I've been having too many heart-pounding moments lately, courtesy of Blogger, which lost yesterday's post twice. This happened first in the middle of saving, and then — after painstakingly rebuilding the whole thing — Blogger trashed it again upon attempting to publish. On investigation, I learned that I'm not alone in my frustration; Blogger routinely not only loses/fries posts, but has been known to wipe out entire blogs, according to this post. Fortunately, my research led to several ways to back up, not just Blogger blogs, but those of Wordpress, Typepad, and Moveable Type as well:
- Use an offline browser utility to copy the entire blog to your local hard drive. Several such programs exist. HTTrack is recommended by many bloggers for the Windows platform; WebGrabber for Mac users. I downloaded HTTrack and this little freeware program worked like a hot damn. It was quick to install and easy to use. Just follow the onscreen prompts and it will make a complete copy of your blog on your local hard drive. It took about ten minutes to back up my blog, which I can now surf offline if I want. Everything's there — formatting, all the posts, the archives, comments, internal and outbound links, even web badges are where they should be. This little utility is worth its weight in gold.
- Use Blogger itself. There's no obvious and easy way to backup from the Dashboard but, buried in Blogger's help menu is this knowledgebase article, bearing somewhat complicated (and, in my opinion, risky) instructions for re-writing your template to publish all your posts to a single page, which you can then save to your local hard drive. This won't work if you've been blogging for a while, and your number of posts exceeds the limit Blogger places on the index page. (Agent BedHead offers a simplified version of these instructions which she will email to you, with versions available for all major blogging platforms.)
- Email Posts to yourself. Digital Inspiration lists several ways to back up. Among them are instructions outlining how to configure Blogger's settings to automatically email posts to you. You can then set your mail rules to intercept and filter these into a folder.
- Get the WayBack Machine to crawl your blog. It's as simple as going to their site and submitting your blog address. They are a little vague, though, about the availability of stored pages should you need to restore your blog down the road.
Note: In the course of rummaging around for blog backup solutions, I also stumbled across w.Bloggar, a freeware tool for composing blog posts offline. This would have prevented the problems I had yesterday with Blogger losing posts upon saving and/or posting. I have tried composing in WordPad and pasting into Blogger's editing window, but that's not an entirely satisfactory solution. I have downloaded w.Bloggar to experiment with, and I'll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, Digital Inspiration has nothing but good things to say about w.Bloggar.