Magento 2.0 was released in November of 2015. Following its much-anticipated launch, many bugs were discovered. In my opinion, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t yet ready for general release. It was tough to launch M2 websites due to its unstableness and lack of compatible extensions in the market. It’s why through 2016, many Magento experts were still recommending sites be built on Magento 1.
Regardless of its rough start, some great devs paved the way forward with Magento 2.0. After some incremental improvements, Magento 2.1 was released in June of 2016. Immediately, 2.1 became the new gold standard since it was more stable. Following this trend, Magento has continued to push forward with new versions each calendar year.
However, just like Magento 1 is reaching for it’s End of Life in June of 2020, Magento has also determined that it will sunset older versions of Magento 2. For starters, 2.0 was deprecated in March of 2018, meaning that when Magento puts out new patches and minor software updates, they don’t invest time and money on the 2.0.x version of Magento. This allows Magento to allocate resources more wisely. With that in mind, Magento 2.1 is scheduled to reach its end of life in June of 2019 – a full 3 years after it was launched. For more details regarding Magento releases and scheduled end of life dates, we have included the following chart:
Magento 2.2, which launched in Sept of 2017, will head for the software graveyard in Sept of 2019. This will coincide with the end of life of PHP 7.1. It’s in everyone’s best interest to be on a version of Magento that’s compatible with a version of PHP that security updates are being written for.
On the other hand, Magento 2.3 first debuted in November of 2018 with a wide range of new features and has no planned end of life at this time. In fact, we are excited that the Magento 2.3.1 released on March 26, 2019. It is tough to predict when Magento 2.4 will be released, but it looks like there’s a long life ahead for 2.3.x. In general, Magento is promising a minimum of 12 months of updates for 2.3 (ie. through November of 2019) and 18 months of security patches (ie. through May of 2020).
The differences between the Magento 2.0, 2.1, or 2.2 sunsets and the sunset of Magento 1 is the upgrade path. Keep in mind that if you’re on Magento 1, you’ll need to replatform/migrate to a new site, such a Magento 2 site. If you’re on a version of M2, you can update your software which should cost much less than replatforming. Regardless of your upgrade or migration path, all changes should be tested in development first. This way you can test functionality and work on any extension compatibility issues.
For those wondering when Magento 3 will come out, you may be waiting a very long time. Magento 1 was first released in March of 2008 which means it will be over 12 years old when it sunsets. As a company, Magento has worked hard to encourage more merchants to make the leap from M1 to M2. Instead of looking at a bigger rebuild, Magento has been baking significant changes and upgrades into its incremental releases, like 2.3, including valuable additions to the frontend like PWA and GraphQL.
All in all, the end of life of Magento 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 shouldn’t come as a huge surprise or cause for concern, but rather a good sign that Magento is consistently pushing forward with new features and updates.
Additional Recommended Resources:
If you’re still on Magento 1 and looking to learn more about migrating to Magento 2, check out the first episode of The JetRails Podcast. You can also check out our 2nd episode on the progression of Magento 2, which highlights features and functionalities that have been iteratively added to M2.