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blog backup

Last night the web host provider that hosts this blog had a major outage that lasted for around 3 to 5 hours. The primary data pipe they had serving the sites went down. It was fixed (obviously since you can see this now), but it made me realize I hadn't performed a full blog backup in a while.

A full blog backup for me is the entire WordPress database and a manual download of all the images via FTP. The database is fast on download because it's all text; the images is what takes the bulk of the time to complete.

What I finally figured out how to do is how to properly get my content into LibreOffice Writer (which is free, by the way). I wasn't able to do this before because the way LO places images from internet content is to directly link from the originating site. The problem with that is if the site goes down, the images in the document are gone. Fortunately I found a workaround for this. If you have any document in LO where the image is from the internet, you can click Edit/Links and "break" the link, which will cause LO to physically download the image locally and save with the file - which is exactly what I wanted.

This is how it works:

One of my weblog posts with an image in it:


Highlight the article from the browser and copy with CTRL+C.


Paste in LibreOffice Writer.


Now while this looks all well and good, it isn't because the image is still being loaded from the internet and not the document itself.

Edit > Links (only available after an image is in the doc from the internet):


Highlight any images in the list, and mash the Break Link button.


Why yes, I do.

Blank list means all images are now loaded within the document.

Now when you go to save the document, the image will be physically embedded within it. This is awesome because if the web site goes down, that's not a problem because when you load the document, the image(s) will be there.

It's also awesome because should you decide to export to PDF from LibreOffice via the handy-dandy built-in PDF button, it looks perfect:


That's a thing of beauty.

Why bother with all this crap?

Three reasons.

First, if my blog goes down in some catastrophic database-is-totally-jacked way, I have a backup.

Second, my method above is the only, and I mean the only way to get it pasted correctly into an editable, printable format that saves everything except for stuff like Flash and embedded video (which aren't for document anyway).

Third, if I ever decided to print a book, whether for personal or commercial reasons, it absolutely has to be in a real document editor and not the web. From LibreOffice I can direct-export to PDF which sites like Lulu and Createspace need in order to get a book printed. I can't do that with a MySQL database. You need a true office-style document editor like LibreOffice Writer to get the job done.

I have almost all my content in 8 LibreOffice documents now, one for each year my blog has existed. I'm just happy to finally have something in an editable backup instead of just that ridiculous database and separate image files.

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