Quite a while ago, Google had some server troubles and many people reported that their accounts were lost, or different kind of data was lost. Also, a few days ago, another breach in Google’s security caused the google.ro website to crash. Is it me, or is Google losing its touch? I certainly hope not, but just in case, I’ve decided to make a backup of my Gmail account, so that whatever happens, I know that my emails and attachments are safe.

However, when I started to look through the settings of my Gmail, I found no such feature that allows users to download the content of their Gmail to a local drive. I did, however, find the Gmail Offline Chrome extension that lets me view emails offline, but still, no proper backup utility. Therefore, I had to search for a few solutions to solve my problem.


How to Backup Gmail

To my surprise, I found more than one solution for backing up my Gmail account, some very easy, some pretty difficult, but all capable of helping me out. I won’t go into the Gmail Backup utility, as this one was already covered, but I’ll try to expand the possibilities of backing up your Gmail, both offline and online. We’ll start off with the easiest ways to do this, and later on, we’ll be looking at some rather difficult methods, for those who like a challenge.

1. Forwarding to another mail service


Although a bit evil, this method is probably the simplest one of all. Just forward all your messages from your Gmail account to the other account and from now on, all your messages will have a backup. This method might work for the new emails you will receive from the day you start the forwarding process, but it will do nothing for the emails that are already in your inbox.

This option is probably the simplest one of all, and you can easily set it up from your Settings panel in Gmail. Go the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab and activate the forwarding feature (the first one on the list). Here you will have to input the desired email address where you want your emails to be forwarded to and select one option from the drop-down menu on what to do with the original email.

2. Microsoft TrueSwitch


In their effort to bring more people towards products like Outlook or Hotmail (yeah, like Gmail users will ever move to Outlook), Microsoft have developed a service that will allow their users to completely migrate an email account. Although some might think of this as taking advantage of a system developed for other purposes, it can be used as a backup tool for your Gmail account.

The process is again, fairly simple. Head to the TrueSwitch page and fill the fields with the required information. When it’s all set up and running, the process is automated, so you don’t have to do anything, and you will receive an email from Microsoft when the transfer completes (depending on the amount of information, it could take even a few days to complete). After it’s all done, new information will be added periodically, so you can just leave it there and never worry about it again.

3. Online Backup

One other manner of backing up Gmail is to use a dedicated cloud storage utility. That utility is called Backupify and it allows you to completely backup your Google account and it also updates it automatically. Also, you can go one step further and backup your Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts. The backups are done once a day, so you don’t have to keep track of how often you’ve backed up and you won’t fear that important data is not safe.

Although this service looks like the best one so far, know that it is not for free. If you wish to use it, it will cost you $3/month/user and you have 35 GB of storage. There are solutions for enterprises also, but these cost more, but for regular users, the basic backup will do just fine.

4. Use POP/IMAP for back up


This option has been available for quite some time now, and many have used it to great success. Also, until now all the methods above used other online services to backup the files, this method however, makes a backup on your local drive. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend using this method because personal computers are more at risk of virus corruption or attacks than servers, which use complex security systems and many redundant backups, but some users feel more secure to have their files on a local drive.

For you to accomplish this, you will need to activate the POP/IMAP feature in the Gmail Settings panel, under Forwarding and POP/IMAP you can enable either POP or IMAP. Google is kind enough to explain in great detail how this process works. I encourage you to take a look at the Google tutorial and see how it’s done.

These are the best and easiest methods of making a backup of your Gmail account. You now have the option to do this both online and offline and by doing it, it will give you the peace of mind that you want. I doubt that Google will have too many problems with security in the future, but it’s never a bad idea to have a backup of your information. Just remember to keep it safe and away from possibly being hacked.

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I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.