A few weeks ago I accidentally deleted my entire Tumblr account. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but fortunately a quick Google search convinced me that other idiots have trodden this path.
Here’s what happened: all I wanted to do was delete one of my four blogs, but somehow the only delete button I could find was related to my entire account. I didn’t pay attention to the wording, so I assumed the big red exclamation mark was reminding me that I wouldn’t be able to undelete my blog.
And poof, up in smoke it went.
Unlike the situation a few years ago when Tumblr was apparently deleting accounts all by itself, they didn’t budge when I asked them to un-delete my account. So I had to solve the issue on my own.
The short of it
The short manual is this:
1. Act quickly. You’re going to use Google’s copy of your old blog, and Google will only be keeping that copy for a few days or a few weeks.
2. Don’t re-create your blog on Tumblr with the exact same blog name until after you’ve recovered all the posts you can find.
3. Store a copy of all the blog’s pages you can find on your computer. Later on, you can manually rebuild both text and images from that copy.
Finding Google’s copy of your posts
Fortunately, most content was stored in Google’s cache. It’s very likely that when you search for your blog’s domain name, such as in my case for a blog called ‘Biesterije’…
…you will get a few results that refer to your old blog. Such as the search result in the image below.
The trick is not to click on the title in the Google search results, but to find the little green ‘down arrow’ at the right of the web address just below the search result’s title.
This will lead you to a copy that Google made of a particular page of your blog (page 7, in the above example). This copy will probably be a few days or a few weeks old.
Storing a copy on your computer
When you’ve nostalgically arrived on this page, save it as a file. That’s fairly easy: right click on a piece of empty space (not on text), and in the dropdown that appears, select “Save as…”.
Select an appropriate place on your computer to store the file, and press Enter. The entire page will be stored as one HTML file plus a folder in which all images and other supporting material are stored.
The HTML file and the folder will have identical names. It’s wise to keep the name that your browser will suggest, i.e. the web address of the page you’re saving.
Making sure it’s all there
Are you sure that you’ve found all posts? Try googling for your blog’s domain name plus “page 2″, and again with “page 3″, etc. Sometimes Google may have stored your page 4 even though it hasn’t stored page 3. Or it may have a copy of page 9 even if you didn’t get results for pages 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
You catch my drift.
If you have more than one of these pages, you may find that “page 1″ was cached at a different time from “page 2″. If like me you have a habit of sometimes removing a post, sometimes editing existing ones, that means these “pages” will not always line up nively. You may find that some posts will appear on multiple cached pages, while others may have fallen through the cracks.
Another way to find everything, or to find individual posts that were never stored as part of a page 1, 2, etc, might be to search for a specific page your-deleted-blog.tumblr.com/archive. This should provide you with a list (with links) of all deleted posts). I didn’t think of this until it was too late.
Rebuilding the blog
Once you’ve established that there is nothing left to recover, go to Tumblr, re-start your blog, and begin adding posts. From the HTML file that you stored, copy the text (hyperlinks will be copied along), and from the folder, insert the photos back in by hand.