Backing Up Your Descript Work: Best Practice Advice

Backing Up Your Descript Work: Best Practice Advice

A user in the Descript Users Facebook Community asked an interesting question about backing up your Descript projects.

She was worried what's going to happen to all her projects / compositions if Descript stops working or functioning someday. She has a lot of projects or compositions published and hosted by Descript on their website hosting side of it. She uses it for her students as content for learning.

My recommendation is this:

I think you should not rely on any platform, Descript or other, anything that's not in your control can fail or be discontinued at some point, or be stopped. Or, let's say, you decide to stop paying for Descript and they will remove all of their projects from their platform.

And since Descript doesn't allow you to actually create backups of your projects, a backup you can actually restore; there is a backup functionality in Descript in the 'Help' menu, but that actually just saves the project with the edits and cuts and things like that, it doesn't actually save the files involved in your project.

The files are actually hosted on Amazon's cloud servers and they are just referenced in your project in Descript.The files don't actually live on Descript servers. 

When you back up a project in Descript, you will just back up the metadata, let's call it, and the project information with the cuts you made, and all the compositions you made. If you try to then restore those, it can be done.

But this backup is actually used more like a debugging feature, let's call it, when Descript crashes or has a severe issue, they will save a backup of your projects this way. That being said, there is no way to go to Descript and export a project with everything in it, all the dependencies, all of the files, in a single archive, which I can download and keep on my project or my hard drive or some kind of cloud backup that I may have, and then at a later date, restore that and have my project or even open it up and consume it in another application.

That's not how Descript works

Descript will just keep all the files in the cloud. All the changes you make will be uploaded to the cloud, all of the edits. Every time you update Descript, your projects get updated when you open them. So, that is another thing, because if you back up a version of a project that is, let's say version 75, and a few weeks later there's 76, 77 comes out, your project technically is old now.And as soon as you need to open it in a new version, it needs to be upgraded anyway. So that is the case against relying on Descript for backing up your stuff, or keeping it there long term. 

Descript is an editing tool. They allow you to edit and publish your stuff, but other than that, they don't have, as far as I know, or as far as I understand it, they don't have a strategy for long term project retention, backing up, restoration, all those things.

Descript can also be used as a review tool, where you are working on your projects, you can share with your collaborators, with your clients, so they can view it, they can watch your project, they can add comments to it, request changes.

But once you're done, my recommendation is to just export everything, export your video, export your final video, your final podcast episode, your final edit of that episode, export it, and keep that file, and archive it. Export it at the highest resolution or quality you can. 

My advice is to keep your original files on archive as well, and just back up everything.

Back up everything to something that you control, not on someone else's platform or program or locked into a specific format.

This applies to anything, programs evolve every year, they have new versions coming out, new updates, so your older projects slowly become obsolete. Which means you need to probably find a way to back up everything in a more universal format.

And this applies also if you're hosting stuff to YouTube. YouTube doesn't guarantee you're going to keep your channel forever. If something comes up and they get upset at you or something, or invalid traffic or any other issue, they may delete your channel and then you've lost all of that work and all those videos.

So that is my advice. Keep everything yourself. Even if you publish your courses to course platforms like Thinkific or Teachable, or if you upload your videos to YouTube, or if you edit stuff in Descript and host it temporarily for review, I say, ultimately, back up everything that you have in a place that you have 100 percent control, a place that you ultimately have a say in.

Maybe it's a Dropbox account or OneDrive, Google Drive, whatever version of a backup platform you have, use that.

I have years of projects backed up on my home server, in my Dropbox account, OneDrive, and I can go back to them whenever I wish. Should I lose everything, maybe even my YouTube channel gets deleted, I can recover all of that stuff. 

Do not rely on any of these platforms for long term storage and always back up your full quality files and your source files if you think you're going to need to make changes.

Descript allows you to export your compositions to video, export everything, export your final videos, final edits, final episodes, export your audio files, export your main source files that you used to create the project in the first place, save your logos and export your transcripts, if you used transcripts for, to make transcript corrections and all those things, just back up everything to something that you have ultimate control of. 

So that is my advice for you today. I hope it helps.

Learn Descript in the Media Makers Club

Do you struggle to learn Descript and use it to its full potential? Are you a beginner and feel like there's so much more to learn and use but not enough time or resources?

How about joining Media Makers Club and enter a community of like-minded editors, users of Descript, Camtasia, video creators, podcasters, course creators and youtubers?

When you become a Media Makers Club member, you get free access to the complete Descript Storyboard Course, Mini courses, Webinars, Downloadable resources and Templates, Q&A sessions, and have your questions answered live or in a video by me.

More Descript Articles


I specialize in providing clear one-on-one training in software such as Camtasia and Descript, helping you make the most of these programs. Whether you're interested in learning how to create training videos and tutorials for your company or for YouTube, or are hoping to create your own course or start a podcast, I'm here to help you get started and give you all the shortcuts.