Back Up Your Blog; Another Lesson

Sometimes I think my reason for being on this earth is to mess things up so I can warn you not to do it. In this case it’s specific to blogs, at least WordPress self hosted blogs, although I think it’s a general lesson for everyone.

Yesterday I was checking in on this blog I write for an accounting firm. I went into the Admin panel and went to posts, where I discovered that two posts didn’t publish when they were supposed to. That was bothersome because, as I do with my own blogs, I tend to write posts ahead of time and if I wasn’t going to be able to do that there it was going to really complicate things.

The first thing I did was publish both posts. I actually had to “fake” change the date by changing the time a few minutes, then the Publish button came up and I was able to publish them for the dates they were supposed to show up.

Then I went online to do some research into the issue; y’all know how I like to research. I came across something that recommended adding something to the WP-Config.php file, as it stated that some themes were missing this particular code. I added the code, then went back to write a new post.

Only when I clicked on the link to the blog, it had reset itself back to the beginning. I was horrified; I hoped that maybe when I typed in the username and password and went back to the theme I had selected for the blog that everything would be as it was; nope. Oh the horror (some of you know that line)!

Now I was stuck. The lucky thing is that this is still a relatively new blog; the unlucky thing is that I’d never gotten around to backing it up. What to do, what to do, what to do?

I went to Google to pull up the cache of older blog posts. Only Google doesn’t seem to have that link anymore that gives you the cache of old posts or pages; what the hey? I looked everywhere, even did some research on that, but nothing worked. I then tried Bing, and they didn’t have anything either.

Yahoo did the trick. I put the blog’d address link into the search and it pulled up the one entry, but it also had “cache”. Through that link I was able to recover all the older posts, but not the two posts I’d done earlier in the day. Hey, I took what I could get, and that was a lot. I was able to post all those articles back for the same date that they originally were posted, then three posts, one to replace a post that was supposed to be for next month, then two more that are supposed to go this month.

I’ve scheduled one to go live today, but it’ll be after this post so I don’t know yet if it’s working or not. Either way, it’s reminded me of the importance of backing things up before making radical changes, even though I hadn’t thought that was a radical change. I’m just glad that I can write fairly fast; I’d have hated to spend a long time having to rewrite those articles.

Yes, please learn from my mistakes; don’t do them. 😉

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23 thoughts on “Back Up Your Blog; Another Lesson”

  1. Yes, been there – done that. Not fun. Another place I found some of my old posts were at Zimbio. It’ a place where you can have your posts in their RSS feed. It’s more for personal and or entertainment type blogs. Glad you were able to recover quickly.

    1. Thanks Lia (I thought it was Lisa lol). I went to that site but I have no idea how I might have been able to find content there. But since it really isn’t a personal blog it might not have been there anyway.

      1. Yes, sometimes I type too fast 🙂 Ever since first grade I’ve been told to slow down….Guess I don’t listen well.

  2. I have seen this issue, but never really tried to fix it. I suppose that the straight forward method is to edit the post and dates directly in MySQL database through PHP Admin. The point of having backup is critical, not only the files but database too. I would not recommend plugin as quite often things are going wrong and at the end there is only partial backup or backup that can’t restore anything. Another method that is good is backing up through cPanel.

    1. Carl, I’m kind of stuck at this point with parts of my blogs because they’re much larger than my hosting company would allow me to restore anyway. A friend asked me yesterday if I had copies of every article I’d written; not hardly! lol Still, I should have done it anyway, especially once I started messing with WP-Config.

      1. If you can login to admin are, export articles in XML format, if can not, then in PhpMyAdmin find in which table are articles and export in SQL format. It is kind a messy issue and honestly I would recommend to mess with WP-Config in production website, but download everything and test locally.

  3. How annoying is that? But that’s great that you were able to recover most of those blog posts.

    Do you use an offline blog editor? I use MarsEdit that saves my most recent posts. I use it for my personal and business sites. I also use it for sites that I write for.

    I use a WordPress Plug in for my backups; Online Backup for WordPress. I have it automated for my sites, and it does it daily. I also got into the habit of backing up my posts when I log into the admin panel to delete spam.

    1. No Opal, I do everything online. And I don’t run a backup of my blog because my file is too big for my host to allow anyway. But I should do it for the blog I’m writing for since it’s new and therefore small.

  4. So what you’re saying Mitch is that you hacked your own blog? 😉

    Still, I wouldn’t have thought that adding a bit of code to that file would have wiped out the database. Then again, strange things always happen to us don’t they?

    1. Luckily Sire, it was a client’s blog I hacked, even though I created it so it could count. Strange things to happen to us; luckily, it gives us more to write about.

