Lee Heidel

Movable Type Backups

Movable Type Nut LogoBackups are an essential part of any website maintenance plan. Even with the most reliable hosting and hands-on care, servers can fail, sites can crash and online destinations can be hacked. Luckily for Movable Type users, the software has a built-in backup utility to help ease the burden of performing MT-specific back up tasks.

However, these backups only cover files accessed through Movable Type. These include Movable Type pages, entries, comments, templates, users and assets. It does not include any static files on your server that were not uploaded or managed through Movable Type (like FTP'd images, documents, scripts or media files). It also does not backup database information that is not related to MT or Movable Type's system and plugin files.

To conduct a full backup, you'll need to use the Movable Type backup tool as well as regular flat file backups and database dumps. As server configurations and available software can vary greatly from host to host, I won't get into all of the manual and automated options for backing up your website's files and non-MT databases. If you want to know more about your specific backup options, let's talk.

To create a Movable Type backup for a single blog, follow these steps:

  1. From the "Tools" menu, choose "Backup."
  2. Choose your archive format. Zip and tar.gz are both compression formats that make the downloaded file smaller. You will need software to decompress these files. "Don't compress" provides the files without compression.
  3. Choose target file size. For sites with a lot of content, this helps to break up the downloads into smaller pieces.
  4. Click "Make Backup" and download the file after it has been processed. Save that backup in a secure location.
  5. Repeat for each blog in your system.
In the backup archive,  you'll find the images uploaded through Movable Type's asset manager, an XML file containing your templates, entries, comments, etc and a manifest file which references your assets.

The official documentation on backup provides more in-depth information about the procedure including exactly which content is backed up and how to restore the files to a new installation.