Backing Up Your Blog, Part 2: Hosted Blogs

05 Apr 2010

This Archive-Along post is an addendum to this other one. I'm here to show you how to make a back up of your blog. If you use a free blogging platform like Blogger, read this post instead. If you have a web hosting account and host your own blog, read on...


Three Parts to Back Up

To begin, I want to re-iterate a point from that other post: when you back up your blog, you actually have three separate pieces to back up:

1. Your blog's posts, settings, and comments. These are commonly referred to as your blog's database.

2. Your blog's design and programming files. These are commonly referred to as your blog's code or source files.

3. And then, you need a back up of all the images you've uploaded to your blog!


Some equipment you might want to consider

Once you have a self-hosted blog, you're more than likely into blogging for the long haul. Over time, your blog will grow - more posts, more pictures, more stuff to back up and store.

You can use CDs or DVDs for most of your back ups. You really only need to keep the most recent one, but over time, this can get to be a lot of discs. For extra back up security, you might also consider investing in an external hard drive. The prices on these are coming down drastically, and they're well worth the money. With an external drive, you can keep all your back ups in one place, and they take up very little space.

Or, for even less money, you can buy small "thumb drives," which have less storage space, but enough to hold your most recent back up. (Be careful, though! Thumb drives are also small enough to easily lose!)

Ideally, you'll always keep your most recent back up in two different locations.

Different Hosting Companies Work Differently

I'm going to give you some general guidelines of what you'll need to do in order to back up your hosted blog, and I'll illustrate it with some screen captures from my own web host. The screens your hosting company uses may be very different from mine.

If you don't know where to find the functions I'm describing, then it's time to read your web host's Help pages, or email or call them for help.


First, let's back up your database

As I mentioned in the other post, you can back up your database, and the very next time you add a post to your blog, or someone leaves a comment, that back up is already out of date. So it's a good idea to perform this back up once a week.

Log into your web hosting account. Find the screen where you can download a database back up. (My web host, Host Gator, has this nifty one-click download option you see above.)

Once you've downloaded this database file to your computer, it's a good idea to rename that file and add today's date to the name - so you know when you pulled this back up. Since I have three websites, I also add the website's name, like you see above (the date is in backwards order).

Then, I transfer this back up copy to my external hard drive. If you don't have one of those, no worries - just save it to a CD, DVD, or thumb drive. Whatever you save your database back-ups to, label it clearly so you won't lose it!

Next, let's back up your blog's source files

In hosting-company terms, this is what's known as a "full back up." About once a month, it's a good idea to download all of the files that make up your blog - this includes that database, plus all the files that contain your blog's programming and design.

My web host has a one-button download for this full backup. I just click the button and wait a while. (A full back up can take some time to download, especially if your blog has been around for a while had contains a lot of posts.)

Once it's done, then you'll want to save those files to a location outside your computer. Depending on the size of your blog, this full back up may or may not fit on a CD. You may want to invest in an external drive or thumb drive to store these backups.

And finally, let's back up your images

I covered how to do that in this post.


The Archive-Along continues...

Remember, you can follow all the Archive-Along posts at the project page. If you blog about archiving, will you please leave a comment so we can link to you?