Backing up 123guestbook

I’ve been thinking about backing up 123guestbook. A giant trove of messages to thousands of websites going back to 2005 - it’d be a crime for that to be lost.

They’re moving to a static site on 1 July and of course there’s no guarantees that those static pages will stay up forever. I’ve sent them a message to ask if they’d be willing to share data (potentially stripped of emails and IPs) so it can be preserved and uploaded to the Internet Archive. Waiting for an answer, but at least it seems that for the foreseeable future, the messages will be safe.

In the meantime I’ve been prodding their site to little avail. Whatever JS they’re using is illegible due to “minimised code” - ought to be a law against such perversion. So for now, while I wait, I’m curious: 123guestbook users, is it possible to backup your messages and if so, what format do you get and are the files available without logging in?


Since 123Guestbook does not provide an option for users to export their guestbook’s data, I just archive my old guestbook on 123Guestbook to Internet Archive and

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Someone - and my leaky brain can’t remember who or where I saw it - posted that one thing you can do to save your guestbook is to save the individual pages as html files. That’s what I did but I only had 4 pages of entries.


That’s good to know. So it’d be a matter of downloading the HTML files and running some code to turn them into JSONs or something, if we can’t get the databases.

I might write that code either way, put it online as a way for 123gb users to archive their guestbooks quick and easy - it’d be a nice start.

Should be automatable, 123gb’s code is neat and tidy enough that it should be possible to press a button and output a properly formatted JSON or CSV. I’ve been looking into a way to get all the subdomains but I think it’ll have to be a matter of using a search engine and accumulating the results.

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i copy+pasted all of my 123guestbook entries into a spreadsheet so i could include them in my new guestbook. i knew it was something that could be automated, but in the moment i was more in the mood for a repetitive task than learning something new… :facepalm:

backing up everything (or as much as you can find) is a great idea! both as a service for people who are looking for an easier way to back up their personal guestbooks and for people who are just interested in looking around. i’d love to read old entries! i wonder how much guestbook culture has/hasn’t changed over 20 years… maybe too early to ask, but do you have any idea how’d you’d organize the data?

I made a start with it this morning, I figure JSON will be sufficient - should also be easy to reformat as necessary for importing into other guestbooks. Other option would be a CSV, I could make it so that it could be imported into the PHP guestbook that I offer for download. Or both - once the data’s formatted, it’s easily converted.

123gb’s formatting is a blessing, very orderly. Just download the HTML, grep and replace stuff until I get the bare entries, add them to an array, output as a JSON.

Right now I’ll just aim for a page where anyone can convert their guestbook to a JSON file. After that it’d be just a matter of scraping the subdomains.

oh sorry, my question was a bit vague! based on your original post, i assumed you’d be trying to backup the entire “trove” of guestbooks, with one JSON or CSV file per guestbook. i was trying to ask how those files would be organized, if made available to download. the easiest(?) way to organise them would be to have each file named after the subdomain, so they’d be alphabetical. but, because of my interest in flipping through older guestbooks, i wonder if there is a way to sort them from oldest to newest?

Gotcha. To do that, a million JSONs (or one giant one) would be too slow, so you’d combine them into an SQL database - faster, more economical. Then you could match queries, sort according to whatever criterium you want, export whatever subset you want.

Which sounds like fun so I’m all for it.

Edit: here’s where I’m screwing around (not even close to ready for primetime): 123guestbook downloader | - a delicate blend of bakelite and fear


sweet! that sounds awesome; thanks for doing this!