I recently heard a horror story about a blogger whose hosting company went through some sort of catastrophic failure, and the blogger lost her entire blog – all the posts, comments, photos – the whole shebang. This hosting company messed up BIG time. This should never happen to anyone. However, there are ways to protect yourself against this kind of blogging disaster (or a hacking attempt). The key is to back up your blog at regular intervals so that if something awful happens, you’ll have a copy of your blog to restore.
For hosted WordPress (WordPress.com) users, you can do a backup of your whole blog by going to Tools => Export in your WordPress.com blog dashboard. Then click on “Download Export File”. That will give you the backup of your content (posts, pages, authors, etc).
For anyone using the self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org), I recommend installing this plug-in, which will do an automatic daily, weekly or monthly back-up of your database. Once the plug-in is installed and activated, go to Tools > Backup to configure the options for when you want to have the back-up done. It gives you the option to have the back-up mailed to you automatically, which I think is pretty slick.
In Blogger, you can do an export of your blog (which is also useful is you want to switch to WordPress, not that I’m HINTING or anything) by going to Settings > Blog Tools > Export Blog.
If you’re a Typepad blogger, go to “Settings” once you’ve clicked on the blog you want to back up, then click on “Import/Export” > Export.
If you’re using another blogging tool, ask tech support or do a quick Google search for the words “export” or “Backup” and your blogging tool name, and you’ll likely find a way to do a backup.
Once you’ve run an export or back up and you have the exported file, make sure to save it somewhere safe (preferably on an external hard drive, if possible). I recommend backing up about once a week. That way if something awful happens, you never lose more than one week’s worth of posts.
Something else to think about – don’t use a fly-by-night hosting company if you’re blogging with a self-hosting blogging tool like WordPress.org. I recommend Bluehost – they are incredibly reliable and very WordPress-friendly. Yes, that is an affiliate link, but I use Bluehost myself and love them, especially their very knowledgable customer service, which has saved my butt more than once when I’m backed myself into some weird technical corner.
This year, we should all be thankful for blogs that don’t disappear! Do your backups!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!