Moving My Posterous Blog(s)


Farewell, Posterous

This is another post that I’ve been asked for quite a bit, especially recently. If you want the very short take-home how-to, skip to the end. But, there are some goodies and options discussed along the way that might help inform some of the choices you might make as part of moving your blog.

Posterous is a service that I started out using just as one of my routine explorations of new online services. I was impressed with how incredibly easy it was to use, and started recommending it to friends who wanted to blog but were not terribly comfortable with computers, as well as others who just wanted a truly EASY blogging platform. It was flexible, simple, powerful, robust, and all you needed to know how to do was write an email, maybe attach an image file. It didn’t provide a good backup or export function, which made me nervous, but it made up for it with the ease of use. And if you post by email, you always have your original emails, if you don’t delete them. That’s it, email was really all you needed to know. And then, all the beauty of Posterous went south.

The sadness started when Posterous was bought by Twitter. Twitter said:

Welcoming the Posterous team to the flock http://blog.twitter.com/2012/03/welcoming-posterous-team-to-flock.html

in which Twitter included the statement, “Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption,” immediately followed by this statement, “We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.”

What people heard was:

Twitter has acquired shortform blogging company Posterous, Spaces will remain up and running FOR NOW (my emphasis) http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/03/12/twitter-has-acquired-shortform-blogging-company-posterous/

Let’s face it, Twitter, while much beloved for its functionality and the relationships and communities that have grown there, has also not built a lot of trust in the stability of platform, its management, or its relationships with 3rd party tools that support the Twitter ecosystem.

PHASE ONE

Many people reacted by taking their content out of Posterous as fast as they could. Basically, they didn’t trust Twitter to take good care of the Posterous service and communities. I was more moderate. I chose to get my content into new spaces, but to do that as duplicating the original content and then adding new content to both the original and new location in tandem. I did this for all the Posterous blogs for which I was the sole author, but did nothing with the shared blogs or those for which I had merely helped folk get started.

Here are some of the tools people were using a year ago to move Posterous content to new locations.

How to Back Up and Migrate Your Posterous Spaces to Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress: http://lifehacker.com/5892776/how-to-back-up-and-migrate-your-posterous-spaces-to-tumblr-blogger-or-wordpress

Cheerio Posterous? http://interactivecultures.org/2012/03/cheerio-posterous/

WordPress: Posterous Importer: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/posterous-importer/

PHASE TWO

While many hoped it wouldn’t happen, it did. Twitter’s Valentine to the world this year was to take away Posterous. Very generous of them.

Posterous will turn off on April 30 (February 15, 2013): http://blog.posterous.com/thanks-from-posterous

Jolly. People were not happy, either.

“On April 30, all mobile applications and Posterous.com will become completely unavailable to users. Basically, Posterous Spaces will disappear from the Web. Businesses like Airbnb, Mailchimp and Tweetdeck will be forced to shift all blog content to a new platform since those Spaces pages will be closed down.”
Twitter will shut down Posterous at the end of April. http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/twitter-shutting-down-posterous/

“What BS – why can’t Twitter keep Posterous sites open?” Jonathan Eisen

“Twitter Destroys Something Really Great” Dustin Stout

“Boooo! Twitter bought Posterous just to kill it. Antitrust! Antitrust! … And that is how you beat the competition. You buy them and kill them.” Mike Elgan

“Must #Twitter kill everything they acquire? #TweetDeck is being slowly drawn and quartered while #Posterous will be summarily executed on April 30.” Bill Perrin

And suddenly it struck me that I had never moved my daughter’s blog for her business. OOPS! Immediately I went to move her blog, and discovered that the old tools for importing to WordPress weren’t working the way they used to. As part of closing down, Posterous had AT LAST created a tool to export your content, and now WordPress wanted you to use that.

WordPress: Import from Posterous: http://en.support.wordpress.com/import/import-from-posterous/

Export from Posterous:

“Here are the steps:
Go to http://posterous.com/#backup.
Click to request a backup of your Space by clicking “Request Backup” next to your Space name.
When your backup is ready, you’ll receive an email.
Return to http://posterous.com/#backup to download a .zip file.”

OK, that doesn’t sound so hard. So I tried the export. Looked good. Said I’d get an email when the export was ready. I checked my email for the message from them every day for ten days. Other friends were trying the same thing. We started all checking with each other to see if anyone had gotten the email saying our export was ready to download. Nope. Nothing. Nada. AARGHH!

Then one of the crew found this.

