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Friday, April 07, 2006

Have You Backed Up Your Blog?

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.


Ranjit said...

Hi Pam, nice article on backing up blogs. However, there is an easy way to backup your blogs, directly from Blogger itself. Check out Backup your posts for an easy backup for Blogger.

Pam said...

Thanks Rankwil. Nice tip, though I think I prefer the HTTrack method.

Sandeep Jain said...

Good Tips
But I will use Backup Your posts the easy way to back up your blog as said by ranwil

Pam said...

Whatever suits your needs.

Elfstone said...

Helpful post, thanx!

Gareth said...

Surfed in from BlogExplosion. Like the site, and I'll be back. Very good advice about backing up. I'm going to try HTTrack at your suggestion.

Pam said...

Thanks Gareth. Glad you found it helpful.

giordano bruno said...

HTTrack seems to work.
I ran for 30 mins yesterday, then I restarted today. It has a weird UI display, which flits about without explanations.
Today it seemed to be spending a lot of time getting something from bahai-lib.
Now my blog has never mentioned Bahai, so I wonder if this is a (benificent?) way that HTTrack has of 'spreading' the Bahai faith?. I halted HTTrack, and my oldest and newest blog posts are present, so I am puzzled. Why Bahia?

giordano bruno said...

more on HTTrack:
good news! my older entries tried to link to pics in 'webshots', but webshots seemed to resist links. But HTTrack has grabbed those pictures! so the backup beats the original!

[my guess is that webshots wants eyeballs on its ads, so it refuses 'hotlinks' but allows 'downloads'.
I once got a complaint from a website about hotlinking pictures. The owner acused me of 'wasting' his 'bandwidth' which is absurd - a websit is there to be seen. What I guess he really meant is "if you dont enter via my home page I dont get eyeballs on my ads"]

intrepid said...

Hi Pam,
Enjoying your great Blog. I am new to blogs and am trying to upload a video file to my blog. Is someone would allow me to forward the file to you, (it's called "Magic") and take a look at it and teach me how to do it.
Please contact me at ssrtx@comcast.net.

Pam said...

Thanks for the kind feedback, qt4watch. Re your question, I'm afraid I have no idea how to upload a video to your blog. Not sure it's possible with Blogger. Suggest you ask in the Blogger support group.

Pam said...

Giordano .. not sure about the Bahia reference. Maybe something to do with a web badge? All I know is HTTrack seems to work reliably for me. As you note, it backs up pix and all.

Anonymous said...

Another tool for blog backup is SiteVault, a bit complicated co configure but works like a miracle on own hosted blogs.

It can be downloaded from http://www.site-vault.com.


Pam said...

Thanks for the heads-up, George.