// for creatives who mean business

How to Back Up Your Blog

As bloggers we spend a lot of time on getting our message out there. We’re always thinking about our story, what we’re sharing and how. Where we tend to get tripped up is the technical. Writing is delightfully non-technical (especially when you use as many commas as I do) but blogging? Blogging is a little technical at times.

Every now and then on twitter you see it happen, someone loses their content. All of it. Maybe they delete their files in their hosting by accident, maybe their hosting company’s servers are attacked by pterodactyls, but it happens and when it does it’s devastating. In the ‘early days’ before wordpress could automatically update its self, every few months I was met with the daunting task of updating my stupid wordpress installation. I know it’s not hard, but I didn’t have the experience I do now and I hated it. I was convinced that at some point for reasons beyond my control, it would blow up my blog and delete everything.

I know, I’m nothing if not delightfully quirky.

I became intent on being properly backed up, so that if something happened I had a current archive of my blog on hand. Backing up your blog is a safety net. If you get hacked, you still have everything right down to the comments. If you want to closed down your blog without losing everything you’ve written, you can. If you have an old blog that you want to merge with your new blog, you can back up your old blog and then import it to your new one in one move.

The best part is that it’s pretty much a one click process:

WordPress

On wordpress.com or wordpress.org, on any page when you’re logged in just click Tools, then Export:

There will be an option to “restrict author” which you can ignore. Just click the “Download” button and your backup file will start downloading automatically.

Blogger

With blogger, under your settings tab just click “Export Blog” and the giant “Download” button on the next screen:

and the backup file will start downloading right away.

Other Platforms

Are you on another platform? You can easily back up squarespace, typepad, and movable type too.

This is completely bare bones as far as the technical skills required, but I think it bears mentioning. It’s easy, fast, and can save you a world of pain if something happens. There’s nothing like knowing the little corner of the internet that you’ve been pouring your heart into is safe and sound.

Do you have any technical horror stories to share? When was the last time you backed up?

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There are 43 responses already, join in!
  1. I use this plugin for backing up my database: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/ It allows you do schedule a backup to be sent to you by email and I have it set to e sent every night. If I lost my blog I could restore everythibg from tht file as well (admittedly, it would not be quite as easy as the import/export function but not too hard either and most importantly, this backup process is completely automated so I don’t have to remember it). Having switched hosts a few times, I’ve had to restore my blog several times (though I’ve never lost my blog from accidentally deleting something). By the way, there is pretty much no way you cab delete your actual blog content (posts & comments) through FTP as they are stored in a database thaflt you can’t access through FTP. Though I suppose it is technically possible to accidentally overwrite the content if you used the same database for something else.

    As for the WP upgrading? I love how everything can be done from within WP now. When I first started using WP (in 2004 or 2005), like you, I had to do everything manually. I did eventually get so used to it that I could do it in my sleep but upgrades and installs from within WP are so much more convenient.

    I’m a huge fan of that plugin! If you’re self hosted that’s definitely the way to go, great tip! And I know you can’t overwrite your context through your FTP, but as someone who is constantly tweaking her site if I’m backing up my wp-content folder it’s just as easy to have a current archive on hand. But automating everything sounds great! I just know from asking on Twitter that are lots of bloggers on lots of different platforms who have no backup at all- an XML file seems the most straightforward place to start.
    -kr
     

    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Dessert inspirations =-.

  2. I just made the mistake of not backing up my site before switching hosts, it was such as nightmare! Great post!
    .-= Paul Roekle´s last blog ..Things I Learned When Writing A Sales Page =-.

  3. My host had some server problems and I lost a few days of work. They were only able to restore up to a few days before they had their issues. Now I pay the $10 a year to have them to nightly guaranteed backups :-)
    .-= Wendy (The Local Cook)´s last blog ..Gaia Cafe: Where the Local Cook Goes when Her Kitchen is a Wreck =-.

  4. I’m constantly backing up my database just in case anything happens!
    Love the idea of Blogging Basics, can’t wait to read more!
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Fighting the fear =-.

