You’ve created a beautiful Squarespace website, and you’re concerned about messing up or losing all of the hard work you and your web designer put in. So how do you back up your Squarespace website to ensure your hard work and content is safe?
This is a question I hear a lot, as a Squarespace Circle member who designs and works on Squarespace websites for clients. The answer is not easy as it seems it should be, because Squarespace doesn’t have a native backup function. *cue gasps*
In this post, we’ll discuss some Squarespace backup options despite the platform lacking backups as an official feature. We’ll cover ways to protect your content and your images, and how to prevent design mistakes whenever you’re making major changes.
Why Squarespace Doesn’t Have A Native Backup Feature
Traditionally, website backups are used by developers to roll a website back to a previous version when a code update breaks the site. In short, that doesn’t happen on Squarespace because their developers test each code update before deploying it to all Squarespace websites, because Squarespace isn’t just a host – it’s a complete website builder and hosting plan all on one service.
On a traditional host, they are simply providing a server and you can put whatever files you like on that server, including any code, photo files, a static HTML website, or a WordPress website. Because the host is providing server space and you’re the one managing your own code, website, and files, you’re the one that also has to make sure it’s backed up.
In comparison, Squarespace is a managed website builder platform, which is different from a traditional host. They are managing the hosting server and the website platform’s coding for you, meaning that in a way, they also handle backups for you on the backend. You don’t have to personally handle any of the files, tech, or server backups. They already have redundancy built in to ensure every website on the platform works, period.
Essentially, Squarespace as a platform doesn’t provide a clear backup option because their service by default is a platform that works. No platform or plugin update is going to break your website on a development level, requiring a rollback to a previous version.
Reasons to Back Up Your Squarespace Website Anyway
Sure, we get that Squarespace as a platform won’t break, since the entire premise of their service is a website platform that just works, period.
But what happens when you want to prevent yourself or an employee from accidentally deleting a page or important design element from your Squarespace site? What happens when you’re working with team members or contractors who are editing your website, and you want to be able to roll back any website design “oopsies” that happen? What happens when a former employee who still has website access goes rogue and messes up your content?
This is a very valid concern, and in my opinion as someone who has been managing and building websites for over a decade, is the main reason most website owners want a backup. We can see from the Squarespace forum itself (with a backup request thread from over 10 years ago !!) that some SS website owners have experienced first-hand deletions (both malicious and accidental) at the hands of their employees or team members.
So how do you backup your Squarespace website, to make sure you won’t lose important content or design elements, even though you’re not a developer worried about code deployment issues?
4 Ways to Backup Your Squarespace Website
There are some options to create a Squarespace backup yourself, even if it’s not a backup in the traditional sense.
1. Duplicate your actual Squarespace website as a backup
When to use this strategy:
- Right before major website changes
- On a schedule if you have employees working on your website regularly
If you’re constantly making website changes, this may or may not be practical to do before every website edit. But if you have employees who are regularly working on the website, or you’re about to make major website changes, just go ahead and make a duplicate copy of your website inside your Squarespace account before making major changes.
You can even duplicate your site on a schedule. Say, assign it to an employee to do every Monday, or on the 1st and 15th of every month.
You’ll need to do this regularly as each duplicate copy of the site will have a trial that expires. But this is truly the best way to create a Squarespace website backup, because it’s an exact copy of your website to reference.
2. Download a copy of your .XML data
When to use this strategy:
- You want to have a copy of your website content on another platform (WordPress)
- You’re comfortable using XML files
Squarespace allows you to export certain data from your website in an XML file. If you use this export to import into a WordPress.com website, it will even pull in all of your photos to the WordPress.com hosted website, according to the Squarespace instruction page.
This isn’t a very practical long-term solution, though. It doesn’t save any of your design elements or your images, unless you use the WordPress.com strategy above. And XML files are not very readable for people, as it’s essentially just a code map of all of your website’s pages and content.
I only recommend using this if you specifically want to view your content using another platform, or you’re planning to move to WordPress.
3. Save your content, images, and custom code elsewhere
When to use this strategy:
- You want to be sure you have a copy of all of your images somewhere other than your website
- You want to write or manage copies of your written content outside of your website
Worried about losing images you’ve uploaded to Squarespace? Or changing the content of a page and then forgetting what used to be there? Or forgetting what CSS you used to make your website look ahhh-mazing? Then this is the perfect solution for you.
Use a service like Google Drive or Dropbox to create a “Website Content” folder, and add in all of your images, content, and custom code that you want to keep in your back pocket.
Squarespace shouldn’t be the main source of your brand’s images, anyway. I recommend always keeping your image and design assets in a brand folder using a file storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox.
You can do this with each of your website pages, too. Simply create a new document for each page, and copy+paste your content into each document.
Bonus points if you actually write your content in Google Drive first, and then publish it on your website, instead of writing your content directly in your website.
My guess is you’re using some sort of document writing tool to create your content first anyway, not writing it right in the Squarespace editor. By getting into the habit of using an auto-saving file service like Google Drive, you’ll never have to worry about lost content.
You can even create new files for new page versions. For example, want to rewrite your About page, but still want to be able to reference your old content in case you want to change it again later?
Simply duplicate your About page document in your file storage service of choice, come up with a naming convention to keep track of your versions (for example About Page 2.0), and edit it from there. If you have a ton of documents to keep track of, create an Archive folder to drop old versions into.
Once you like the new copy, publish it on your website – and all versions will always be saved, no matter what happens on your site or with Squarespace.
The same goes for images. In your website folder, add a subfolder for images. Drop all of your website images there and use it as your main brand folder! Bonus: This also makes it easier to provide original, high-quality creatives to any contractors you work with in the future.
4. Take full-page screenshots of your Squarespace pages
When to use this strategy:
- You want to remember how your live Squarespace design looked
- You’re okay with taking screenshots page by page
Saving your XML export or adding all of your content to Google Drive still doesn’t help you save your design. So if you want a backup record of your full Squarespace designs, you’ll need to take a screenshot of each page.
To keep these organized and make sure you don’t lose them, you can even combine this with the tip above – just add another subfolder to your website folder I suggested creative above. Call it Website Screenshots if you want to get really crazy.
Then you’ll simply take a full page screenshot of each page using an extension like GoFullPage. It’s a handy Chrome extension that allows you to do this in one click.
Confession: I regularly use this plugin to take full page “before and afters” when I’m working on a client’s new website design. I also use it on client websites before I start any manual SEO edits, that way if they claim I made some wild visual changes, I can prove what the site looked like before I begin work.
Until Squarespace provides a native backup option for their websites, or even an option to roll back changes for individual pages, these are the 4 backup options we have.
I am staying on top of the Squarespace Circle forum for any updates in this realm. I do trust that Squarespace is generally a safe place to own and host a website, in terms of server issues and knowing that we’ll never need to restore a Squarespace website due to an update that broke the site. But it is unfortunate that they don’t provide native backups to prevent us from doing accidental website damage to our own content and design.
Thankfully, these Squarespace backup options can still help save your web design behind in the case of accidental (or purposeful) deletions or mistakes.
Also don’t forget, that deleted pages go into a Trashcan area where they can be restored. So if that’s the only mistake you’ve made, then you don’t even need to worry about having a backup.