Monday, May 21, 2012

Backing Up Your Blog: NBI

The Newbie Blogger Initiative has blown up into something a lot bigger than I expected. Probably than most of us expected. Apart from Syp, obviously. I haven't had time to round up all the new NBI blogs but Ardwulf has and thanks to his handy list I've now added all the new ones to my NBI blogroll.

Lots of more experienced bloggers have given great advice this month, while I've not been able to offer much more than encouragement. I did think of one useful thing that I've not seen anyone else mention, though.

Backing up your blog.

I use Blogger, which you'd imagine would be fairly robust. One day a few months after I started blogging I came home from work one evening, went to open my blog and it wasn't there. Google had "removed" it for "unauthorised activity". It was a nasty shock, as you might imagine.

I never did find out what the "unauthorized activity" was. I contacted Google and had to jump through various hoops to get my blog back including verification by mobile phone, which was awkward since I don't have a mobile phone. In the end my blog was restored in a few hours, but it left me concerned about what I could have lost.

The primary reason I write Inventory Full is to keep a diary of my MMO life for my own interest. I re-read my posts quite often and anticipate doing so for many years to come. I decided I no longer trusted Google to look after my data and determined to look after it myself.

Which brings me to HTTrack. It's a free website copier and offline website browser. It backs your website up onto your hard drive including all the pictures, links and so on. You can then browse your own blog (or any website you've backed up) without even needing an internet connection.

I know nothing about the people who make HTTrack, so consider using it at your own risk. There are other backup utilities you might prefer, they're easy enough to find with a quick google. I looked at a few and this was the one I chose. I've been using it for almost six months without any problems. It's simple to install and use and it does just what it's supposed to do.

I feel a lot happier with my data backed up on hard drive and burned to DVD. Chances are nothing will go wrong with the original copy over on Google's servers, but why take the risk when you don't have to? If you'd miss your own blog if it disappeared, back it up.


  1. Hmmm. I am trying to resist. Really. But you know I won't be able to. Here we go:

    If you backup, do you know how to restore? Have you tried restoring? Perhaps to some sandbox blog you could use for that purpose. Anyway, when your blog disappears, it's a bad time to learn how to restore then.

    I know, it's become a pet peeve of mine. And I have a draft about backup and restore on my blog, unfinished.

  2. Restoring from backup was one of the first things I thought about after I installed HTTrack. Then I realized I wasn't that bothered. So long as I had all the old posts where I could see them I would be just as happy to take the opportunity to make a fresh start.

    I also have great faith in the Internet's ability to sort out any problem that is about the Internet, so my fallback plan is always google. Be even better if you posted a How To on restoring though :)

    1. Oh no, I wasn't planning on a how-to restore post. Just a guilt inducing raised eyebrow type post. After that I'll just sit there and wait for the first blog to get lost because the restore was messed up. Would make for a great I-told-you-so post.

  3. Although technically more tricky to set up, it's one of the reasons I prefer WordPress to Blogger as you can download backups of all your posts to restore at a later point.

    But HTTrack is a good solution for Blogger and, like you said, it's important just to have the content regardless of the format. I backup my blog weekly and would be pretty devastated if I ever lost all my posts.


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