WordPress: Recovering a lost blog post or page

don't panic buttonOMG! You worked hard on a post, published  and then logged out. You returned the next day and logged in and found the post (or page) is gone. This means you may have to reconstruct it again from scratch.  You suddenly feel dizzy,  and nauseated,  and your heart begins to beat rapidly. 

Panic attacks attacks are a serious health problem in the U.S. At least 20% of adult Americans, or about 60 million people, will suffer from panic attacks at some point in their lives.  — MedicineNet.com

What to do? Don’t Panic.

(1) Look in your Admin section to see if it was saved as a Draft Post or as a Private Post or Draft Page or Private Page.

(2) If you don’t find the post or page then it could be in your trash. Provided you did not permanently delete it then restoration is possible.

(3) WordPress software has an autosave feature that saves every 2 minutes.  Each time you click Save Draft or Update Post (or Page) a revision is saved.

In your Dashboard view, on the upper right corner, under the “[name]” is a tab labeled “Screen Options.” Click it. Here is a list o f the screens where the modules can be hidden:
Posts – Post Tags, Categories, Excerpt, Send Trackbacks, Discussion, Comments, Post Slug, Post Author, Post Revisions
Page – Page Attributes, Recommendations, Featured Image, Discussion, Comments, Slug, Author, Revisions
Select those and return to your Dashboard.

Make sure you select Select Post Revisions and Page Revisions those and return to your Dashboard. Then close the tab.

On the left toolbar, click on either “Pages” or “Posts” depending on what type of document are you are trying to restore.

Find the revision you want to restore. Hover the cursor over the name and click on EDIT.

Scroll down the screen, below the box that the current post/page text is in You’ll now see the list of Revisions with dates.

 Click on any of the revision dates to get a complete listing of revisions. Also, you’ll find a button allowing you to compare revisions you select.

When you’ve decided which version you want (that is, the revision date of the version you want to restore), then on the right hand side on that row you can click on the word “RESTORE” to replace your current post/draft with that particular version.

(4) If the post or page has been published long enough for Google to index it you may be able to search and locate a cached version. Use the keywords or the title and the Google searchbox.

Related posts found in this blog:
Offline Blog Editor Reviews
Free Plain Text Editors
Disaster Plan: Backups for Bloggers

46 thoughts on “WordPress: Recovering a lost blog post or page

  1. Pingback: How to Get Better, Faster Support at WordPress.com | one cool site

  2. Thanks timethief, I will bookmark this for “just in case”. Loved your spin on panic and grief. I think when we are grieving the best thing people can do for us is just allow us to grieve. You don’t “get over” grief. Also I always tell the children in my life, the first thing you do in an emergency situation ( eg losing a post) is DON’T PANIC! :)

  3. I almost thought you’d solved my problem.. but when I looked at the autosaves, it only had a save of the post after all I my text had been deleted. Thanks anyway..

  4. I can’t believe I’ve just clicked SAVE and lost the long draft :( I am sure I save it along the way but in revisions the lastest one doesn’t appear. What should I do? It was a looong post!

  5. my index page suddenly corrupt, and your article show me to get it back from the revision restore.
    thank you, you really save my site :)

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  7. WHAT????!!! MAN I LOVE YOU!!!!! (im well aware of this hideous capital letter writing, but you saved my ass!!, also english is far from being my native language) I felt even worse than the way you described it, and then BAM!! like magic I pasted the url you gave, and there it is!! just the way ive last seen it! It is my first post, and Ive looked through to see if there was a draft section or something, and nothing, then i find your entry… thanks man… thanks!

  8. Hehe hi. I was posting a review of a song, then I pressed publish. It didnt do anything so I pressed it again, and then it redirected me to a new draft for a new blog post. I thought it published, so I went to my blog and it wasn’t there. I was so pissed cause I wrote like 2 pages and I thought it would autosave and pulish when I pressed pulish. I’m still pissed now cause I followed what you said and its gone. wordpress is pissing me off already and I just joined and hour ago.

    PS sorry for sounding mean Im just mad I lost a reallllly long post. :l

    • I’m so happy to hear you were able to recover your post. Nothing could be more disappointing than working hard to create content and having it disappear. I’m a chronic saver. I click “save draft” after typing every paragraph. :)

  9. You saved me this morning, I was totally freaking when my post suddenly vanished. When you said to not panic, I listened, then did what you said and it worked. Thanks so much!

    • I’m so glad to hear my post helped you recover the post you lost. Thanks for taking the time to let me know it did and best wishes for happy blogging.

  10. Dear Lady

    I haven’t bothered you for some time and I feel very stupid to ask you this, but I cannot understand how to back up my blog ( on WP.com)
    I can find nothing in the forums or google since they seem to relate only to sites on WP.org and talk about plugins etc.

