The 2018 ultimate guide to G Suite backup

Many G Suite users have not lost their data and as a G Suite user myself, Google has for several years kept my company data secure. But due to the several ransomware attacks nowadays many are concerned about the loss of their data and are looking for options for backing up their G Suite data.

This article aims at providing various solutions to backing up G Suite (formally Google Apps) . I have put together this guide based on information provided by Dominic Acito and David Gewirtz.

Company-wide Data Back up Options

SysTools Google Apps Backup

You can try SysTools Google Apps Backup tool to backup G Suite to Local server. It helps users to easily take backup within minutes & with no file size limitations. Following are the features of Google Apps/G Suite backup software:


  • Only the admin credentials are required to backup multiple/all mailboxes of a G Suite domain
  • The admin can import the CSV file containing details of the mailboxes which are to be archived
  • Easily download Google Apps for business/work or education mailboxes items like: emails, contacts, calendars & documents
  • Take backup of the data in two ways: Single User account & multiple user accounts of a domain
  • No archive size limitation
  • Backup emails in 4 file format i.e EML, PST, MBOX & MSG
  • Can easily pause & resume the archive process

Cube Backup

CubeBackup keeps a local copy of all your business data for the entire G Suite domain. Whenever an employee receives an email, composes a document, creates a new calendar appointment, or modifies a contact, these changes will be automatically reflected in the next backup. With CubeBackup, you can still work with your business data even during cloud service failures or network connection disruptions.

Individual Data Backup Options

Backup G Suite Account with Google Takeout

  • Sign in to your G Suite for Education/Work account and open Google Takeout page.
  • A screen will open where you can export a copy or make a G Suite Backup by selecting data which you want to include.
  • Then, click Next.
  • A screen will appear with “Customize archive format” where you can select File Type to .zip, .tgz & .tbz, you can also set the archive size limit upto 50 GB.
  • Then select the Delivery method & click on create archive.
  • Next a screen will appear showing the archiving process.

In this way you can perform Google Apps for business/work or Education backup.

Limitation of Manual Method:

  • The process is lengthy and can consume a lot of time to archive large data files.
  • The archive size limit is 50 GB.
  • The data is backed up in only .mbox file format, you can then export this MBOX file to other file formats if needed.
  • Administrators can backup the other users’ mailboxes using Google Takeout. But, archiving multiple mailboxes at a time is not possible using this technique.

Gmail forwarding filter: The very easiest of these mechanisms is to set up a filter in Gmail. Set it to forward all you email to another email account on some other service. There you go. Done.

G Suite forwarding: One easy way I grab all incoming mail to my corporate domain is using a G Suite account. My company-related email comes into the G Suite account, a filter is applied, and that email is sent on its way to my main Gmail account.

This provides two benefits. First, I keep a copy in a second Google account and, for $8.33/mo, I get pretty good support from Google. The disadvantage of this, speaking personally, is only one of my many email addresses is archived using this method, and no mail I send is stored.

SMTP server forwarding rules: For the longest time, I used Exchange and Outlook as my email environment and Gmail as by incoming mail backup. My domain was set to an SMTP server running at my hosting company, and I had a server-side rule that sent every email message both to Exchange and to Gmail.

You can reverse this. You could also send mail for a private domain to an SMTP server, but use another service (whether Office 365 or something free, like as a backup destination.

Forward to Evernote: Each Evernote account comes with a special email address that you can use to mail things directly into your Evernote archive. This is a variation on the Gmail forwarding filter, in that you’d still use Gmail to forward everything, but this time to the Evernote-provided email address. Boom! Incoming mail stored in Evernote.

IFTTT to Dropbox (or Google Drive or OneNote, etc): While this approach isn’t strictly forwarding, it’s another on-the-fly approach that provides a backup as your mail comes in. There are a bunch of great rules that link Gmail to storage services like Dropbox, and you can use to backup all your messages or just incoming attachments to services like Dropbox.

In each of these cases, you’re essentially moving one cloud email store to another email store, so if you want something that you can physically control, let’s go on to the next strategy.

Local email client software: Perhaps the most tried-and-true approach for this is using a local email client program. You can run anything from Thunderbird to Outlook to Apple Mail to a wide range of traditional, old-school PC-based email clients.

All you need to do is set up Gmail to allow for IMAP (Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> Enable IMAP) and then set up an email client to connect to Gmail via IMAP. You want to use IMAP instead of POP3 because IMAP will leave the messages on the server (in your Gmail archive), where POP3 will suck them all down, removing them from the cloud.

You’ll also need to go into your Label settings. There, you’ll find a list of your labels, and on the right-hand side is a “Show in IMAP” setting. You must make sure this is checked so the IMAP client can see the email stored in what it will think are folders. Yes, you might get some message duplication, but it’s a backup, so who cares, right?

Just be sure you check your client configuration. Some of them have obscure settings that limit just how much of your server-based mail it will download.

The only real downside of this approach is you need to leave a user-based application running all the time to grab the email. But if you have a spare PC somewhere or don’t mind having an extra app running on your desktop, it’s a versatile, reliable, easy win.

Gmvault: Gmvault is a slick set of Python scripts that will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux and provides a wide range of capabilities, including backing up your entire Gmail archive and easily allowing you to move all that email to another Gmail account. Yep, this is a workable solution for easily moving mail between accounts.

What’s nice about Gmvault is that it’s a command-line script, so you can easily schedule it and just let it run without too much overhead. You can also use it on one machine to backup a number of accounts. Finally, it stores in multiple formats, including standard ones like .mbx that can be managed in traditional email clients like Thunderbird. Oh, and it’s open source and free.

Upsafe: Another free tool is Upsafe. Upsafe is Windows-only, but it’s stone-cold simple. All you do is install the program, connect it to your Gmail, and download. It will do incremental downloads and even let you browse your downloaded email and attachments from within the app.

Upsafe isn’t nearly as versatile as Gmvault, but it’s quick and painless.

The company also offers a cloud backup solution, which listed as free, but also comes with a premium backup solution which increases storage beyond 3GB and allows you to select whether your data is stored in the US or EU.

Mailstore Home: Yet another free tool is Mailstore Home. Like Upsafe, Mailstore is Windows-only. What I like about Mailstore is that it has business and service-provider bigger brothers, so if you want a backup solution that goes beyond backing up individual Gmail accounts, this might work well for you. It also can backup Exchange, Office 365, and various IMAP-based email servers.

MailArchiver X: Next, we come to MailArchiver X, a $34.95 OS X-based solution. Even though this solution isn’t free, it’s got a few interesting things going for it. First, it doesn’t just archive Gmail data, it also archives local email clients as well.

Somewhere on a backup disk, I have a pile of old Eudora email archives, and this could read them in and back them up. Of course, if I haven’t needed those messages since 2002, it’s not likely I’ll need them anytime soon. But, hey, you can.

More to the point, MailArchiver X can store your email in a variety of formats, including PDF and inside a FileMaker database. These two options are huge for things like discovery proceedings.

If you ever need to be able to do really comprehensive email analysis, and then deliver email to clients or a court, having a FileMaker database of your messages could be a win. It’s been updated to be Sierra-compatible. Just make sure you get version 4.0 or greater.

Backupify: Finally for this category, I’m mentioning Backupify, even though it doesn’t really fit our topic. That’s because many of you have suggested it. Back in the day, Backupify offered a free service backing up online services ranging from Gmail to (apparently) Facebook. It has since changed its model and has moved decidedly up-market into the G Suite and Salesforce world and no longer offers a Gmail solution.


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