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Summary: Deciding whether to upgrade or migrate SharePoint versions is an overwhelming task for every organization. A thorough analysis of the current situation, business objectives, and SharePoint environments is a must. Continue reading to discover the key considerations when strategizing a SharePoint Server upgrade or migration. You’ll also learn about Kernel Migration for SharePoint to migrate from SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online/Office 365 or vice versa.

Each successive iteration of SharePoint Server outperforms its predecessors in aspects such as features, functionality, interface, storage capabilities, and performance. Each version of SharePoint, just like other applications, comes with a lifecycle, and once it’s reached, Microsoft stops providing support and assistance for the respective version. This makes going to the enhanced version a necessity rather than just being an access to improved features.

Transitioning to the latest version can be achieved through two distinct approaches: an Upgrade or a Migration. Nevertheless, users often grapple with the decision between opting for an upgrade or utilizing the SharePoint-to-SharePoint migration solution, unsure of the most suitable choice. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about the most suitable choice for your needs.

Comparison table for SharePoint Upgrade Vs. Migration

To help you choose between upgrade and migration, we have created a comparison table of the situations suitable for both. Let’s have a look at the differences.

Ideal Conditions for



No requirement for taxonomy/architecture modification Taxonomy/architecture needs redesigning
The existing version is 2010 or higher The existing version is 2003 or one of the earlier versions
Need to shift to the next higher version A movement to more than one higher version is required
Content is well-distributed Content is not well-distributed
Folder structures are not shallow Folder structures are quite shallow
Site Template includes Team Site, Records Center, Document Center Custom Site Template used for document repository site collection


Note: If the user wishes to move from the existing SharePoint Server version to SharePoint Online, then the migration option would be most suitable.

What to pick upgrade or migration?

The above table must have cleared your doubts. The shared information will help you make a good decision regarding the migration or upgrade. Let us discuss this thoroughly.

An upgrade is recommended in the following situations

Upgrading refers to the process of advancing the existing SharePoint system to the next accessible version. It can be a complex process as it may cause significant downtime and require careful planning to ensure compatibility with existing customizations. Here’s when you should consider upgrading SharePoint version.

  • Recommended only if re-designing is not needed (as upgrading the version moves the data with the same taxonomy).
  • Only upgrading from SharePoint version 2010 or higher version is recommended. Upgrading to older versions is not supported as they lack new features and functionalities.
  • The user can move to the next newer version only as upgradation to even one version higher is not possible.
  • Content is arranged properly with no shallowness and has to be moved just like that to the newer version.
A migration is advised in the following situations

On the other hand, migration entails moving data from either a SharePoint Server or another data source to a SharePoint Server. However, migrating to a new version like SharePoint Online or Office 365 may involve data loss, user training, and potential disruption to business operations. Let’s see when it’s suggested to perform migration.

  • When the user needs to redesign the taxonomy of the SharePoint content.
  • When data is to be moved from older versions like 2003, 2007 to the latest versions.
  • When migration from an existing version to a one or more than one higher version is required (like from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint 2019).
  • When the content arrangement is not proper (with too shallow folder structures).
  • When it is needed to move even customized site templates without causing any issues
Use professional tools for data transfer

SharePoint users can use any of the two options based on their current business or personal requirements. Still, the migration option has the upper hand and is popular with Microsoft SharePoint Server users. However, manual migrations are complex and lengthy. This is because the transfer requires understanding of both source and destination SharePoint environment plus thorough planning and execution. All these make this process almost infeasible for many users.

However, there’s no need to despair, as we offer a solution that ensures a seamless, fast, and effortless transition between various SharePoint versions. Introducing Kernel Migration for SharePoint that efficiently migrates data from the file system to SharePoint Server or SharePoint Online. The tool transferring specific SharePoint Sites, Subsites, Lists, Documents, items, and more, all while preserving permissions. What sets this advanced SharePoint Migration tool apart is its compatibility with all SharePoint Server versions and SharePoint Online plans.

To gain insight into the software’s functionalities and features, users can explore the free demo version available on our website.
Migration tool


Before making any decisions, it’s important to assess your business and find out what you want to achieve with that move and determine how important it is for your business. We’ve explored the essential considerations when undertaking an upgrade or migration within the existing SharePoint environment. While manual migrations between different SharePoint versions have their limitations employing a proficient and secure SharePoint migration tool helps streamlining the process.

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