Q: Can I use a CSV file as a backup for my Shopify store?
Many merchants are under the impression that having a CSV export is like creating a backup of their store. It’s understandable why you might think that since even Shopify suggests using a CSV export as a backup. However, this is simply bad advice, and here’s why:
1. You cannot export your entire store – just parts of it
You can only export and import the following data from your store as CSV files: products, customers, inventory, orders (export only), and discounts (export only). You cannot export your pages, blog posts, menus, and more (which make up a huge part of your site). When an import goes wrong, or a code change is made, it’s hard to predict how that change will impact your entire store. That’s why you can’t depend on partial “backups” to help you in case of a problem.
2. You have to remember to update your CSV files
Everything about CSV files has to be done manually, including updating them. If you rely on CSV files as your backup, you will have to remember to update those files on a consistent basis. In some cases, even a week-old export might be too outdated to be used to recover after a problem.
3. CSV files can’t distinguish custom categories
If you do have a Shopify Product CSV file that you exported from your Shopify store, the CSV file would not be useful to help restore the products if they were deleted. They typically wouldn’t contain information about collections of products or distinguish between the different products and the different collections that they belong to.
4. CSV files don’t get images transferred over
Product images cannot be imported into CSV format. As a result, if you lose all of your products, you’re going to have to manually add in all the images to your products, which can take hours or days of work. Unfortunately, this was the case for one of our customers, Andrew Saunders:
“Do yourself a favour and download this plug in. Even though I have not used it – I wish I had downloaded it on my other store when 60% of my product images were deleted after importing a CSV file and costing me weeks of work locating and uploading the images again. Don’t take the risk.”
A lot can go wrong with importing/exporting a CSV file to your store. Shopify briefly outlines some of the issues here:
To learn more about importing and exporting a CSV to your store, refer to our guide on CSV files and your ecommerce store.
Our Recommendation – Backup your store BEFORE you import a CSV file
Rewind runs automatic backups of your entire store on a daily basis, but you can also run a backup yourself right before importing your CSV file to make sure that your site stays undamaged. If something were to go wrong with your site after importing, you can simply go into your Rewind Vault, and restore your store to the moment before the CSV import.
Do not under any circumstances think that using a CSV is a sufficient backup tool! Use Rewind to backup your Shopify store data and ensure that your store is fully protected.