Over fifteen years ago I coined my own rule #0 of the internet: you have to constantly back it up!
As time goes by I feel it’s even more relevant nowadays than before. Internet is not a truly safe place for any kind of content. What you read a few years ago, may not necessarily be available or searchable today. (That’s also why bookmarks aren’t good enough in the long term.) There are various reasons for vanishing content, some are possibly justified, many are not, and bunch of them can be explained by content creator missing/breaking/not caring about stuff when converting/changing between platforms/blogs/websites they provide their content on. But it’s not a story about vanishing stuff. It’s a story about preserving stuff from internet on your own, so you can go read/listen/watch it off-line, even if it’s no longer present on internet.
I’m not talking about backing up whole internet, as it’s not feasible for any mere mortal (and even for great majority of companies with beefy equipment and net links, I believe), but only about parts of it, usually very specific parts you are personally interested in for some reason (or you think you may be interested in future).
Paradoxically I think I was often better at backing up stuff way back then. In the modem dial-up times using software for mirroring whole sites (Teleport Pro was one of the examples, there were more of them, but I cannot remember them now) was often the most effective way to grab useful content in as small time as possible. Usually you grabbed a bit more that you really wanted, but could browse it freely later, without the clock ticking and growing bills.
Nowadays I rarely back up text content, which I regret sometimes when I no longer cannot find later what I was reading earlier (to refresh my memory). And when I do back up text content, I usually go with on-line services like archive.is or Wayback Machine, and they aren’t guaranteed to last forever either, so I’m not sure it even really counts here as backup.
Most often I tend to locally back up stuff, which is apparently safe, or it looks like so, as there is possibly no good reason for it vanishing any time soon. But well, you never know. The mentioned stuff is recordings/slides from presentations on some conferences. I don’t always have good internet in my mobile phone, so I can load it with some of downloaded talks (which I have much more than I’ll possibly ever watch), so I can kill time while commuting or whatever, and making killing time more like informative time.
I already gave an example in the past here: downloading videos from slcon 2016.
So what I back up? I back up some YT channels for instance:
I back up them with youtube-dl using following settings:
youtube-dl \ -f "bestvideo[ext=mp4]+bestaudio[ext=m4a]/best[ext=mp4]/best" --restrict-filenames \ -w -o "%(upload_date)s-%(id)s-%(uploader)s-%(title)s.%(ext)s" \ --download-archive DOWNLOADED
and keep videos from different channels in their own directories. I deliberately choose MP4 so hardware acceleration can be used in my mobile phone and battery is less drained.
What do you back up?