LifeHacker: JustMigrate Moves Your Posterous Spaces to Tumblr in a Few Clicks: http://lifehacker.com/5985265/justmigrate-moves-your-posterous-spaces-to-tumblr-in-a-few-clicks

Just Migrate, a Posterous to Tumblr export/import tool
JustMigrate: http://justmigrate.com/

Awesome! Except, well, I really wanted the blog to go to WordPress. It looked like I would have to first export my daughter’s Posterous blog to Tumblr, and then import the Tumblog into WordPress.

WordPress: Import from Tumblr in 3 Easy Steps: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/import-from-tumblr-in-3-easy-steps/

Definitely not something I’d ask my daughter to manage, but I could handle it. I didn’t like it, didn’t want to, but … I could do it. If I had to.

PHASE THREE

So what happened? I got lucky. My computer crashed. It doesn’t sound lucky, but, hey, it worked out that way. After the crash I was busily checking all the tabs and windows I’d had open beforehand, to see which ones might have created a problem or if I was done needing them. As part of that process, the Posterous Backup page changed status on all the blogs for which I’d requested export. I still never received the promised email announcing they were ready to download, BUT, upon reloading that page, I discovered that the download option was now available. Lovely! This is what it looks like when it’s ready.

Posterous Backup

They all downloaded as zip files that contained a complete XML import, with files, directories, images, etc. The least active blog had a ZIP filesize of 9K; the longest standing blog was almost half a gig and took an hour to download on a wired connection. The file names looked like this: space-3229880-blogname-5ddaff750f55b309c01139f6add04d45.zip assuming that the numbers are different for each blog. You have to remember that Posterous called their editing and blog management area “Spaces”, then the names sort of make sense.

The bad part was that ONE of the blogs had a zip file sized in bytes. Bytes, not kilobytes, not megabytes, not gigabytes, just bytes. That download file was defective, and I had to request a new backup for that blog. It was one of my oldest blogs, and I knew it had more content than that! When I finally got the new export file it was not a half-gig in size but almost a full gigabyte. Wow! Talking almost two hours download time. Given how long it takes to get the export files, you might want to do this sooner rather than later. Hint, hint. Really.

So I was able to eventually get my daughter’s blog moved. I had to do a lot of tweaking, and finessing, but I think it’s actually better than before. But she hasn’t seen it yet, and I haven’t been able to get a hold of her recently, so I am hoping this is ok. Just to give you the idea (and to PROVE that it worked), here are the before and after pictures.

BEFORE:
Brite Idea Tattoo at Posterous

AFTER:
Brite Idea Tattoo at WordPress

Tadah!

PHASE FOUR: OTHER PLATFORMS, OTHER TOOLS

Remember all the problems I had getting my Posterous export? And that I was nervous about there being no export option to begin with? Turns out “there’s an app for that.”

Posterous Backup (Macintosh app): http://pfapps.com/apps/PosterousBackup.html

While some people are talking about some creative options, the names I’ve heard most are WordPress and Tumblr. Here’s a post from earlier today about why.

RIP Posterous. Here’s 3 Alternatives + Backup Options: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/03/07/rip-posterous-heres-3-alternatives-backup-options/

Last but not least, the folks who originally built Posterous are, shall we say, less than thrilled that it is going POOF. That wasn’t exactly the idea. So they have come up with their own solution. Since they actually are the ones who built Posterous in the first place, they know how to make it super easy to get content in and out.

Posthaven
Posthaven: https://posthaven.com/

In their words:
“Websites come and go.
This one is made to last forever.
Our pledge to you…
We’ll never be acquired.
We’ll always keep your URLs online.
We’ll always keep it the best place to post.”

What is stopping me from going there? It costs money. Only $5 a month, but that still adds up to $60 bucks a year, and I’m having enough trouble paying the bills I already have. If it was a payment plan like Flickr’s, I’d be there in a hop, but it’s just a little pricey for my blood. Also, even though they say your content will persist forever, I’m still worried about what happens if I miss a payment, and I don’t see an explanation of that up front and obvious. I want that crystal clear before I start paying money.

CONCLUSIONS: HOW TO

MOVE FROM POSTEROUS TO WORDPRESS

1. Go to http://posterous.com/#backup.

2. Click to request a backup of your Space by clicking “Request Backup” next to your Space name.

3. Return to http://posterous.com/#backup to download a .zip file. Check daily until the file is available.

4. Create your new blog name and URL in WordPress.

https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/?new=blogname

5. Go to your Dashboard.

6. Along the left side, almost at the bottom, choose TOOLS.

7. Under TOOLS, choose IMPORT.

8. Follow the instructions provided by WordPress.

9. Please note, you will almost certainly need to play with the style, appearance, theme, and so forth. You’ll need to set things up and play with it to get it right. It isn’t as easy as Posterous. But you’ve been blogging for a while now, right? Who knows, you might like WordPress!

