Software & Apps Backup & Utilities What Is Backup Frequency? By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated November 20, 2019 Heide Benser/Fuse / Getty Images Backup & Utilities Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email Backup frequency means exactly that — how often the backup occurs. When you define a backup tool's backup frequency, you're setting a schedule for how often data should be backed up. Most online backup services, as well as offline, local backup tools, support customizing the backup frequency, sometimes in simple ways but other times in advanced ones. What Backup Frequencies Are Typically Available? All backup software programs support a backup frequency but some may be more useful or customizable than others. Some common backup frequencies you'll see offered include continuous, once per minute, every x minutes (e.g. every 15 minutes), hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and manually. Continuous backup means that the software is constantly backing up your data. Constant, here, usually means literally all the time (immediately after every change to a file) but could mean a frequency of less than once per minute. The other backup frequency options, like once per minute or daily, can be considered more of a schedule because files will be backed up during that time only. A manual backup frequency is just like it sounds: until you manually start it, no files will be backed up. This is basically the opposite of a continuous backup. Some backup programs have additional options like enabling the backup schedule to take place within a specific time frame only. For example, a backup frequency may be set to 11:00 PM through 5:00 AM, meaning that the backup process would only occur during that time and any remaining files that need to be backed up at 5:00 AM would have to wait until later that night at 11:00 PM to resume. What's the Best Backup Frequency for Online Backup? Using an online backup service that supports a particular backup frequency may be a deciding factor when choosing which one to subscribe to. Because continuous backup runs all the time and doesn't need to wait a week or month to start, choosing a backup service that supports continuous backup is almost always the way to go.