Backup Your Blog

If you spend any time developing your blog, you’ll probably not going to enjoy recreating it again. Occasionally though, mistakes happen.

  • Maybe you hit the “Delete This Blog” button, and realised it just a microsecond AFTER you hit the Yes button. Too late. Now you have to wait for Blogger to restore it, and hope that it doesn’t get taken by the spammers in the meantime.
  • Maybe you just tweaked the template a little too much, and can’t get it right again.
  • Maybe you’re plagued by the problem of the week, Blog Corruption / Hijacking.
  • Maybe you would like to carry your computer around, and show others your blog (or look at it yourself), even if you’re not online.

If you can, by a miracle, get Blogger to restore your blog, or if you’re one of the lucky ones reading this who doesn’t have a problem, take a couple hours and Backup Your Blog. One solution for this need is HTTrack, which is a free and very easy product to use. Note this caution when using HTTrack.

  • Get HTTrack (free).
  • Install it. You will want to close all open applications, and prepare to reboot afterwards.
  • Run it. The first time, you will have to identify your blog by URL and by Title, and identify the HTTrack Mirror Base Path. The mirroring itself is easy.
  • Setup a shortcut to the mirrored code. Now you can view your blog locally, whether or not your computer is online.
  • Whenever you make changes, rerun HTTrack. Changed blogs remirror quickly.

Organise Your Mirrors Properly – Setup A Significant Base Path
When you setup a mirror using HTTrack, you don’t get a complicated applet to change all the many options. There are a lot of options that you can change, to tweak your mirroring, later – HTTrack is very configurable. There is, however, one important setting, that you input on the first screen.

There are 3 settings that you will see on the first screen, when you start HTTrack.

  1. Project Name.
  2. Project Category.
  3. Base Path.

Project name should be pretty obvious, or easily guessed. Project category is something that you can change, to suit your needs. Base path is something that you can change, at any time, too.

The URL for your blog you will input on the second screen. HTTrack allows you to mirror multiple blogs in one Project. If your Blog is named “myvacation2006.blogspot.com”, you’ll input “http://myvacation2006.blogspot.com” into the URL List. Simply hit the “Add URL…” button on the second screen, and input each URL, as you need. Then hit the Next button, twice, and watch it mirror.

But, before you hit Next from the first screen, setup the Base Path properly. My professional recommendation is to separate your operating system, (non operating system) program libraries, and data into 3 separate partitions. I have, as an example:

  • C:\Windows for the operating system.
  • D:\Program Files for the non operating system program libraries.
  • E:\Web Site Mirrors for my HTTrack web site mirror databases.

You might have everything on C:, which is not my preference, but default system installation will do this to you. Then you’ll have:

  • C:\Windows for the operating system.
  • C:\Program Files for the non operating system program libraries.
  • C:\Web Site Mirrors for my HTTrack web site mirror databases.

When you install HTTrack, the default will be for Base Path to be equal to the folder containing the HTTrack program components. If you install HTTrack into “C:\Program Files\HTTrack”, that will be the default for Base Path too. I DO NOT recommend this. Please change Base Path, when you run HTTrack for the first time, to something like “C:\Web Site Mirrors”. You will thank me, in the long run.

If you have the latter setup, and you mirror 3 blogs – Blog1, Blog2, and Blog3, you’ll mirror them into “C:\Web Site Mirrors\Blog1”, “C:\Web Site Mirrors\Blog2”, and “C:\Web Site Mirrors\Blog3”. The name “Blog1” for the Project and for the folder go hand in hand. If you rename the Project to “My Main Blog”, the mirror folder will be automatically renamed to “C:\Web Site Mirrors\My Main Blog”. Similarly, if you go into Windows Explorer, and rename “Blog1” to “My Vacation Blog”, the entry in the pulldown list for Project Name will become “My Vacation Blog”.

Always organise your data libraries. If you really use your computer, your data libraries will become many times larger than your operating system, or your applications. Data library organisation is therefore more important.

If you care for your blogs, as I do for mine, you’ll take extreme care in organising the mirrors that you setup. You will thank me, in the long run, if you can do this.

Make it easy on yourself – setup shortcuts to the mirrors. If my Project Name is “The Real Blogger Status”, and my Base Path is “C:\Web Site Mirrors”, I could create a shortcut of “C:\Web Site Mirrors\The Real Blogger Status\index.html”, and copy the shortcut to a folder on my desktop or Start menu. I did this for each mirror I created. Try it, it makes checking and using your mirror so much easier.

NOTE: Here’s a word of caution. Don’t just save one copy of your important blogs. If you’re reading in the forums about problems accessing blogs, you go run HTTrack, and your blog is afflicted like the others, HTTrack may have the same problem accessing your blog. HTTrack will copy the same problems into your blog mirror that everybody else is experiencing. You will have no blog mirror either, when it’s done.

If there are ongoing problems, copy the mirror of your blog to a second mirror. Besides setting up “C:\Web Site Mirrors”, setup “C:\Web Site Backup Mirrors”. Before you start a HTTrack job, COPY your blog mirror (you know where it is, per my instructions above), to the secondary mirror folder. Then test the second mirror. FIRST ensure that the secondary mirror is operational, THEN run HTTrack.

After you run HTTrack against any blog, check the error log. Look for any line besides “link added” or “link updated”, and make sure that it doesn’t indicate a problem with the primary mirror (the one you just created). Test what you just created. If you’re keeping a backup mirror, don’t copy the primary to the backup until you’re sure that the primary is good.

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4 Responses to “Backup Your Blog”

  1. Scott Marlowe Says:

    Excellent tip. The backup utility works great. Thanks for the info!

  2. Katherine Says:

    Errrm – not being very techie-minded (and your explanation left me with my jaw hanging open!), I’m backing up by e-mailing a copy of each post to myself and then I archive that.

    Plus I archive the comments as well – same way (e-mails)

    Then the only thing I have to do is copy the template into Word and archive tht as well.

    What do I lose if I just do this? OK – I know I might have to reassemble a blog at some point – but my solution requires minimal effort.

  3. Marion Says:

    I want to thank you for the tip about HTTrack! It worked great, and I have my whole blog backed up now…something I thought would take me hours took only a little while.

    Incredible!

  4. Player1 Says:

    Well, i tried to use HTTrack but unfortunately it goes looping and tries to download over 200 MB of content, which my blog never has, as i only have 80+ posts…probably i’m doing something wrong i don’t know, or perhaps it just doesn’t work with blogger beta…if anyone has an idea i would be happy to know about it.

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