Credits: Many of the tools and ideas expressed in this post came through conversations with my colleagues and friends Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew), Chase Masters (@billchaseedu), Matthew Adams (@mtthw_j_dms), and Shawn Sieg (@ssieg).

30 responses to “Moving My Posterous Blog(s)

  1. what about wordpress.com. Do you belive wp .com is agreat thing. Let me tell u 1 thing. They run ads and win money ..you cant. Even if you pay you cant (you can only remove wp adsyou can run ur ads) … you the 1 who is losing hours and days and weeks and months to build the blog. So Blogger is the king: you run ads (and keep all the money, others take 50 % from them like weebly), is 100% free, you dont pay for maping domain like on wp, now blogger is more seo friendly cuz you can add description from the editor after enable them in setings, custom and any thems…. wp .com is crap. ..i dont need category and i can ping my blogger easy in 10 seconds. Wp.org is better vs blogger but is not the best vs other paid hosted things. Wp.org is good if you dont know programing and good only to make a blog not to build sfi things.

  2. Tumblr is a [----] a stone age [----]. Some themes dont know what are the H things and tumblr is a duplicate content thing. Btw…. blog.com the wordpres.com clone is better vs wp.com cuz there you can run ads if you upgrade ( i say again: on wp you can only remove ads by them , you will not be able to run ur ads ). I belive the wp guys are fake [-----], they smile nice but they see only money and respect for users is 0

    • Hi, “Me the Kitten”, most of the folk who read my blog are in education or nonprofits, so I tend to write assuming that audience. For me, I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to sell ad space on my blog, and I have turned down offers of the same. For those who can do so, you are quite right! And I did entirely overlook those aspects of the process. Excellent points to make! I’m sure someone will find those thoughts helpful.

  3. Why 2 go 2 https://posthaven.com/ and pay 5 $ per month and they 2 be able 2 delet my blog when they want and not to start a wp.org or joomla or other paid hosting thing? They will be ur content owners just like wp and blogger owns ur content.

    • I agree. I would like this to be made more clear on the Posthaven site. However, a number of the folk I support with their blogs have very simple computer skills, and are far more comfortable with email than blogging. I love that Posterous and Posthaven offer another option, another choice that makes it easy for them to move into sharing content online. None of these choices are ever one-size-fits-all. Each blogger has to consider the options and find the solution that works best for them – their needs, their audience, their skills, their time and energy, their money. Ultimately, their decision. Thank you for sharing information to help people make those decisions.

  4. Be carefoul! WordPress doesn’t download the images from Posterous and will generate 404 links in your posts from 30th april :(.

    Is much better to upload your zip to http://posterous.obolog.com they migrate the text and the images from your zip to their platform.

    Is totally free.

    More info:

    http://blog.obolog.com/export-posterous-blog-to-obolog-migration-guide-2264900

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/import/import-from-posterous/

    “at present can’t be automatically pulled into the WordPress.com site via the importer”

    • Thanks for this tip! One of the blogs I’d imported was a photo blog, and had no problem, so I was surprised at this until I looked more closely. I checked the importer file, which did include an image directory. However, the images it downloaded are THUMBNAILS, not the full size image. Oh. So, now exploring this important issue. Luckily, for most of the images, I have them also in Flickr, and can change the embed code, but that is still a lot of work.

  5. The only problem I’ve found with both methods I’ve encountered is that the images themselves either stay on wordpress.com or (in the case where you autopublish to Blogger through Posterous) they stay on the Amazon CDN which will be no more shortly. There’s no real way to do this.

    • For most of my posts, I simultaneously co-posted to Flickr, so I have copies that I can plug in when they disappear. I also tried importing to Tumblr with JustMigrate, and that *seems* to have pulled the images along with it. I didn’t see anything in the code to indicate otherwise, but I guess I really won’t know until the 30th.

  6. Yeah, but that still puts you in the same position if one of those services shuts down. Either way you stand to have to walk through HUNDREDS of posts and relink those images. WordPress.com seems to be the only way to really get a decent blog togethre if you are making the move from posterous. Aggravating since Google has the best developers in the world…..

    • You mean you found a way to get the full images linked in WordPress? There used to be a way, but it disappeared after Posterous announced they would provide backup files. Maybe it reappeared? Boy, this may be the messiest blog transitions I’ve ever experienced.

  7. Awful. I discovered that there was NO WAY to go directly from Posterous to Blogger so you have to export from Posterous and import to wordpress.com and then export and import to Blogger. The problem is that a) the posts look like crap when they come in and b) the images are still linked back to the WP.com CDN.

