performance, enhanced security, and new features designed to streamline your operations and enhance your customers’ shopping experience. Do you need help moving or upgrading a Magento website? Discuss your problem with one of our Magento Development Agents.

Your experiences with these upgrades, including Magento 2.4.6, are invaluable. They provide insights into the process, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. Sharing your experiences can help other Magento users navigate their own upgrade paths.
However, no upgrade is perfect, and Magento 2.4.6 was no exception. There were some issues, but the good news is that Magento has been proactive in addressing these in the forthcoming 2.4.7 version. Although it’s currently in beta, early indications suggest that it includes some exciting developments and fixes that will further enhance the Magento platform.

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