Recover WordPress without database backup!

I have lost access to the old hosting and I don’t have any backup database. At that point, I was going to let go of my old posts and start fresh to achieve my goals. But the more I try not to recover the posts, the harder it’s to let them go … So I begin my journey trying to recover WordPress without database backup. and turn it into a real blog with many visitors.

TLDR version

  1. ask the Wayback machine for the archive of your site
  2. get to RSS feed (http://yourblog.com/feed), download it.
  3. import to your new site with RSS importer add-on.
  4. iterate by going back further in time (if there are still some post not covered by the feed)

The long process to recover WordPress without database backup …

So I started by googling web archive fajarmf.net. I found a site that can help me to go back in time. https://web.archive.org/ Going through them, it’s interesting that they have a calendar and all.

Getting to know the Wayback machine

so the most recent was 2017 but then the site is already gone and we will get redirected to pasar amal project shop.

The next entry gives me some error message like so:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING, expecting T_CONSTANT_ENCAPSED_STRING or '(' in /home/content/44/5006144/html/wp-content/plugins/cloudflare/cloudflare.php on line 36

I went back further in time to 2016, and hopefully, there is no post that I missed. Apparently there are two archives, in March and January. It seems there is no archive in another month that year, so I assume, Wayback machine is pretty smart to detect there is no update on the site.

I started working on March 5th item, clicked on the date, then…. a moment of truth here… not sure what I am getting .. drum roll, please …..

recover wordpress without database backup
Tada!

Tada!!! It works like a time machine, the archive has all the formatting. It even has the images working as well. So that’s cool right. The latest post was about Sublime 3 in June 2015, I remember it was pretty new back then. Hang on, I guess I need to double-check my assumption regarding how the machine works in detecting site updates. But nevermind, I am pretty psych with this page. A bit slow in loading, but I don’t mind the waiting as long as it gives me my site back … [giphy give it back to me :)]

The oldest post on that page was Happykicker, my first app store app, working together with Wieky, my fellow designer. The app was designed for expecting mothers to count how many kicks they feel during the day. It was during the time my wife is pregnant with our first daughter. How time flies!

Okay so sentimental aside, the next thing that I am looking for is the next page link. And I wonder if it works as well. [giphy hmm] It should right? Again I am assuming that the machine work like a spider crawler, learned a bit about it on my last project with airy [blog idea here :p].

recover wordpress without database backup
Second page. It is not as good looking as the first page, and the first post is duplicate of the last one from the first page.

So how about the third page? Yup, it works fine as well. It shows my first ever post in fajarmf.net :).

Real work begin …

Okay, so next is the not so fun part. I need to go through each post, copy-paste it’s text and image from the machine’s page to my site. If only I can find someone to do it… or something to somehow ease the process. [giphy thinking]

I mentioned in (re)start post that I have changed a bit (for the better hopefully) since last time I wrote a blog post. I started to read more books or another blog. [blog idea – link to a self-managed leader that has not so bad technical knowledge]. And with blogs, there is this technology called RSS feed. And WordPress has a nice feature to import RSS feed as well. I don’t remember having set the RSS feed on the old blog, but WordPress has enabled it by default on /feed path. But there is no link to the RSS feed, I hope that since RSS is a pretty standard part of a blog, the machine has read it.

And … https://web.archive.org/web/20160218054854/https://fajarmf.net/feed/ yes, hahaha.

You know, less time (manual) working means more time playing with your children and reading the Quran [blog idea-capture my learning in reading per surah] right? It’s Ramadhan after all.

But wait, I don’t see my No Google no cry post! Why is the feed so short? Apparently it’s the default setting of WordPress. Does RSS support pagination? This answer in SO said yes. But sadly, the machine doesn’t have it. See! the machine agrees with me that this feature is weird. So what to do?

Then I realize that I have access to this superpower, the machine. So I browsed the calendar and go back further in time to access feed but the older version. And yes, the machine has it.

The import RSS tool is available in the Tool -> Import -> Run Importer. You might need to enable it for the first time use. Next, if your server is running PHP 7, follow this instruction to fix the error during import.

recover wordpress without database backup
all post page after successful import

The nice thing about this import feature is that it takes care of categories and dates as well. So I am happy.

At this point, I think I have successfully recover WordPress without database backup. So that’s about the past, now I need to move on to the future or at least the present time.

I realize that I already have some posts on my site, but why no visitor? huhu 🙁

Make the blog into real serious blog

Time to learn more about blogging. I am following this post: https://flothemes.com/lost-site-new-site-with-flothemes/ to set up my google analytics, search console, etc.

I am going through the steps there, and will update this post or with the new one once done. And done means, there is constant flow of traffic to this blog. I am too excited to share this blog hehe.

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