    Do I simply export it to an XML file? And if so, then what? And what about regular backups at predetermined times?

    And if you ask how did I blog for 6 weeks before asking this question, I have no sensible answer.

    Best rgds

  11. Thank you very much for this post, it got me back on track. However, once I got to the edit/post page, I didn’t see the revisions and had to re-open the “screen options” and check the “show Revisions” again. Not sure if it was a fluke, but if anyone doesn’t see them after the first checking, worth a try ;)…

  12. Thank you sooooooooooooooo much for this. I have no idea how, but I accidentally deleted half the post I was working on all day, autosave kicked in, and yep, panic attack started to hit me. Then I found your post and all was resolved. Thank you a mazillion times!!!!!!

  13. This is my suggestion. Apologies if someone else already suggested the same thing; I just skimmed through the posts above without really reading them. My bad but I’m leaving and… whatever.
    Here it is: I find sometimes useful to write the thick of my post on Word first. I know, I know, but it’s already saved my you know what a few times. If something happens on the WordPress end, you’re saved or at least the bulk of your precious train of thought and you can easily recompose whatever it is you’ve written once you’d copied and pasted it to WordPress. Besides I find the spelling feature on Word better than WP but I may be wrong about that. Anyway, just a helpful thought. Cheers
    Wesley

  14. Panic attack? I thought the correct response was blind, seething rage, and wanting to somehow give the bits that compose WordPress physical form so you could break them.

    I’ll tell you what’s really frustrating–when you click “save” and WordPress has timed out your session, so not only had it not been auto-saving during the last hour of writing, but it of course won’t even let you use the back button to get back to the window with the edited text in it so you can copy and paste to salvage it.

    Takeaway lesson: If you’ve been typing for a while and haven’t hit save, do a select-all and copy first, just in case WP decides to eat 1000 words or so without warning. Then you can just paste back in if something goes wrong.

    There really should be something in place in the code to prevent that from happening–save should never, ever be a destructive action.

    • @Marc
      Well that sounds like a catastrophe for sure. But rage costs me physically and mentally so I try not to go there.

      All I can do is commiserate and confess. I confess that I’m a chronic saver. I write a paragraph or so and then select text and copy paste as I go along, so I have whatever I’m writing on my clipboard minus a sentence or two.

  15. Best way i find to avoid such data loss related panic attack is to take personal backups. I did not panic, when tea dropped on my Hard Disk controller board and ruined it completely. This is because i had my critical data backed up/

    • @phoxis
      I have had a hard disc burn-out experience and I’ll never forget it. It change my blase approach to backing up to a more systematic one. I agree with your about the importance of backing up and recommend that the best time to backup a post is while you are composing it. Those who use offline blog editors linke ecto, blogdesk or windowslivewriter all have backups on their own computers. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2007/10/26/offline-blog-editors-reviews/ Thereafter periodic exports can provide backups including all content and blogroll links. :)

    • @timethief : I actually work without very small amount of softwares. Like for composing my posts offline i use a plain text editor, like i use KWrite in my Fedora12 system (KDE) . I always compose with HTML tags and shortcodes and use the HTML editor to make posts in wordpress.com . Even the articles which i write in OpenOffice word processor, i copy-paste paragraph by paragraph into plain text editor and hand tune the tags, and keep them as simple as possible. After making the post i copy paste the final commit into the plain text editor and save it into my HDD. My ‘Works’ directory backup goes into my USB drive, and a copy of that directory goes into my another HDD (i do this periodically) . And time to time i export the wordpress XML file and preserve it. The best thing is by opening the wordpress.com xml file you can search any post title, and directly go to that post and copy-paste that particular post into a separate file, without need of any software. Before i tried WISIWIGS but mess up the tags, and it takes more time to type into a WISIWIG than into a plain text editor with HTML .

  16. I’ve just lost all the “Publish Post,” date, categories, etc list that used to be on the right side of (side by side with) my New Posts. Any advice? I found I can add a new page but then I need to copy and paste the post in order to have them both on the same page. It all started when the “Publish Post,” etc function area started to overlap the space where one writes the new post. Any insight? Please help. (colltales.wordpress.com) Thanks a million. Wesley

    • @colltales
      I read your comment I’m not clear what you need help with. Every theme has a sidebar widgets display and as soon as we go here > Appearance > Widgets and move a single widget we over-ride the entire default display. Simply go back to Appearance > Widgets, select all the widgets you want to use from the Available Widgets box and place them in the sidebar box. Do not forget to add the Pages widget (more on that below). Then click and open each widget, set it up the way you want, click “save” and Close”. When you have finished doing this with each widget you can view the front page of your blog and they should all be there.