  5. I just switched from Blogger to WordPress… it was pretty easy to import all my posts and comments…
    my problem is figuring out the layout I want and how to customize… if you have any tips please e-mail them to me… I used to think I was pretty good with computers and stuff but it seems that I am a total novice at HTML code… I can’t even figure out how to make my header into a picture (don’t judge, I’m learning)
    I am one step away from getting one of those “web design for dummies” books!

    As far as customization, don’t beat yourself up, it’s entirely possible that your theme doesn’t allow for a picture as the header. Knowing some basic HTML can help, but I think that just going through themes carefully is the best- most that let you swap the header out will have “customizable header” as a feature.

    My advice is always that if you know what you want, it’s worth paying a good designer to help you get there! But I also want to know more about this stuff- I can read HTML & CSS but I can’t write it, it’s so frustrating!! I’m taking a web design course this spring to try and get my hard skills up. Hopefully I can help you out a little more by the fall =)
    -kr

    .-= Woolly´s last blog ..I’ve moved =-.

  6. Oo, I am going to love this series. I am totally technically challenged! I didn’t even know it was possible to back up my blog but definitely plan on doing this!
    .-= Lisa from Lisa’s Yarns´s last blog ..Blog Love =-.

  7. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this. But I have a couple questions, if you don’t mind.

    Where does it back up to? Your hard-drive? How much space will it eat up on my computer (my computer is old and in need of an upgrade)? How often do you recommend doing this?

    Thanks for starting this super helpful feature!

    In other news, I’m definitely in @Woolly’s boat with the whole design/HTML thing too!

      Where does it back up to?

    This backs your content up to your hard drive, if you have can external hard drive you can always back it up there or even to a USB key.

      How much space will it eat up on my computer (my computer is old and in need of an upgrade)?

    It depends on how large your blog is. I post quite a bit so after two years of writing 8-12 times a month my content is about 10 MB to download. It’s really minimal in the grand scheme of hard drive or flash drive memory.

      How often do you recommend doing this?

    I think it depends on you & your comfort levels, I tend to do it once a month as a fail safe or when I make major changes to my content.
    -kr

  8. I am a blog IDIOT, despite having been at this for more than two years. So, I have a feeling I am going to LOVE this new series of yours! Now, excuse me, I’m off to back up my blog. :)
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..This is my story. =-.

  9. I just added Jungle Disk to both our computers. I used to try & back up all my files to an external hard drive, but I never remembered to do it and besides, what if something happened to the hard drive? This way, it’s done automatically & I don’t have to think about it. It’s comforting to know my billions of pictures, songs, & files are safe in case the worst thing ever happens. :)

    This makes me think I should be doing much more with my blog though! I’ll be making the switch from .com to .org VERY soon, so I’ll be sure I understand how to do this. Thanks for the tips!
    .-= Lauren From Texas´s last blog ..What Lola Wants | Review =-.

  10. I’m going to readdy enjoy this series. I have never backed up my blog but definitely plan on it ASAP. I have heard others talking about it, but never realized it would be so easy. Thanks for the tip and can’t wait to read more.

  11. I’m still fairly new to this whole “blogging” thing, technically speaking, and I was so glad to see this post on how to back up your blog. Now I will make it a recurring task! :o) Thanks, Kyla!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  12. Ooops, I have never backed up anything. It is probably time to do so. I love this new series on your blog. You are such a natural when it comes to blogging.
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..When certain words make your heart melt. =-.

  13. Thanks for the reminder to back up the blog!

    @woolly I’d love to help. It’s so much fun for me to get into the HTML and make things happen. :)

  14. What a great series! I’m excited to follow it each week.

    And, yes, I back up EVERYTHING. I’m also neurotic. :)
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Book Review: More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home =-.

  15. tmc

    Guilty!
    I didn’t know how to back up my blog and carried around anxieties about losing some of my writing.
    But I’ve backed up now with your help. Thanks!

  16. san

    This is a great series! I am looking forward to more tips from you :)

    I am also using the plugin that Karen mentioned for my backup.