  5. You really got me laughing with your lead in sentence! Perhaps you mess up a bit, but imagine how many of us benefit from that 😀

  6. Oh man so lucky! I think we’ve all been there. Sometimes I feel like I know everything and I don’t need no stinkin’ backup. I’ll just work without a net.

    Well, of course that’s when I go and screw everything up! lol.

    So which host is this that won’t let you back up the site? I can’t believe that your file is that big -is it trying to back up your ENTIRE hosting account including all your blogs?

    When I use BackupBuddy my site is about 1.6GB these days -and I might even store a few of those for awhile after I download before I delete them. It usually goes relatively quickly.

    I think I mentioned before that I write everything offline first. I use TextWrangler on the Mac. I think Notepad++ is an equivalent on Windows.

    I type as normal, then run a few of my saved search and replaces to add in my paragraph tags, header tags, etc. (I don’t trust WordPress formatting). At which point I paste it all into the HTML view.

    So even though I make some minor changes online, I still have the basic articles on my machine.

    Did you ever try BackupBuddy or Opal’s suggestion?

    Either way I’m glad you restored it!

    1. John, no I didn’t. Actually, when the backup file was compressed it came to 5.1 MB, but my host will only allow a restore of 2.5; doesn’t help me one bit. Your file is probably that large because of your image files. I have backed up all images but what I need is a backup program that will back up content without the images. That might give me a shot at restoration at some point. I’m with 1&1.

      And I don’t write anything offline; well, almost nothing. You know how fast I write. I’d expect you to with all the graphics.

      1. Before I got BackupBuddy I used a plugin called WordPress Database Backup:

        Obviously it only does the database itself, so no images, and you can even tell it which specific tables in the database to back up.

        I used to have it automatically email me a copy of the database every week. The backups only came to about 450kb or so. The only thing is it doesn’t really help you restore, so you need to know your way around phpMyAdmin (or equivalent) to make the restore happen.

        Even BackupBuddy has a “Database Only” option. Although I just did mine this very moment. it took 23 seconds but came out to a 9.4mb file. Down from 1.6GB is pretty good though!

        I’d probably switch hosts if I were you because I think that’s a bit of an unrealistic limit. I’d be worried about not being able to backup and restore my site properly. I obviously wouldn’t last a second there with the size of my junk. they’d boot me immediately! lol

      2. Someone else suggested that John, but to know me is to understand that unless something irritates me greatly I tend to stick with it until the very end. I stuck with the same bank, even though it kept getting taken over by new banks, for 29 years. I stuck with the same cell phone company for 16 years even though performance wasn’t great. I’ve had few gripes with this hosting company so I don’t feel I have a reason to leave. Hey, I’ve been wearing the same style of shoe since 1967! lol

        I actually do know a little something about phpMyAdmin, so if I can find a setting that will only back up the content maybe I can get it down some. Course I’d want to keep all comments also; I think that probably drives up the size of the file.

  7. oh horrors, I’ve gone totally glazed over. Nothing backed up, no idea how except to have everything saved in word docos. For the non-technical bod that’ll do won’t it? (except that it’s not done as I keep putting it off till another day – sigh)

    1. Sue, you have a different problem. You won’t ever lose all your content because of a technical error because you’re on Blogger. Your issue is that at any time, if Google decides they don’t like your content for whatever reason, they can take your blog away from you and that’s that, you’ll have lost it all.

  8. I use a hostgator reseller account so have multiple CPanels. They back up the whole lot every week so if your with them or someone similar you may find that they are able to do some recovery work ($15 in the case of Hostgator)

    Also when you start playing with php files I would recommend renaming the original rather than replacing so you have a route back should the worst happen.

    1. Peter, with the WordPress files there’s no option when it comes to WP-Config; it is what it is and it has to be that. I hope by writing this everyone else watches out when they might think about changing that particular file. And truthfully, I don’t know if my host backs anything up; it might be a question to ask.

  9. Okay Mitch, I’m going to really knock on wood here but I’ve never messed up my blog. I know, I’m blessed. I do back it up on a regular basis though but I’ve never done anything to it that I’ve needed to restore anything.

    I just don’t fool around with stuff I’m not familiar with but I do have a lot of posts that don’t publish when they’re suppose to. I even installed the missed schedule plug-in but they still don’t publish on time. It only happens every so often so I just make sure to always check it, which I do anyway.

    Sorry you had this issue but like you said, we can all learn from your mistakes. Thanks for being so transparent.


    1. Adrienne, I’m always glad to share because I know if I mess something up then someone else probably has as well. And with the research I did no one fully explained what could happen, so that makes me unique because I will tell it all and detail it all. And let’s face the fact that it also keeps giving me more to write about. 🙂

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