      Due your copy and paste remark above I think you are unaware of the differences between static pages and posts. We do not post to static pages. There is only one page in a blog that we post to that will automatically display our posts in reverse chronological order on the front page of our blog. That’s the running page for all of our posts and immediately after we publishing our posts automatically display on it (the front page) in reverse chronological order with the most recent post on top. At the same time our published posts will also automatically appear in our Categories and our Archives pages.

      We create static pages which are intended to be only for information that rarely if ever changes. Examples: About page, copyright page, commenting page, etc.. Static Pages can only be updated by editing and cannot have categories assigned to them.

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-vs-page/

      The theme you are using does not display static page tabs at the top of the blog in a horizontal menu. That means you need to place the pages widget in the sidebar in order to have the links to pages display. http://en.support.wordpress.com/widgets/pages-widget/ I believe when you place the Pages widget in the sidebar you will find the pages you think you have lost.

      I hope this helps but if it doesn’t then please post to the support forum here http://en.forums.wordpress.com

  17. OMG! What a wonderful post! I’ve never actually lost a post, but it’s good to know what to do. I have gotten confused when I opened a post for editing only to see the confusing “There is a newer version of this post” message. Apparently this happens when an auto-save occurs after you’ve saved a draft or published. NOW I know what to do when that happens. Thank you!

    • @izaakmak
      Thanks for the positive feedback. :) The autosave happens every 2 minutes and it’s almost inevitable that you will experience a lost post or page scenario one day. I have been there. I have actually spent hours on a post and then lost it only to discover that I had created a draft page instead of a post. I have also used autosave a couple of times to recover revisions and I do expect there will be times in the future when I need to use it again.

  18. Yup. Hate that when it happens. But, it was a great idea building into wordpress that new “trash” folder – where, if you delete any page or post .. it can be automatically recovered if it was deleted in error.

    see “trash” section (http://en.support.wordpress.com/trash/) … the only drawback, is it gets automatically deleted in 30 days . I think there should be a setting to allow owners of their blogs ability to e.g. save up to 9999 days or as little as 5 days.

    Oh well ;) But I have been saved stress from accidentally deleting draft posts and being able to recover it.

    PS Hope you’re doing well. ~ :D

    • @Hart
      In my case the discovery of a lost post has never been be a 30 days after the fact situation. I hope I never experience one of those, and I think your idea of the blogger being able to choose the timeframe setting they want is a good one. Thanks for sharing it.

      I’m doing better since I made the choice to back away from the stress of social networking, which is a such a huge time suck that did stress me out. I’m gradually entering the fray again but I’m also managing my time very carefully and I’m pruning. If I don’t experience reciprocity then I will prune the ‘follower” or “friend” who is not reciprocating. That will eliminate a portion of the time I spend promoting other blogger’s posts and reduce my stress level as well.

      Be well and happy. :)

  19. He! He!

    I loved the way you made this post…

    “You suddenly feel dizzy, and nauseated, and your heart begins to beat rapidly.”

    Then…

    “Panic attacks attacks are a serious health problem in the U.S. At least 20% of adult Americans, or about 60 million people, will suffer from panic attacks at some point in their lives. — MedicineNet.com”

    Made me smile. :) Another great tip! Thanks for sharing!

    ~~~~~~~

    By the way, thanks very much for stopping by my blog. And thanks for your sympathy on behalf of our loss. It must have been difficult losing your dad too. And… I wish I could get to watch those televised Christie episodes too!

    Cheers!
    Rogue|Hero

    • @ Rogue|Hero
      Hello there. I’m glad you liked the panic attack symptoms I injected. Years ago I was in a panic state over losing a post. Luckily I found it in my draft pages but I did experience all the panic attack symptoms listed. It’s a good thing that we have free offline blog editors like windowslivewriter that we can use to create and publish our posts from because using them means we always have a backup copy on our own computer.

      P.S. Grief is a complex and non-linear process and we all grieve differently. North Americans tend to discredit with nonsensical advice like: “get lost in your work” and other empty phrases. This is because we have been conditioned to be “rugged individualists” and that amounts allowing our own discomfort to prevent us from reaching out to someone who is grieving and offering the support they need. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and if we skip grieving then the next death will bring all those feelings we stuff down up to the surface again. The truth is that we don’t need to give advice to grieving people. The most important thing we can do for a grieving person is to simply be there and listen to what they say with compassion as they go through the process.

      Love and peace

      • Wow! That made me think so hard about everything that’s going on in my life. Thanks very much for listening and empathizing!

        Yeah, I should go through and get past this phase in my life.

        Cheers!
        Rogue|Hero

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