Neville on WordPress.com

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Archive for April 2006

The bottom line on service outages

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I managed to log in to this blog at about 11:40am CET this morning. As everyone who has a WordPress.com blog knows, the service has been completely out over the past 24 hours.

This outage brings to mind what happened with TypePad last July, October and December with service outages as well as noticable service deterioration over periods of time.

Those things turned out to be a significant influence for me in making the switch from Typepad as my primary blog to the one I have today which is running on my own server (well, a server owned by DreamHost on which I rent space and bandwidth).

Wherever you run your blog – on your 'own' server or with a hosted service like WordPress.com or TypePad (Blogger, too) – can give you feelings of comfort and assurance that you don't have to worry about anything, just type your stuff and post it. The hosts take care of all the behind-the-scenes things like server maintenance, software updates, backups, etc.

That's a false sense of security. While they do take care of such things, in reality any service can go down at any time. Even if you have your own server physically sitting in your office or home, it can go down. And you are your own tech support. This happened recently with DreamHost, for instance.

The bottom line – always make your own backups of your blog. Although your service provider does make backups, you should not just rely on your provider doing this. Indeed, most providers' terms of service include a clause that the ultimate responsibility for backing-up your blog lies with you, not with them.

So if you make your own backups and if the service you use does go down, at least you will have the comfort of having your content in a form that will enable you to either restore it to your blog or take it with you to a new service if you decide to do that (I do a manual backup every day of my main WordPress blog).

Unfortunately, unlike TypePad, WordPress.com does not (yet) offer an option for you to backup your blog. Therefore, you have two choices:

  1. Write your content using an offline blog editor (eg, ecto, BlogJet, Qumana, all of which support WordPress) so you'll always have copies on your own computer of what you write.
  2. Subscribe to your own RSS feed so you get all your posts in your RSS reader. This way, you'll also know the URLs for every post, so making it easier to recreate your blog structure if you have to do that.

Hopefully, WordPress.com will have this capability soon.

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Written by nevilleh

April 17, 2006 at 12:54

Posted in Weblogs, WordPress