There are few companies that have earned as much public trust as Google. For the most part, this trust is well placed; google has had minimal downtime and virtually no major security issues in the more than two decades of its existence.
However, there’s no foolproof system, and if you care about your emails, you’ll need to invest in a gmail backup.
In this guide, I will show you 4 easy options on how to backup gmail.
5 reasons to backup gmail
why should you care about backing up gmail? After all, the emails associated with your Gmail account are already backed up in various places by Google; information is distributed and backed up in multiple data centers around the world as part of the cloud.
There are several threats that could compromise your ability to access your gmail account and use it normally, including:
1. cloud incidents.
Although Google has a relatively clean record in terms of cybersecurity and consumer protection, there is still a chance that they will experience a cloud incident in the future. a hacker could exploit a weakness in google’s security, or prolonged downtime could render services virtually inaccessible.
2. service and internet outages.
You could also personally experience service and internet outages. gmail is cloud-based, so if you can’t access the internet, you may not be able to access your account, at least temporarily.
3. hacks and compromises.
More commonly, it is possible for a g suite account to be hacked or compromised. someone could get into your account using the credentials of another compromised account, or could simply guess your password if it’s weak or predictable enough. if you are granted access, a malicious third party could lock your account or delete all your emails.
4. accidental deletion.
It’s not always a hacker responsible for mass deletion; Sometimes users accidentally delete an important email (or several) and can’t get it back. a backup makes this not a problem.
5. closure/loss of account.
There is also the possibility that your account may be closed or you may otherwise lose access to your account. There are rare situations where Google intentionally blocks users from accessing their own accounts (usually in response to a security issue), and your account administrator may also block you, intentionally or unintentionally.
Creating regular backups of your gmail account will protect you from all of these scenarios and give you continued access to your account even when it cannot be accessed through conventional means.
There are several individual strategies you can use to back up your gmail account, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. we’ll cover each of them in turn.
option 1: download your gmail messages
an easy option is to simply download your gmail messages in a .zip file; this way you can take a snapshot of your current account and access those messages whenever you want.
you will be able to access these stored files even if your internet access is compromised, but you will need to employ additional security measures so that people cannot access your account through these downloaded files; for example, you should encrypt your .zip file with a password to protect it.
to do this:
- Sign in to your google account. You can log in here.
- Go to the data and personalization area.
- scroll down and click “download, delete or create a plan for your data”.
- click download your data.
- choose mail (and any other categories you want to download). You can also choose to include all your mail, or only select messages with certain labels to download.
- Decide how to download messages. For most users, .zip is the ideal format.
Note that you can also enable “offline mode” in gmail by going to the settings menu, clicking the offline tab, then checking “enable offline mail” and clicking save changes.
option 2: sync gmail with a local email client
You can sync your gmail account with almost any email client, including outlook, mailbird, and thunderbird. basically this means that all your emails will be downloaded to this client, in addition to your main gmail account.
Even if you don’t plan on using your email client to manage your messages on a regular basis, this is a useful move to back up your messages. If something happens to your main account, you should at least be able to access a recent version of your account.
option 3: forward your emails to another email address
If you’re interested in having another email account serve as a backup for your gmail account, you can set up automatic forwarding to another address. In the gmail settings menu, go to forwarding and pop/imp, and you will be able to add a forwarding address. Any email addresses you add here will automatically receive a copy of all emails that arrive in your inbox from this point forward.
If you want to set up an even more sophisticated system, you can set automatic filters that forward only some of your emails to other email addresses. for example, you can create rules so that only emails from a certain sender or those that meet certain criteria are forwarded. it’s useful if you want a backup for only certain types of messages.
option 4: use a third party gmail archiver
If you want a long-term automated solution, you can also use a third-party gmail archiver. A popular option is gmvault, which is free and allows you to back up all your current gmail messages, applying them to a new account if you ever lose your old one. There are also a variety of subscription services to consider, including Backupify and Mail Archiver X.
If you decide to pay for a gmail backup subscription, be sure to do your due diligence. check user reviews and experiment with a free trial before deciding on a final product.
key tips for a successful gmail backup
If you want to get the most out of your gmail backup strategy, there are some important tips you’ll need to follow, including:
- make regular backups. Some of the strategies listed above are more useful as a stand-alone backup option, but for users concerned about security and accessibility, this is not enough. You’ll want to back up your account regularly, whether it’s automatically backing up your information at regular intervals or manually creating backups from time to time.
- back up security in several different ways. For maximum security, it’s worth backing up your messages in several different ways. for example, you can download a local copy of your messages while taking advantage of a cloud backup service. this way you’ll be protected against the unlikely event of a cascade of different failures.
- automate as much as you can. most people have trouble remembering to back up security of your gmail account. those who don’t have any problems still need to put in the time and effort to create backups. the correct way to tackle this problem is by automating everything you can; automation means you don’t have to consciously think about your effort and never have to worry about forgetting something. for example, you can use google sheets as a database and automatically update all records about the backup data there.
- look carefully for tools. before buying any tools designed to help you back up your gmail account, check it out. not all tools offer the same level of security, features, or reliability when it comes to backups.
- improve your security. while improving the integrity of your account, spend some time upgrading your email security. Make sure you enable multi-factor authentication on your account and choose a unique and strong password for your account. also use strong passwords for all your backup solutions and consider using additional security measures when sending particularly sensitive emails.
Now that you know how to back up Gmail, if you use Gmail on a daily basis, you should spend time analyzing your habits so that you can become a more effective email sender. that’s why emailanalytics exists.
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