Blogger Backups

I've been blogging for two years and have around 130 posts. Not a ton of content, but it took time to write and it's of value to me. The thought of losing it all is troubling so I went looking for ways to backup this blog.

Sadly, Blogger doesn't have a backup feature. The advice they give for backups is to use a special template that will show all of your posts in one long page. Technically this would work, but it's not very elegant so I went searching.

The first solution I looked into was HTTrack, an open source program for copying websites. This tool will work, but not very efficiently for Blogger blogs because it follows every link and saves each webpage as it crawls the website. If the Labels or Archive tree elements are used, HTTrack will follow all of the links these elements provide and save multiple copies of each post. HTTrack has lots of options and it's possible it could be customized to efficiently backup a Blogger blog, but I couldn't find any info for how to do it and I didn't feel like spending a lot of time experimenting, so I kept looking for other solutions.

Another tool I found was Blogger Backup. It logs into Blogger, copies each post and saves them to your hard drive as XML files. It also has a feature to restore posts, which could be useful, but I haven't tested it yet. The program didn't work at first, but worked fine after I closed it and started it again. So now I at least have all the text, and supposedly the links and formatting, of my posts saved. Image backup is not yet implemented, but may be in the future (it's on the feature request list).

The Dummies Guide To Google Blogger Beta (a mouthful name and one of the most hideous styles I've ever seen) had some suggestions for making backups. One was to use a Firefox browser extension called ScrapBook to save copies of Blogger webpages. The interface is a bit odd, but it seemed to work. And the Dummies Guide had a good idea to backup chunks of your blog at a time by Blog Archive links - here are the steps:

Right-click an archive link for a month or year and then select ScrapBook's Capture Link As ... to save all the posts in that time period. The image below shows me about to save a copy of all 69 posts from 2007.

After ScrapBook analyzes the link it will present a dialog box of options (see below). I actually chose "KanyonKris - 2007" for the Title.

I chose to download Image, Movie and Sound files and it worked great for the MP3 file I had linked in one post, but the images were a mixed bag. ScrapBook did capture the smaller 400 pixel "thumbnail" images I use for the blog, but not the larger version of the image linked from the thumbnail to Picasa Web Albums because the link does not end in ".jpg". It would be nice if I could copy the larger images as well, but I can see why ScrapBook couldn't figure it out. At least I have the small images and the links to Picasa Web Album saved.

I used a depth of 0 to only capture my blog content, but I may do another backup with a depth of 1 to backup not only my blog but all the webpages I've linked to - this would also capture the Picasa Web Albums images that I did not capture as noted above. I include a lot of links in my blog posts so a depth 1 backup would take some time. If you select a depth greater than 0 you get another dialog where you can choose which webpages (manually or with filters) to backup so you can slim down what you capture.

After backing up each year my archive looks like what you see below. I can click on any of those 3 ScrapBook bookmarks and that year opens in Firefox. Pretty slick.

In the future I'll use both Blogger Backup and ScrapBook to make backups periodically of my new posts. Hopefully this strategy will provide good backups in case something goes wrong.


Epic Adam said...

I have Blogger email me a copy of all my posts, and I archive those emails. I also periodically save my template as a text file.

If something goes wrong, I at least have the text and the design that way. I will have to check out the options you suggested as well.

KanyonKris said...

Adam, good catch. A read about a number of people using the e-mailed posts as a way to backup. Will Blogger also e-mail you the post when you change it?

Using more than one backup method seems like a good idea to me so I encourage you to check out the tools I mentioned.

Epic Adam said...

It only emails you your original post. So any edits are not emailed.