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Backing Up Your Sermons

Two forms of backup are provided: a limited backup of files that is done automatically by the Sermon Publisher as you publish sermons, and a complete, archival backup that is made on command using the Sermon Archiver utility.

The difference between these two is that the Sermon Publisher's backup is intended to protect just the publication process. It only backs up the files that are published on the individual computer being used to publish a sermon. The Sermon Archiver, on the other hand, makes a complete archival copy of everything currently on Sermons Online. It is not automatically run, it must be separately installed and launched. You can download the Sermon Archiver utility from the Downloads page.

Sermon Publisher Backup

The Sermon Publisher automatically makes backup copies of all files it creates. These are stored in the Publisher's "sent" folder.

Files with the extension ".xml" contain sermon index data. Streaming multimedia files are stored in the "multimedia" subdirectory, and file attachments are stored in the "attachments" subdirectory.

When you uninstall the Publisher, you can choose to keep the backed-up files or have them automatically removed.

Sermon Archiver

This command-line utility archives all of your sermons on Sermons Online so you can keep a second backup copy of everything. This differs from the normal backup files that the Sermon Publisher keeps, which include just the files published on that particular computer. This utility makes a complete archival copy of everything currently published.

We recommend that you run this utility from a second computer, NOT the one you normally use to publish sermons. We also recommend that you periodically copy your archived sermons to removable media, and store it off-site.

This utility does not have a graphical user interface. It is meant to be used in an unattended fashion, such as by the Windows Task Scheduler. If you are not familiar with using this kind of tool, please get a local technical support person to help you use it.

Go to the Downloads page to download and install the Sermon Archiver.


  • The first time this utility is run, it can take a very long time (hours, not minutes). All of your files will be downloaded from the web to the local archival computer. Your computer must not go to sleep during this whole time. Make sure that Power Options > Choose when to put the computer to sleep is set to Never. After the initial archival, you can restore the sleep options.
  • Do not use this utility on a slow or variable internet connection. The first archive may have to download a lot of data.
  • Make sure you have plenty of free disk space to hold all your files. You can see how large your sermon multimedia files are by viewing the list of Current Sermons on the Sermons Online Site Manager page.


The utility is run from the command line. Open a command window, change to the directory where the backup utility was installed, and issue the following command:

archive main-account-id sub-account1-id sub-account2-id ...

Up to 9 accounts can be archived in one command. List all the accounts on one line, separated by a space.

Example: Your Sermons Online account ID is "test", and you have a sub-account for Sunday School named "test-ss". To archive both accounts, the command would be:

archive test test-ss

You can run this utility repeatedly to keep your local archive synchronized with Sermons Online. For example, you could run this utility once a week using the Windows Task Scheduler.

What Is Backed Up

A subdirectory will be created for each backed up account and subaccount; the name of the directory will be the name of the account/subaccount. The directory holds three files containing metadata (data about the sermons such as title, author, etc.), plus all of the associated multimedia files and attachment files.

The metadata files are:

  • index.html -- A browsable list of your sermons.
  • index.csv -- A spreadsheet of your sermons.
  • index.json -- A data repository of your sermons.

Each subdirectory is self-contained. For example, you could copy the entire subdirectory to removable media for offsite storage.

The contents of your Sermons Online account will change over time as you publish new sermons and remove old ones. Each time you run the archiver, if there have been changes since the previous time you archived a specified account/subaccount, it will create a new index.json file for that account/subaccount, and save the previous version in a "revisions" subdirectory, adding a version number to the filename.

For example, if you ran the utility three times for your main account, and your sermons changed each time, you would have the following index.json files in the archive for your main account:

  • index.json -- the current version
  • revisions\index-v1.json -- first version, in the "revisions" subdirectory
  • revisions\index-v2.json -- second version, also in the "revisions" subdirectory

The next time you run the archiver and there is a change, the existing index.json file will be versioned as revisions\index-v3.json, and so on.