Data loss is a fact of life for anyone writing and publishing their content on the internet. WordPress forums are filled with tales of people who’ve lost posts by adjusting their theme, migrating to a new host, or experiencing simple website errors. When servers fail or human error compounds and you’re left without the work you’ve done, you haven’t only lost words and media files. Instead, you’ve lost hours of work, the chance to connect with your readers, and potentially a lot of your legacy posts that gave new visitors a chance to see what your blog was about.
Some things, once lost, can’t be recovered. That’s why it’s important to back up your blog now – and regularly – before a catastrophic failure occurs.
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Why Should I Back Up My Blog?
You should know how to back up a blog because your content took time to make and deserves to be preserved. No storage method, hardware component, or website is completely failsafe; even something that hasn’t ever given you a problem could go belly up tomorrow and leave you without valuable content you’ve produced during your blogging career.
It’s not just new posts you can lose. Some bloggers have years of archived posts complete with comments, pictures, and revisions that can disappear in the blink of an eye if something goes wrong. Like so many things in life, data loss is a problem that just doesn’t seem that immediate — until it happens to you.
Data loss is something that’s been affecting the blogging community since its inception. One example that no one could have predicted was the loss of JournalSpace, a blogging community, in 2009. An ex-employee who had a grudge against the company caused the database to be overwritten and people lost their entire blogs. Though there were some recovery methods, none of them were guaranteed. JournalSpace shut down after six years.
While there are ways to restore lost data without backups in some cases, those methods rarely yield a complete recovery. Instead, you’re left with bits and pieces you have to put back together in order to continue with your blog. Backing up your blog in advance is by far the preferable way to preserve your posts.
How Does Data Loss Affect My Blog?
Data loss affects your blog in a few different ways. These are primarily focused on the amount of content your site provides, but data loss can also affect your relationship with new and existing readers. Backing up your data is essential to running a successful blog.
When you lose data, you lose content. That content is what forms the base of your blog – and your website, even if your blog is only one aspect of a larger site.
Your content is what engages readers, states your purpose, and shows your expertise. It’s the foundation on which your reputation as a blogger rests. When it’s gone, you lose what you’ve been working for and what showcases your capabilities as a creator. There is a big benefit to having a large, interesting backlog of posts – and that can all be removed in an instant if you aren’t utilizing blog backup protocols.
You also lose valuable time and not just because you have to spend time mining your drives and searching for old – often not edited and updated – posts. The time you lose is time that could be better spent making new content to please your current readers. When you have to postpone your blog posting schedule because you didn’t back up your blog, you’re losing time to old content that’s better spent on new.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the benefits of a frequently-updated blog is that you’re likely improving your search engine optimization. This means that it’s easier for people searching for relevant content to find and enjoy your blog. Each post gives you new content that can be crawled and indexed by search engines, letting more people locate your blog. Posts also keep your site current, which is a positive ranking signal.
Once those posts disappear and you’re forced to spend time recovering, your SEO may take a hit. This means that you might not be able to get new readers who would have otherwise found your blog.
People who are visiting your blog for the first time might see a lack of content and mistake it for a lax posting schedule or a lack of expertise. They could leave instead of staying to read through a backlog of posts — since those blog posts weren’t backed up and made available quickly after data loss occurs. There’s less on the site to engage them.
The time you have to spend fixing your blog can also impact your current readership. Dedicated followers expect a certain amount of posts, depending on how often you publish. If that suddenly takes a backseat to restoring lost data, they may start visiting your blog less frequently or falling out of the habit altogether.
How Does a Blog Backup Work?
Learning how to back up a blog is as simple as it sounds. You set up a system whereby your content is stored somewhere other than on the blog itself. You update those backups regularly so that your blog is backed up and saved from any type of failure.
Since WordPress and Blogger are two of the largest blog services, we’ll focus specifically on how to back up a blog from those platforms. There are far more options for a WordPress backup than a Blogger backup because of WordPress’s extensive list of plugins.
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Creating Manual, Local Blog Backups
One of the easiest ways people back up their posts is by writing in a word processing program and saving the file to their hard drive before transferring the content to a blog. You can save to any available hard drive or external save device attached to your computer.
But 6 percent of computers fail every year – which doesn’t sound like a lot until yours is one of the 6 percent. According to Mozy Online Backup, 140,000 hard drives crash every week in the United States. So your local blog backup isn’t enough to save your site in the event of a failure. It also doesn’t adjust according to changes you make to the posts in the post editor before publishing.
For those reasons, it’s a good idea to consider blog backup protocols or blog backup plugins to help save your posts from being lost.
How Do I Create Cloud Blog Backups?
