With the big Blogger Fail that began Thursday May 12 around noon and semi-ended on Friday May 13 after lunch, I realized that the panic I was feeling was shared by thousands of other bloggers.
For those who don't blog or were unaware of what was going on, many bloggers, myself included, use blogspot.com as the platform for their blogs. Blogspot.com is Blogger which is run by Google. When Blogger went down, we could not log into our blogs. We could see the blogs (sometimes) but all posts made after May 11th were deleted. That included drafts and those written and scheduled for posting at future dates. For those interested you can read Blogger Buzz's "Blogger is Back"
As the hours went by, I bemoaned the fact that I had ignored the first rule of websites - always have a backup. On a "normal" website a webmaster would create a file on her computer and then upload it to a remote server. That's the webmaster's failsafe - one copy on her computer and one copy online plus with any luck, an archived version in the WayBack Archives. The careful webmaster will also make monthly or weekly backups of what is on her computer, thus ensuring a third copy of files that create her website. But blogs are another story.
Blogs aren't easy to backup. Most of us write our blog posts directly in blogger so we don't have a copy on our computers. It's not easy to save copies once the posts are published. And so, like many, I simply set aside what I know is good practice and I trusted in the power of Google to protect my blogs. I found out during the Blogger Fail that the WayBack Archives doesn't have my blog archived - ouch!
Since Blogger came back online, I've noticed problems. Yes, my blog posts written after May 11th that were previously removed, were restored. But there are hidden characters in the labels (tags) of the drafts and scheduled posts. Not a big deal, but I had to go in and remove those characters which display as strange images. My drafts and scheduled posts were duplicated - several times. In some cases I had six of each one. Still not a big deal, I simply deleted all but one. Lastly, posts previously posted on May 11 and 12 did not re-post, they were set to "scheduled". So I had to republish them.
Lastly some of my readers wrote to me yesterday in email to say they could not post comments. I'm not sure what is happening with that feature but will look into it. For the most part, the glitches once Blogger returned were not a huge deal but it points out to me that there may still be problems lurking.
The huge deal is me being remiss. No back up for the 1,235 posts I've written since February 2003 - that's crazy on my part! So yesterday I began creating backups. I'm really curious what steps other bloggers are taking to create backups. I am creating mine using Blog2Print.
I've talked about Blog2Print before. Basically it will take whatever portions of your blog you want - the entire blog, certain dates, specific labels - you set it up as you wish. For $7.95 you can create a digital copy in PDF format and download it to your computer. The catch for me is that it has a maximum size of 500 pages. My blog is almost 2,000 pages. It's been challenging to guess at what start and end dates I need to use in order to create a book 500 pages or less!
I discovered that you can create a book that is larger than 500 pages, then edit sections out, such as the contents pages. But that doesn't work for me as removing 33 pages of contents in my first book didn't get me under 500 pages. So it's a labourious and somewhat frustrating process and so far I have only saved blog posts from Jan 1, 2010 to May 11, 2011. That's Book One, all 453 pages!
My second step I've taken is to create all my blog posts using Evernote or Springpad. I do that once in awhile but now I'm determined to follow that practice faithfully. It won't be easy, in fact I've already strayed from my commitment by writing this post directly in blogger! Old habits die hard. I can easily copy this post and save it in Evernote in my Blog Posts folder so that oversight on my part is solved.
Bloggers let's help each other. What are your practices for ensuring you have backups of your blog or your individual blog posts?