February 21, 2024 by  Ashley Guberman

People complain that Notion backup and restore options are inadequate.  This comes up about once a week on Reddit.com/r/Notion

  • What if Notion goes down, given the lack of offline access?
  • What if Notion goes bankrupt?
  • What if Notion suddenly disappears or gets bought out?

While no infrastructure is perfect, by a factor of fifty or more, we are far more likely to lose our data from user error than from an infrastructure failure. If you’re using Notion with a team and have not set your security properly, the risk of user error increases.

There are three native options for backup, a couple of commercial approaches, some scripted options, and one completely free, robust, and reliable solution that I don’t see people talking about. Here’s what’s covered in the article.

  1. Exporting Your Workspace
  2. Restore From Trash
  3. Restore From the Edit History
  4. Commercial Backup Options
  5. Scripted Backup Options
    • 5a. GitLab
    • 5b. Selenium
  6. Free backup with live access to point-in-time snapshots
  7. Recovery From Complete Loss of Access
  8. You Triggered The 1000 Block Limit

1. Exporting Your Workspace

Benefits of Exporting Your Workspace

  • Exports will get all your content from Notion and put it into a ZIP file.
  • It’s great for putting into another storage medium or for compliance purposes.
  • All files and documents you uploaded to Notion can be found in the ZIP for recovery or use.
  • Database contents are exported in .csv format.

Where Exports Fall Short

  • You have to trigger them manually.
  • They can take a long time to produce.
  • The export files can be huge (mine was 6 Gb).
  • All database relationships are lost by reducing content to text in the CSV files.
  • You can’t go backward from the ZIP file into Notion. There’s no “restore.”
  • It’s not the same as “offline mode,” which people have requested forever, and does not exist

2. Restore From Trash

Benefits of Restoring Deleted Pages

  • You don’t have to do anything for deleted pages to appear here.
  • If you delete a page with many children, you can restore the parent, and all children return with it.
  • It’s easy to use.

Where Restoring Deleted Pages Fall Short

  • You have limited time to restore pages before they are gone forever. It’s 7 days with the free plan, 30 days with plus, and 90 days with business, covered on the pricing page.
  • The UI could be better – showing a table of the file, path, who deleted it, and when, with sorts.
  • You can only restore one page at a time.

3. Restore From the Edit History

Benefits of The Edit History

  • It’s like a time-based “Undo” for a single page.
  • You can “view” a prior version, put something in the paste buffer without restoring the whole page, and then put just that piece back into your live page.

Where Restoring From The Edit History Falls Short

  • Backup points are in ten-minute intervals or two minutes after you stop editing. That might not be granular enough.
  • If you delete something, keep working, and add new content, you must view prior versions and selectively copy back just the pieces you want. (This is true for any time-based recovery strategy.)

4. Commercial Options for Notion Backup

4a. Backup Labs


  • Free trial for 14 days, then about $10/month.
  • Works with multiple SAAS products, like GitHub, Trello, GitLab, Jira, and Notion.
  • The setup was easy.
  • It made periodic point-in-time backups that could be downloaded as ZIP files.
  • The support team was responsive to emails.


  • My first two backup attempts failed and gave no details. An email to support said it was an API error.
  • My third backup worked, but viewing the backup proved less than helpful, with nothing but “untitled” under one of the page trees I backed up.
  • Downloading requires that the ZIP file be processed first, after which there is a tiny window of 2 hours to download it.
  • The ZIP file was a bunch of JSON files that are great for programs but harder to work with for most people.

4b. Notion Backups


  • Free, 10-day trial, then about $10/month
  • Stores your data on one of
    • Google Drive
    • OneDrive (beta)
    • DropBox
    • Amazon S3
    • BlackBlaze B2
  • Multiple options for how often to back up and how long to retain backups. The pro version includes advanced options for monthly and yearly retention as well.
  • Includes the ability to back up comments on pages.


  • Once you connect your Notion workspace and a storage account, it’s unclear what to do to make the backup happen.
  • Your initial backup will be scheduled, but “backup workspace now” does not say when it will occur or when it has started. (After about five hours, I saw it show up.)
  • Other limitations about the current state of restoration are posted on their site.
  • Windows cannot open the ZIP file (it reports corrupt), but 7-Zip works fine.

4c. Pro Backups for Notion

Evaluation TBD.

5. Scripted Backup Options

6. Notion Backup Using A Second Account

With a free Notion account, there is (currently) no storage limit, provided that you don’t invite other members to your workspace, which would trigger the 1,000 block limit. We can use this to create a secondary free account and use this as the repository to hold point-in-time snapshots of our live data.

The process involves four simple steps:

  1. Publish a (root) page on your Notion workspace with the content you want to back up.
  2. Make a duplicate of that page from your live Notion account into your free account.
  3. Rename the copy you made to append a date stamp (e.g., MyWorkspace-2024.02.19
  4. Unpublish your live Notion page.


  • This is the only way to backup that lets you fully interact with all of the backup files.
  • This is the only way that permits a full restore by reversing the direction in which you perform a duplication.
  • All of the relationships between your databases are maintained.
  • Creation and modification dates on your database records are maintained.


  • It’s currently a manual process.

7. Recovery From Lost Access or Deleted Account

I have to confess here. Many people complained about losing access to their accounts, and I smugly thought, “That would never happen to me.” Well, I was wrong. So, I learned how easily it can happen and what is required to get everything back.

There are three ways to leave (or lose access) to an account.

You are a paid member or consultant wanting to leave.

This method also applies if you deliberately kick somebody else off your account.

The danger here is that you could potentially remove your own account, locking you out. Fortunately, after taking this option, you get to confirmations like this:

You are a guest of a workspace, and you want to leave.

You Deliberately Or Accidentally Delete Your Account (rather than your workspace)

This is the most catastrophic one when you likely wanted only to leave somebody else’s workspace.

The confirmation here is more explicit, but if you know what to look for and the differences between the deletion options, hopefully, this will help you. (This is the mistake I made when I thought I was leaving a client’s workspace rather than my access to all of my accounts, both mine and my clients.)

And after you make this horrendous mistake, you get the login screen. You think you’re logging back into your account, but you would actually be CREATING a brand new account using the same email address.

This last step, re-creating under the same email you just deleted, actually makes recovery by Notion support even harder. For them to restore your account (which can take anywhere from days to weeks or more), you need to have your original email available to hold the restore. So if you created a new account using the old address, you have to change the email to make a clear space for support to put the restored account like this:

You Are a Student On an EDU Account And About To Lose Email Access

How to retain access

1 – Grant admin access to a guest using a personal email. Good practice from day 1.

2 – Put pages under a few root pages, publish, and duplicate to a personal account, as covered in the section on Live Snapshots

8. You Accidentally Triggered The 1000 Block Limit.

The issue here is the 1,000 block limit.
TBD – instructions on reversing the limit.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}


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