Some thoughts on website backups

Right now I am thinking about giving up social media in the month of December. Maybe a solid 30 days without it is a good way to focus on writing a little bit more in preparation for a really big year in 2020. Before I start working on walking down that path a little bit of housekeeping is in order for the day.

I am going to archive the weblog today and make sure the backup is stored in a couple of places. Right now I’m using two methods to backup this rather large weblog. First, I’m using the standard export tool in WordPress (Tools → Export → All content) which produces a very large XML file. RIght now that method is producing an XML file with a size of 14,075 KB. Second, I’m using a plugin called “Print My Blog” which errors saving an actual file with my weblog, but does create a single page that combines 1,863 posts that I have been able to cut and paste into a Microsoft Word document. Between those two methods of content extraction that is how I’m backing up my this weblog content. Alternatively, the entire thing is backed up as a website on the server, but I do not view that as a solid cold storage plan for the content. Formats like XML and Microsoft Word will be machine readable and easy to work with for decades to come.

A few more notes on “Print My Blog” and the steps I took to extract content from a weblog the size of mine…

Step 1: Open Tools then select “Print My Blog”

Step 2: Select format paper and click “Prepare Print-Page”. This will take a couple of minutes depending on the size of your page.

Step 3: When “Print-Page Ready” shows up I simply hit “Control-A” followed by “Control-C” opened Microsoft Word and pasted the content into the brand new word document using “Control-P”. At that point, Microsoft Word got sad (non-responsive) for about 8 minutes and then was ready to save. This method has worked for me on three separate occasions producing more than 2,000 page documents. I just changed the font size for the entire document to 12 point to make it easier to manage.

(Alternative) Step 3: You can try to click print and save the page as a PDF. For research purposes only, I tried to do that again today and the screen is just non-response and says loading preview and is essentially waiting for me to “exit page” via the Chrome unresponsive prompt, “You can wait for it to become responsive or you can exit the page.” I gave it a couple minutes and then exited the page.

Alternative path: I did just try to save the whole thing as a PDF vs. the above method which helps me put the content into a Microsoft Word document. The process failed, but the other method worked so all is well.

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