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Backing Up Your Blog

A lot of people have been worrying about how to backup their blog. While has daily server backups, you might want to keep your own backup copy of your blog.


bloggers can now backup their blogs through the Export panel. Export your blog as an XML file for easy importing back into WordPress or another blog program. Or just save the file as your backup.

The Export will not backup your Theme, only the post and Page content, along with comments. If you are using the Paid Extras for customizing your Theme, make sure you save a copy of the CSS stylesheet file in a safe place. Same with the images you upload to your blog.

The WordPress Themes and program are backed up by and since you have no control over the tweaking factors, it isn’t “yours”. So that leaves content and images. Actually, you should have backups of your images because they were on your hard drive in order to upload them, so make sure you have backup copies of those.

For information on backing up your full version WordPress blog, see full version of WordPress backup technique.

Alternative Options to Backing Up Your Blog

There are alternatives. You can create a backup of your blog with a program known as a website copier which will copy your website (or the website of your choice) to your hard drive. I have used several of these and I like HTTrack Website Copier.

HTTrack Website Copier installs easily on your computer and acts like a web crawler. It crawls or spiders the designated website, per your custom settings, and downloads it to your computer. Instead of accessing your website via the Internet, you can view the whole site from your own computer disconnected from the net.

Website copier programs do a good job grabbing posts, pages, and graphics and downloading them onto your computer into a folder, but it can download everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Any link to external websites can also be downloaded along with your blog’s posts. Adjust the settings to limit the depth of inclusion, usually one or two levels will do the job, and do not include external sites.

I like HTTrack Website Copier because it is easily customized and allows you to do a range of site downloads. You can download the designated website or more than one at a time. You can set the depth of the links and external sites it will follow or limit it to just the set website. You can also set it up to act like a mirror, spidering through the web pages and keeping them updated. You can set it to only download specific types of files. You can set it to only monitor specific pages and not the entire website, and easily update your downloaded files to add new ones. Best of all, if your download is interrupted, it will continue later to fill in what was missed.

There are other website copier programs, but I’ve found HTTrack easy to use, I like the price (free, but pay if you like it), and it has great documentation, with screen shots to take you through the process, available on your computer so you don’t have to access the Internet to read the help files.

Once you have copied your blog to your hard drive, you can zip the folder and store it on a CD or DVD or another hard drive. I recommend you do this at least once a month or more depending upon how frequently you post and how important your blog is to you. It is also a good practice for any website so you have a dated original backup of your posts for cases of intellectual property and copyright infringements.

If you are running peer-2-peer file sharing or downloading a lot from the Internet, I recommend you turned these off and/or run this at night when you aren’t using the Internet to get the fastest download times.

With the full version of WordPress, you can backup the WordPress Themes, WordPress core files, and your database. To restore it, you reinstall WordPress, upload the Themes, and restore your database. With a website copy of your blog, restoration isn’t going to happen without some effort.

To restore your blog without the help of the developers and hosts, you are stuck with copy and paste. View the source code for each post in your browser and copy the title and post content and paste it into’s Write Post Panel, as if you were publishing it for the first time. Mark the categories and date and hit Publish when ready to restore the post. It is long and tedious, but okay in an emergency.

Hopefully the developers will add the backup feature to sites so the database can be backed up. Until then, if you are paranoid and want to be sure and preserve your precious writings, then this is better than nothing.

The following are some other website copiers you can try.

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  1. Andy C
    Posted December 19, 2005 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    A very timely article in the light of recent events at Typepad. I am very lazy so I simply subscribe to my own full text feed in an RSS Reader so I always have a copy of all my blog articles locally on my PC.

    While not as comprehensive as a full blown mirror of the Web site still a reasonable strategy for lazy people. Especially, as in both cases, you need to cut/paste to reinstate the original articles.

  2. Posted December 20, 2005 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Another great article, thank you.
    Do you know of any simalar programs for Mac OS X?

  3. Posted December 20, 2005 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    While I teethed on Mac in the early years, I’m not familiar with Mac programs, though someone might jump in with a good answer.

  4. Posted August 8, 2006 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I disagree with your assertion that HTTrack is easy to use. The UI is unnecessarily complicated, and the manual is full of technical jargon. I recommend you try SuperBot (see link in my name), which will not only backup your site with ONE click, but also help you burn it onto CD/DVD.

  5. Posted May 2, 2007 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    i’ve just wasted a day getting the mac (fink) version of httrack to grab my wordpress blog, which copies as binary. any help would be much appreciated (email address can be accessed by clicking on my name).

  6. Posted May 2, 2007 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know anything about that version or the Mac. I recommend you export your blog through the built in Export feature that is now in current versions of WordPress. It exports it as an XML form. Or use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to backup your database files. comes with the XML export now.

  7. Posted May 11, 2007 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Great article,

    another option that i use is to backup from your hosting account. It’s a good practice to have your own scheduled backup from all the infos residing on your webpages.

    Some hosting do it automtically, but it’s better to control the process at least one a week. So a weekly backup will save you from a lot of trouble.

  8. Posted January 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t work for me 😦

    The process of exporting an XML and importing it in a local server only copies a few files of the “drafts” section, but not the blog at all.

    I’ll try the HTTrack method instead, I suppose it’ll be OK.

  9. Posted January 26, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    @ DaniFP:

    Try it again. Manage > Export and follow the instructions. It works, it may just take a while. If it doesn’t work, get help on the Support Forum. The HTTrack method is okay for full website copying, it does not work for importing/exporting blog migration.

  10. Posted January 26, 2008 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your response! I’ve done the httrack method and has worked flawlessly 🙂 The main purpose is to have a copy of my posts off line just to be safe, so I’m happy with it. On the other hand, it would be great to have a copy on a local server and do experiments with it, so I’ll follow your suggestion and visit the forum.
    Thanx again!

  11. unixwayoflife
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I wrote a small perl script which downloads the backup xml file without user interaction. What means it can be scheduled to run as cron job = automated backup. It doesn’t solve the theme and images problem, but this feature will be added soon.

  12. Posted November 9, 2008 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    @ unixwayoflife:

    And how do you get a cron job to run on a blog? Through perl’s interface? Not as something uploaded to your site as we don’t have such access.

  13. unixwayoflife
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    You’re right, doesn’t support cron jobs. I wrote the post with local cron in mind(I use Linux). The drawback is when my pc is off the backup script isn’t executed.
    Then I found this link: a list of free hosts supporting cron jobs. It can be done with “remote” cron too, in these case the xml file is saved on that free host or can be e-mailed.

    There is one more thing. If you are paranoid about your password(it’s stored in the perl script) you should use the local cron solution.

    I also updated my post(added cron mini howto).

  14. jane
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    you wont care about backing up your wpress if you have a good web hjost …. i get just a grat one following an easy method

  15. Doc Mapes
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    When was the last update to this. I do appreciate the post though it is very important to backup all of your files.

  16. Posted January 24, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing!
    I am backing up right away.

  17. Posted February 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this tip – very useful!

  18. Posted May 9, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    This was a very handy set of posts – thanks Lorelle – still paying dividends into 2012.

  19. Posted October 3, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks man,

    It worked!

  20. johyn
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been looking for a way to backup my blog. I tried the EXPORT option and it worked well.

24 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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