How I Back Up My Squarespace Site

When I mention that I'm a fan of Squarespace, I often hear 2 concerns:

"You don't own your content" and "If the site goes down, you lose all your work."

Unfortunately, there is a little confusion in those 2 statements, so I want to talk about them. 

I hope this gives those of you who have built your sites on Squarespace, a bit more info on what's going on & how to protect yourself by backing up your website

First, it's important to know that you do own your content and domain once it's published on Squarespace.

And Squarespace allows you to freely export that content at any time & take it with you. (More on that in a second.) 

However, when you agree to the Terms of Service, you are granting Squarespace a license to host it. ("...a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to host and use the Content in order to provide you with the Services...") And this is, by the way, the same agreement you have with Facebook.

As for taking your domain with you that Squarespace registers for you, the Squarespace Domain Agreement reads: "...the domain name will be registered in your name and is yours to keep...also allows you to transfer your domain name to another party."

What I think people really mean when they say they're worried about losing everything is that Squarespace could decide at any time to not be in the business of web hosting anymore.

And if the platform were to disappear, your content/website would go with them, true. To me, though, this feels like the same risk I take with other platforms & social media accounts. It's a risk we all take.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the big issue here for me really is how do I back my content up?

(In the event that the platform is hacked, closes up shop, or I want to transfer to Wordpress one day.)

Here are the 4 things I do on the regular to make sure I have all of my content, should I need it some day:

1) PERIODICALLY DOWNLOAD MY XML FILE

I export my XML file regularly to be sure I have a backup of my content. In case you aren't sure how to grab that, watch this: 

So, once you have the .XML file, what do you do with it?

I connected with my friend Jill, a web designer over at Spark + Influence, and she has some great tips.

Here's what she has to say for those of who you would like to get your files over to Wordpress from Squarespace:

You can export your data. Once you have your XML file you can upload it to your Wordpress Dashboard by Tools -> Import -> Wordpress. Once you upload it I recommend checking to make sure any links you have are active and not broken.

2) SAVE ALL OF MY BLOG IMAGES

I also keep a file with all of the blog images that I create (like the one at the top of this post). Your XML file won't be super helpful with this. 

Jill also had this to say about what to do with your images: 

Images won’t transfer smoothly so I recommend uploading them (Dropbox, Flickr etc) and then once the migration is complete going back and adding them individually. If you are not comfortable taking this on, you can hire a designer for a small fee to do this migration for you! It’s not a difficult process but it does require a little know how and can be much more useful than starting all over again!

3) KEEP COPIES OF MY POSTS IN GOOGLE DRIVE

I've told how much I love Google Docs & Sheets! I keep copies of my posts in a folder there, as well. This is a just in case measure to be sure I have my content should I ever need it.

4) KEEP A VISUAL SITEMAP

I like to update this periodically. That way, if I ever need to rebuild my site, I can take the guess work out of what went where basically. I like to use a tool called bubble.us for this. It's free and you can export the images you create with it. 

Do you have any other tips for how you back up your website regularly? I'd love to hear from you!


If you're a Squarespace DIY-er who just wants a little help with your site, Square Chats are for you! We will schedule a call to chat live, and we'll work through all your questions. And we'll share screens so you can actually watch me work on your site. (And as a Squarespace Circle member, my clients get priority customer service for any bigger issues you might have.) Chats start at $39 for 30 minutes.