    Also, one of my friends got her blog entries printed as a book. The site that she used (blogprinting.com) seems to be gone, but I am sure there are other websites that offer this kind of service (I’ll google for it later). Doesn’t that sounds great? To have your blog in your hand as a print? ;)

    That’s actually something that I’ve been thinking of doing on a yearly basis so I can have volumes of KylaRoma.com on the shelf next to my wedding album & scrapbooks. Why not? It’s just as much part of my life! The service that I’m most familiar with is blurb.com but their blog conversion software didn’t work for self hosted wordpress the last time I checked. But if you blog on a different platform or can import your WP blog to a .com temporarily to convert it, it’s a great option!
    – kr

    .-= san´s last blog ..Finish the sentence… =-.

  17. What a great series! I back up once a week and when I write something I think is particularly brilliant (which doesn’t happen all that often, lol) I print it off and paste it in my offline journal. I used to do all my own blog design and use greymatter as a blogging tool ~ now that practically everything is templated, I have a really hard time modifying the templates to make things look the way I want them to. I’ve switched back and forth from typepad to wordpress to blogger so many times, and they all frustrate me to no end … Any tips for modifying templates would rock :D

    Hm, not for Greymatter! All platforms have their particular quirks and it seems like (from some quick digging) that yours is married to its pre-existing templates. That being said, I really recommend that if you have a really specific idea of what you want, pay a professional designer to realize it for you. It saves you headaches, and it supports talented people. That’s a win-win scenario in my books.
    – kr

  18. Great post, Kyla! I really need to back up my blog more often! *embarrassed face*

  19. Her

    I’m married to a wonderful geek, haha, so my whole life is backed up several times over. It’s wonderful! I can’t wait to see what else you bring up!
    .-= Her´s last blog ..Miscarriage pockmarks =-.

  20. Must admit I don’t usually (ever) back up my blog, but if I were to lose it, I’d be devastated. Just installed the plugin Karen mentioned!
    .-= Ronnica´s last blog ..Just Peeling Potatoes =-.

  21. Honestly, I never knew how to back-up my blog until I read this. And I just did it (and will continue to do it on a regular basis!). I’m pretty sure my blog designer (who hosts my blog) also does regular back-ups, which is good to know.

    When I first moved to WordPress and had no idea what I was doing, I tried to make some edits to my blog. I totally effed things up and pretty much everything on my blog disappeared. I had a mini breakdown. OMG! Thankfully, my designer had a back-up and restored my blog within minutes. Talk about feeling panicked, though…

  22. Liz

    YES this is something to look forward to. Techies unite :)
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Lulu’s Contest & Giveaway! =-.

  23. Kyla, I love you for this. I owe you a GIANT plate of yam fries. Thank you. Times a million.
    .-= hillary´s last blog ..Jailhouse Gets Empty Rudy Gets Plenty =-.

  24. I don’t back up… but I know I should! So I will do that tonight when I get home =) Thank YOU for the reminder about that little feature inside WordPress that will keep me from going totally bonkers and insane if that is to ever happen to me. I tend to delete/lose/misplace things more at work. I guess that’s the issue with being able to store things on any number of servers as well as the hard drive! Thank goodness for the search feature inside of Windows 7 :)

    Great idea for a series. You rock.
    .-= Nora´s last blog ..Beatin’ the Monday Blues =-.

  25. Wow. I have never done this before. In all my years of Blogging. I just never thought to. That’s so silly of me, because I back up my photos and music files externally religiously. Wow. I’m totally doing this when I get home tonight.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..The One With Things I Am Thinking About Lately, 6. =-.

  26. Backed up? Uh that would be never.
    I just had someone tell me how to import my blogger posts to my new wordpress blog. It was ridiculously easy.
    I LOVE that you’re doing this series, and after 3 years of blogging still expect to learn a lot…
    xoxo
    .-= Princess of the Universe´s last blog ..Frivolous II =-.

  27. I do have some technical stories! The one being last week when I completely ruined and destroyed my website and had to stay on the phone with godaddy.com for hours. But it’s all resolved now & my site is back and running and looking better than ever.

    Backing up your work is always super important I’ve learned.

    Anyway, I hope you are doing fabulous & enjoy the rest of your week! xx
    .-= The Owl Diary´s last blog .. =-.

