Are you prepared for Blog Tragedy – Backup Now?

(Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.)

Tragedy can occur anytime. Its uncalled for and unwanted too! Recently I saw two blogs suffering tragedies. One was TylerCruz.com and other one was GatherSuccess.com Former one suffered at the hands of inefficient server management team and server failures while second one got hacked. Even my friend Saurav’s blog Chotocheeta.com got almost lost due to inefficient and poor webhost.

All these incidents happened suddenly without any warning. Some are prepared while some are not prepared against these incidents. Don’t think that this can’t happen to your blog any day. It can happen to everybody. So are you prepared for the worst? If not then do so otherwise you will repent it later when you lose your last 1 or 2 years post, the readers, the comments and a lot of income! Recreating would be extremely difficult. So better be safe then sorry.

How to be prepared?

Good question. There are few steps you should follow to be prepared for such tragedies.

First Step

Identify what all things you need to backup. There will be the blog database, blog files, themes, plugins and files you uploaded. Blog’s database holds the content you produced complete with all formatting you had done to the text. Its the most important part to be backed up in a blog since everything can be recreated except original content again. Second most important thing is identifying blog files and your custom files. If you are using WordPress, a default blog contains 3 folders wp-content, wp-includes and wp-admin folder and a few php files in the root directory. wp-content folder contains 2 folders: plugins and themes which you obviously know are very crucial and need to be backed up definitely. wp-includes and wp-admin folder contains core wordpress files. These are not important to be backed up unless you tweaked your wp installation since they are available with a default wp installation too (Check version of wordpress – files change with wordpress versions)

Last thing remains your uploaded files. By default WordPress uploads attachments in wp-content/uploads/ folder unless you are keeping some extra files. Make a note of all such pathnames to be backed up somewhere.

Second Step

Now that you have identified all things to be backed up, now is the time to make a backup. Don’t worry…taking backups is not that difficult. For blog database I would recommend using WP-DBManager Plugin. It will take care of all your blog’s database needs. For Files, I will recommend manually make note of all folders and files to be taken care of and then using a ftp/shell software, downloading them on your pc.

There is a plugin which can backup both files and database together and even schedules backups. Try this: BackUpWordpress plugin (Works with WordPress 2.5.x). But if your blog is huge and are using a shared hosting, beware…it may not be able to do complete file backup due to php memory limits set by your webhost.

Final Step

Final Step is making sure you do take backups regularly and never let a tragedy set upon you. You can use cron feature to schedule backups. (Anyways sorry I won’t be able to describe that here in this post). And for preventing loss of files make sure you do editing on your local pc and then upload it to your website. This way, you will never lose files/themes/plugins. To run WordPress locally on your pc, read this guide.