Blogging Horror Stories: Four Months of Data Magically Disappears

The results of all those hours spent typing away in a word processor to inform and entertain an audience should be of great value to us all. However, it is amazing how careless some of us can be. I just realized that my carelessness could have cost me several months of work and dedication. It was all flushed down the drain within hours. To everyone who runs a blog: please read this, and learn from what was almost a huge disaster.

What better way to end a Friday night than with a true story of blogging horror. What is even more horrifying is the fact that what I am going to be discussing actually came true two days ago. As it would happen, I lost four months worth of data on my technology blog. I thought I had lost almost everything I had written. The amount of hours I had put into writing — all gone. I was lucky though; very lucky.

Let the Horror Begin

So, what is my worst nightmare in blogging? I clearly understand what it would be now: it would be losing everything I worked so hard to build up. It just so happens that I almost experienced this. While I didn’t lose everything, I lost plenty

This all happened as a result of my web host moving my account to a new server without prior notification. The host takes my site offline, and then a few hours later it is restored with the last dated post being on the 18th of October in 2007. In other words, I am screwed. I was furious! The world seemed to go dark, and anger that I had never felt before began to boil deep inside of me.

Only then an amazing thing happened. I realized that I had backed up my WordPress database and files a few times in the past. I had tried my best to backup my data once a month. I did skip a few months, but I had a backup from one month ago. Yes!

As you can imagine, I was thrilled and relieved. To make things even better, I had copies of the past month’s articles stored on my local disk. It is the one time I really needed it, and I was lucky this time around. It was luck that saved me from a difficult time of trying to recoup my losses. I actually ended up having all my articles saved. I have to do some editing, but it is all there. The timing — unfortunately — couldn’t have been any worse, but then again, having all my articles is a huge relief.

In the end, this story ends up being a great lesson that was not nearly as bad as it could have been. It still hurt enough that it will never be forgotten. I managed to lose a Facebook application and several new site designs that I had been working on. Probably several days of work will be required to restore everything.

Take it from me, you don’t want to wake up one day and have your site erased without a sufficient backup. It really can be a scary realization for some people. It has happened before to others. I was just lucky this time around.

How to Prevent This from Happening to You

Ah, you want to know how to avoid this situation? You really do. Well, it can be done relatively easy, but you’ll have to stick around for my next post. I will give some pointers on how to not only backup your data, but to also have redundant protection as well. It is crucial to do this.

However, you will have to be committed to protecting your data. Adopt this mentality right now. Just understand that tomorrow could be the very day when all your data is lost. Are you prepared if that does happen? It is something to seriously think about.

Have you ever lost any data? Do you keep sufficient backups of your blogs? Have any tips that I can add before I write my article on ways to backup your data? If so, let everyone know in the comments section!

12 thoughts on “Blogging Horror Stories: Four Months of Data Magically Disappears

  1. Heart Attack: Articles Lost! (Backup With Feed Reader)

    I wrote an article in 2006 about a simple solution to create a backup while writing an article: Productivity: Clipboard as Auto Save. Now I stumbled over another great possibility to automatically backup my articles. My preferred feed reader BlogBridge offers the great feature to automatically save incoming feed items. (More…)

    Beside the database backup and the combination with full folder FTP backup this feed reader solution is still one of the most convenient ways to recover single articles or use a local repository for ‘recycling content’ ideas.

  2. The first feelings when I saw that my blog was erased and the host confirmed my worst fear was that of my life ending. Very scary realization. I was so afraid that I completely forgot that I had made backups.

  3. I touched on this very lightly with Ryan earlier. I think it is worth it. I know that I would love to have a no hassle solution that just works.

  4. @Ryan Caldwell
    >Performancing has thought in the past about offering a paid, one-click, full-blog >backup service. Do you think there is a demand for this?

    If it’s afforable – yes
    We want to set it and forget it, almost like an insurance policy.

  5. This is probably every bloggers worst fear. I switched to a plugin called BackUpWordPress but like everyone else says, who knows if it will work when I need it. Plus who knows if it is even saving the data in a why that I can use later

  6. Hi James, most of us seem to learn the hard way about backing stuff up. I know I did when it happened to my hard drive awhile back.

    I’m looking forward to part 2 of your article. Later…

    marti garaughty,
    The Blog Artist

  7. We all dread the moment when such a thing can happen. But I realize it can happen to anyone, anyday. Back up is most essential. I use the WP database backup plugin which automatically emails me the database every week.

  8. Performancing has thought in the past about offering a paid, one-click, full-blog backup service. Do you think there is a demand for this?

  9. I have 10 blogs right now and this has to be one of my biggest fears. I do my backups but I still fear they won’t work when needed. It wouldn’t be the first time I found out a backup didn’t work.

    In 2004 I lost my hard drive in the blink of an eye only to find that none of the backups I had made over the months and years were useless. The problem turned out to be a faulty power supply not feeding the correct voltage.

    The only thing that saved me face and my business was the fact that I had so much online I was able to retrieve all my clients sites and create a new backup for each client. It was most embarrassing and stressful.

    If I lost my blogs I am sure I would go into a deep depression. 🙁

  10. …but you could’ve reduced the size of this post and given us the tips on how to back up, instead of having us wait and thus killing the momentum to act. Hopefully, no bloggers will lose any data while they wait for your next post 😉

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