  28. Jen

    I have NEVER backed up…eek…that is so terrible of me…and honestly, I started up a new blog on WordPress and never even carried over my blogger account because I didn’t want to learn how to do it (that’s pretty terrible)…

    NOW you have given me this AMAZING tool and I am going to BACK UP and THEN bring over some of my old content…

    I may have some other questions, but I will email them…then you could just tell me to bugger off if you aren’t wanting/able to help!!

    I should also say that I love the idea of “Blog Basics” – blogging is so “big” right now, and there are still a lot of people (myself included) who don’t understand it!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..My life is an open book =-.

  29. Jen

    Such a great idea – I’ll be reading these posts with interest. And I’ll be backing up my blog right now! :)
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Jersey Girl =-.

  30. ooh yea, ive never backed up my blog. yikes. thanks for the tips!!!

    ps, i love how tos and i was just thinking about posting some how tos on my blog too! if you ever need a guest blogger, i am here!
    .-= Moorea Seal´s last blog ..True Tales Tuesdays =-.

  31. Great idea for a post series!

    I am a compulsive backer-upper. I also hit Ctrl + S after pretty much every word when tapping out blog posts. It’s saved my butt a few times!

    P.S. I loved your comment on my blog today. :)

    .-= Vanessa´s last blog ..Flatter Me =-.

  32. Thanks so much! I’m constantly saving my posts, but have never backed it up! I’m going to do it right now! ^_^

  33. I hadn’t even thought about backing up but now you’d mentioned it I’m going to do it right now! The thought of losing all that hardwork is just inconceivable. Great idea for a series, nice of you to share your prowess with us newbies :)
    .-= Stephen K´s last blog ..A Date with Destiny =-.

  34. I REALLY need to back up. I back up my overall computer but haven’t on WP since I moved. SO BAD i know. So when I hit export on WP, where does that save? Does it prompt me to do it somewhere?

    It’s just like downloading a picture, depending on what browser you’re using it will definitely prompt you to choose where to save it, and then you can keep it wherever you like- on your hard drive, an external drive or even a flash drive.
    – kr

  35. You’re such a gift to our blogging world. Since I just moved to WP, I’m learning a lot and becoming more in control of my blog, so to speak…luckily Lilu set my site up to backup every week. I think this is going to be a great series, Kyla!

  36. Good to know, thanks for the tips! I’m so completely clueless about those things, I probably wouldn’t even have thought of doing that… lol :)
    .-= Anais´s last blog ..Cleaning your house, room by room =-.

  37. So, I must say that I really appreciate you doing this series. I am pretty new to blogging and of course what draws me to it is the creative aspect. The technical stuff? Yeah…It’s going to take me a while to learn it all. For instance, I’ve never even thought about backing up my blog! Wow. It seems so simple and yet that’s probably why it’s often ignored. Anyway. Thanks for sharing, and I’m excited to use your tips. :P
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..A slew of random thoughts, and getting it all out. =-.

  38. I get a database backup emailed every day at 5pm.

    YES, I AM THAT CRAZY.
    .-= LiLu´s last blog ..TMI Thursday: Never Try to Fool a Gay Man =-.

  39. Thanks so much! I’m constantly saving my posts, but have never backed it up! I’m going to do it right now!
    (:

  40. Kyla Roma, Superwoman. You need to get business cards made, saying just that.
    .-= barbetti´s last blog ..One of the Ways He Drives Me Crazy… =-.

  41. This is going to sound horrible, but I’ve never backed up my site. Awful, right? Keep it on the DL.

    Thanks to you and this lovely tip, I’ve backed everything up and am set in case anything should happen to my site. Thanks, lovely!
    .-= E.P.´s last blog ..Perfect =-.

  42. Huh. I had no idea you could do this. Awesome!

  43. Thank you so much!This is a really good tip. I’ve never thought of that but now… I’ve downloaded my blog right away!Thank you very much for sharing.

    (by the way, I’m your classmate in the Indie Business Class. Nice to meet you!I can’t wait to start.)
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..I Love Belated Presents! =-.

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