Storm’s coming – time to batten down your blog

With a storm brewing in the Caribbean that could be heading our way, Floridians are reviewing their hurricane plan to make sure they are ready should Isaac decide to pay us a visit. In addition to insuring the pantry is stocked with water and non-perishable food and that everything’s stowed inside or tied down, it’s a good time to make sure your personal archives are safely secured. That includes your family network and the blogs associated with it.

In the last year, I’ve seen storms take down one of my hosting sites in Texas, Amazon’s huge hosting/cloud storage facility and other large platforms so just because your blog is hosted elsewhere doesn’t mean it’s untouchable. It’s always a good idea to maintain your own backups of your blog. Here’s some tips to help make that happen.

WordPress

WordPress users (both WordPress.com and self-hosted) can take advantage of the Export function found in the Tools section. The result will be an XML file containing the content you specify. This does NOT include images and other attachments included in the Media library. The resulting file can be used to re-create your blog at another site.

Self-hosted WordPress bloggers should install the wp-db-backup plugin and set it up to automatically perform database backups on a designated schedule, then email the resulting file to you. This doesn’t capture images and other uploaded files either, but it does collect all the content, tags, categories, settings and such. Use an FTP app – there’s the very nice Fire FTP plugin [free] available for Firefox – to download a copy of the wp-content folder on your self-hosted site. This will capture all your theme files and plugin files as well as your images and other media.

I have my database backup plugin installed on each of my blogs – scheduled to backup each database once a week and email the resulting file to my Yahoo address (another nice off-site storage location). I normally do an export and FTP download of each blog on a quarterly basis – and at times like this when storms are brewing. Over the years, these have become rather large files so I will keep a copy on my local storage and upload a copy to a cloud storage service like Box.

Blogger


Blogger has a similar XML export function found in the Settings > Other section of the workarea. Choose the Export blog option in the Blog Tools. Your blog will be exported in Blogger’s atom export format which isn’t pretty but provides all the content information for your blog. Once again, you’re on your own with the media associated with your blog.

Posterous

Posterous does not have a backup/export function, but I found a Posterous Backup app [$3.99 - Mac]. WordPress.com can import content – including images and attachments – directly from a Posterous site and there’s a Posterous Importer plugin for self-hosted sites. Of course, you can always take advantage of Posterous’s Autopost service which automatically publishes a copy of each new post at the social – and blog – sites of your choice. This includes WordPress, Blogger, etc.

Tumblr

Tumblr doesn’t have much support for backups either. There is a Tumblr Importer plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites. Tumblr is the least friendly blog platform for managing your content. I would not recommend this for managing a family history blog.

Other Options

If you want something a bit more readable, consider creating a blog book. Services like Blurb and Blog2Print will print a book from your blog. BlogBooker will create a PDF version of your blog for free! Not all services support all blog platforms so check the details. This is a great idea when you’re using your blog to build your family’s history, but not a good solution for emergency backup situations.

The best disaster plan includes a good backup plan that’s performed regularly. Unfortunately, hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters to provide advance notice of their arrival. If your backup plan is current, you’re ready for just about anything that can happen to your blog.

One Thought on “Storm’s coming – time to batten down your blog

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. I had no idea how to do it. (Still rather new to blogging, even after nearly a year and a half.)

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