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A Big Scare (or) What to do when all your blog posts have disappeared!

This morning, after I logged onto my blog, I noticed that all my posts were missing. Vanished. Everything I’d written here since April 2007 was gone. What the heck? Did I inadvertently do something? Did someone hijack my account? I was both surprised and a little upset, mostly because I’ve never backed-up all the posts I had written involving Chloe, which were the ones most important to me.

After some quick internet searches I came across several recommendations, including restoring permalinks and disabling all my plug-ins (which I tried, but didn’t work). I also came across this promising solution by Blog Tech Guy. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about databases, and only through the grace of WordPress am I able to blog at all.

How to save information off of web pages


Meanwhile, I did the only thing I could think of to recover some of my posts, before they were gone forever. Using Google’s Advanced Search, I entered each month (ex. “August”) and the word “archive” in the search field, and my blogs’ url (www.thepaperseed.com) in the field “Search within a site or domain.” Alternately, I could have just worded the search like this: “August archive site:www.thepaperseed.com.” When Google pulled up the search results I was looking for (see below), I then clicked on the “cached” option. Basically, Google stores pages in its memory, kind of like a back-up. Because of this, I was able to copy the posts it retrieved, and then paste them into another document so I could save it (I used TextEdit on my Mac, which saves the images and links in Rich Text). If I had clicked on the search result link itself, it would have taken me to where those posts used to be, but then tell me that there was no file by that name (because they had somehow disappeared!).

There are other ways of copying information you find on the internet, besides copy and pasting. One way is to take a picture clipping. On a Mac, hold down the “command” and “shift” keys, and then hit the “3” key. This will take a picture of whatever you have on your desktop. Or, hold down the “command” and “shift” keys, and then hit the “4” key, which will allow you to click and drag your mouse in order to crop just the area you want to save. If it is a long web page, you’d have to do this multiple times.

Another way of saving information from a particular web page is to create a PDF. With the page you want on the screen, go up to your browser (I use Firefox), and click File>Print. At the bottom left corner of the Print dialogue box, click on the button that says PDF and choose “Save as PDF.” This will create a PDF of that information on your desktop. I’ve noticed this doesn’t always work perfectly, depending on how the web page was created, so be sure to check that all the information you want is there.

Crisis Averted

In the end, after hours of peering at database information, my husband was able to fix the problem by following Blog Tech Guy’s advice. Turns out my blog had a crashed wp_posts database table (wtf?). I have no idea how that happened, and hope it never happens again. Meanwhile, I hope to be more careful about keeping copies of the posts that are important to me and, at least monthly, export an updated .xml file.

How to export an .xml file of your blog

From your wordpress dashboard, click the “Tools” heading on the left side and click “export.” A new .xml fil will appear in your downloads folder.

Just for the record, I am in no way qualified to give web advice. However, I’m hoping this post might help if someone else ends up with the same problem.

Update: Just installed the WordPress plug-in WP-DB-Backup as suggested by Blog Tech Guy. Wish I had done this before, but better late than never!

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