    • Forget wordpress.com and use posterous.obolog.com Is the same service but, in this case, obolog.com migrate automatically your used images to their own platform. Totally free.

      • I took a look at Oblong when you mentioned it before. I found it hard to trust them because even in the English language version of the site, the grammar is so poor that they don’t look like a reputable site. Makes it hard to recommend them.

      • In obolog.com we recently launched the english version. Could be we have to fix some strings but we have 10 years old in spanish:

        You could find blogs as:

        http://www.barcelonaenhd.com/

        http://blog.uvinum.com/

        or http://www.harecoded.com

        Have in mind that we parse the posterous zip and migrate and create the all the required sizes from your master images. mmmm… I’m really proud of our solution :)

      • Obolog may very well be a good solution, but I can’t evaluate it properly because of the language barrier. There is so little time left between now and the Posterous deadline. Such a shame.

    • That’s what I was trying to avoid. I tried importing to Tumblr, and then to WordPress. I think the Tumblr import is grabbing the actual images, and I’m not having any problem with pics that way. Now, it does discard comment threads.

  8. The easiest way to check to to look at the image on it’s own and check the URL. WordPress.com is the only solution that I have found that will import the entire blog kit and kabootle.

    • That’s what I tried to do, but in Safari it didn’t give me the code as straight HTML. Viewed code in Chrome, and yes, Tumblr completely imports the original image. Very nice. :) And many other platforms import from Tumblr, even though Tumblr doesn’t really export.

  9. What I really want to to is use Blogger since Google is one of the most stable companies in the world. WordPress.com is right there but I HATE WordPress.com due to their rigitity and nickle dime ways. Why should they charge me to use my own URL? And they don’t syndicate to anything like Posterous did.

    • Sorry, but I have to laugh. Google is INFAMOUS for starting cool toys, getting folk dependent on them, and then killing them off. The idea of stability is my main argument against depending on Google! That said, I do use a lot of Google tools, I just try to back everything up often. Blogger is fine, I just prefer WordPress interface. No great reasons other than the common standard in my work community. I did love Posterous as a tool for bloggers who don’t want to have to learn the tech behind the system.

      • I LOVED Posterous and there is no replacement IMO. It was hands down the best blogging platform out there. I’m really surprised that Twitter messed this up. I would think that, if promoted right, it would easily kill Tumblr, their perceived competition. Tumblr is absolutely awful. They basically compete with Instagram for most people. It’s really not a very functional platform for people that want to post more than one picture at a time.

    • I have to agree. Posterous was brilliant, and Twitter has a history of making really stupid decisions with regard to API and tools they perceive as competition. Twitter has bought up and killed so many tools I loved, and they have killed other tools I loved by simply shutting down the API. I despise Twitter the corporation, even as I love Twitter the tool. It is kind of like falling in love with someone you really can’t respect, and then wondering why on earth you are doing this to yourself. Except that with Twitter it is about the community, the other people who are there. That’s really why I stay, I think, and the way it integrates with my other tools.

      Tumblr is more complicated. I’ve found with many social media tools that if I don’t like them it is because I haven’t really figured out how they are being used by the folk who do love them. My son LOVES Tumblr, better than any other social media tool. All his friends are there, and extremely active. There is a very powerful sense of community. I don’t really consider it a blogging tool, tho, for myself. I use it, because I need to know how these things work, but I absolutely don’t understand it in the way that my son does.

  10. Tumblr is really a competitor to Instagram. It doesn’t suit my needs. FWIW, I don’t use Instagram either. I want to post galleries, short posts, and videos and I want to do them on the fly and syndicate and back them up in their entirety. In theory Tumblr sounds like it would do the job but, for me, it does now.

    • That sounds about right to me. Tumblr can be MADE to function like a blog, but the reason for doing so is to reach the audience there, not because it is good at it. On the other hand, it has proven itself as a conversation platform (more so than a thought platform).

  11. Sorry, that last sentence should have read “In theory Tumblr sounds like it would do the job but, for me, it does NOT”

    • That’s what I figured you meant. :) I find it hard for myself to really get in sync with Tumblr, at least as a blogging platform, so I sympathize with your position!

  12. It’s rough for sure. When Posterous came out I fell in love with it. It did exactly what I needed perfectly – and for free – which was even better. Post Haven promises the same thing but the confidence is not there. I simply can’t justify paying these guys who indirectly are responsible for this mess. I would really like to take it over to Blogger and hope for the best but it’s hard. I think I’ll have to do a few dummy accounts on WP.com to do that successfully.

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