Creating cloud backups of your blog means that the data is stored in a place that isn’t on your computer. You can access it from anywhere in most cases — but it’s held on a third party server, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive. Since it’s easily accessible, it’s a good way to keep your data available when you’re on-the-go and not working on your home computer.
Some cloud backups can be set up to sync automatically from your computer as you update your work. These types of cloud storage programs won’t update changes to your blog automatically, but anything you change on a document set up to save to the cloud will be synced.
How to Backup a WordPress Blog
Backing up a WordPress blog can be done via your hosting service, manually by saving files, or with a WordPress backup plugin. Once you know how to back up a blog with WordPress, it’s easy to do on a regular basis.
Manual Host Backup
To quickly create a blog backup, log in to your host and download two things: the wp-content directory and the wp-config.php file. These contain all the content that’s unique to your blog. With them, you can quickly and easily restore your blog after a data loss.
Once you have the files downloaded, store them on your local computer and also on a cloud backup service. If one fails, you’ll still have access to the other file. Keep in mind that this has to be done regularly whenever you update your site.
Automatic Host Backup
Some WordPress hosts offer automatic backup services through your control panel. It varies depending on which host you use, but they usually come with a wizard that helps you set up your blog backup. The capability of your host to backup and restore your blog may also depend on the plan benefits of your subscription. It’s best to check and confirm through your host before you actually need a backup.
WordPress Manual Backup
If you open your WordPress Dashboard and click “Tools” then choose “Export,” you can make an immediate backup of your WordPress posts, pages, comments, and more. Then you can save a copy of that file to your computer.
WordPress Backup Plugins
There are a number of plugins to consider if you’re looking to automate a blog backup for your WordPress blog. A simple search for “backup” yields 1400 results — which you can sort by featured, popular, recommended, or favorites and then browse to your heart’s content. Each WordPress backup plugin entry will say whether it’s compatible with your WordPress installation.
To install a plugin, click on the “Install” button. Once it’s done installing, click “Activate” and you’ll be returned to your Plugins section on your Dashboard.
Once you’ve selected a plugin, access its options from the Plugins area in the WordPress dashboard. Choose “Installed Plugins” and then “Settings” from the entry for the plugin you’ve selected.
WordPress Backup Plugin Options
Updraft Plus lets you schedule blog backups and have them automatically sent to the cloud storage platform of your choice. They offer a number of them with the free version, include Rackspace Cloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive. The paid version of the plugin offers more cloud storage options, including Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft OneNote. You can choose both a file backup schedule and a database backup schedule. Also, you can decide how many backups you want to be saved for each.
BackWPup is another option for creating WordPress blog backups. It lets you optimize your database and check it for errors. You can also create a single zip file you can use to restore your WordPress blog after data loss. The free version uploads your backups to an FTP server, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and others. If you want Google Drive support, you have to choose the paid option.
BackupGuard is another plugin to consider. The free version offers file and database preservation options, lets you import backups, and lets you specify custom exclude paths. If you want an automatic backup, you have to upgrade to the pro option. The paid version also lets you upload to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and OneDrive.
Choose your WordPress backup plugin based on what features you require and which cloud service you want to upload to. It’s important that you can automate your backups, whichever you choose. It helps eliminate the danger of forgetting to make a backup when you get occupied with other things.
How to Back Up a Blog on Blogger?
To create an immediate backup of your blog through Google’s Blogger service, sign into your blog. Choose “Settings” and then click on “Other.”
Click the “Back Up Content” button and then click “Save To Your Computer.”
Immediately upload the saved file to your cloud storage so that you have a local and off-site backup.
To create a backup of your Blogger theme, click “Theme” on the sidebar. Click the “Backup/Restore” button and then click “Download Theme.” Once the theme is saved, upload a copy to your cloud storage.
Though there are a limited number of gadgets you can add to your themes on Blogger, none of them support automatic backups. If you want to make a Blogger backup, it’s an excellent idea to create local copies of your posts and images and have them automatically synced to cloud storage.
How Often Should I Backup My Blog?
Once you have your blog backup protocols or plugins setup, backing up your content shouldn’t be an arduous process. Create regular backups — at least once a week, if not once a day.
How Many Blog Backup Methods Do I Need?
No one was ever too prepared for a disaster. You should at least have local and cloud copies saved — but it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of each. Never rely entirely on manual or automatic backups either. Everything has some kind of failure rate.
Mix up your methods and types of blog backup services. Doing so will help keep your content available no matter what disasters befall your equipment or blog host.’
Any savvy blogger should back up their data on a regular basis. Putting in a little effort now will save you a major headache in the future. WordPress makes automatic backups easy right from your Dashboard with a variety of plugins; you can also go through your hosting service to create backups. Blogger has fewer options, so plan to create and upload your own backups on a regular basis. Learn how to back up a blog as soon as possible if you want to preserve and protect your data from digital or human error.