How To Back Up Your Patreon Posts And Photos To Multiple Formats Automatically (Using Linux) In December 2023

Patreon Creators — I have good news and bad news for you.

The Good News: You Can Back Up Your Posts

The good news: You can back up your Patreon posts and then — with a bit of scripting and some linux software tools {1} — get them, along with images in the proper places, as word processing documents or standalone web pages.

There is — as far as I can tell — no built-in way to export your data from Patreon. I asked a year ago, and they told me "Nope, but that’s a great idea." While other changes have occurred with Patreon in the last year, there’s still no internal way to export what you’ve written on the site/app — and if anything, Patreon seems rather set on making sure it’s that way.

There are some third-party WordPress plugins I’ve heard of (and not tested), but if you’re not using WordPress, you’re SOL. There are extensions and tools to download individual images and such from posts, but that’s not going to help if you need a backup of what you’ve created on the site.

Given the principle of "What you don’t own can ban (or get rid of) you with no notice," it is desirable to have a copy of your Patreon posts if you want to use them for anything else, or simply have a backup.

Using the tools (Linux instructions)

So here’s how we do it.

First, it requires a cross-platform tool called PatreonDownloader. Download the release and unpack it to a directory of your choosing and change into that directory. If needed (for linux) make PatreonDownloader.App executable by typing chmod +x ./PatreonDownloader.App.

Using the tool is pretty straightforward:

./PatreonDownloader.App --url --descriptions --embeds --download-directory /path/to/save/location --use-sub-directories

It will open a browser window automatically for you (chromium — a fork of Chrome without Google), warn that the browser is being operated by an automated tool, and have you log into Patreon. You can only access creator posts that you normally can reach when logged into Patreon. And then the tool will work for a while in a terminal window. This… may take a while, depending on how many posts you have.

PatreonDownloader will not download externally hosted images (e.g. on imgur) or videos (e.g. on YouTube or Vimeo). The --embeds flag will create text files in the appropriate directories with the information about those externally hosted embeds.

Each post will be in its own subdirectory, and there will be a description.html file with the body of the text. And while the images have been downloaded, the links in description.html still point to an online source. It’s all there… but not very easily usable.

Our friends sed, awk, detox, and pandoc are here to help (sed and awk should already be on your Linux system; pandoc and detox are probably available in your package manager as well). (I also use unzip at one point as well.)

I wrote a BASH script using all of those tools to go through, smarten the quotation marks (to avoid escaping errors) and producing the following:

  • The document, renamed with the title of the post (and the title and date posted at the top of the doc), in markdown
  • The document, renamed with the title of the post (and the title and date posted at the top of the doc), with images embedded in ODT (OpenDocument format)
  • The document, renamed with the title of the post (and the title and date posted at the top of the doc), with images embedded in DOCX (MS-Word format)
  • The document, renamed with the title of the post (and the title and date in the metadata of the format), in epub format
  • The document, renamed with the title of the post, in HTML format with links to images pointing to ./media and the image files all located in that subdirectory.

The script (MIT license) is available from GitHub, GitLab, or my own repo.

The usage is pretty simple: /path/to/save/location

If you do not specify a path, it will start at the current directory and recurse downward.

If you want to have it all as a single file, I recommend taking all of the resulting epub files — assuming their titles are different — and combining them using the EpubMerge plugin for Calibre. While pandoc is able to take multiple files and combine them into one large ebook, if there are a lot of files and images getting pulled in, you may end up with your CPU and RAM at 100%. (Ask me how I know.) However, once Calibre combines them all into a single big epub file, you can use pandoc MyBig.epub -f epub -t docx -o MyBig.docx, for example, to make it into one big Word document.

There you have it. A genuine backup of (at least) your words and images that you’ve posted on Patreon.

The Bad News: (Sort Of)

If you were paying attention, you already know the bad news.

PatreonDownloader allows the user to use the tool with any post the user can normally see when logged into Patreon. For example, when putting this together, I was doing so on behalf of M. Sotherden (who makes glass art and often writes about her life) who wanted to have a backup of her writing. I did not need their login credentials, I just had to subscribe to their Patreon.

So, at least theoretically, any patron could download every post of any creator they support.

Should I Worry?

Is that actually something to worry about?

From what I’ve observed of Patreon — which admittedly isn’t much — it seems like most of the patrons really are there to support artistic and creative endeavors, not to "get the most bang for their buck". There are going to be scammers who try to rip off someone else’s work — not a large percentage, but with automation and the size of the internet, a small percentage can have a big impact.

If a Creator is worried about it, they can set their posts to only be visible for a period of time, so their most recent Patron will not have automatic access to their entire back catalog. I’m sure that once this gets realized, there will be a vocal few with their trousers all in a twist worrying about AI or plagarists or pirates or youths, and frantically changing the settings on their Patreon. {2} They will hit their socials, pearls firmly clutched. Again, not a large percentage of Creators, but a vocal one. They may even do something so stupid as to try to lash out at PatreonDownloader.


Because ultimately, this is the same issue as DRM, except a lot more personal. DRM — or restricting how far back Patrons can look — inherently says "I don’t trust you with what I made."

And Patreon is explicitly about trust and people wanting to support artists and creators rather than thinking they’re "pre-ordering" something with their pledge {3}. Patrons can — and frequently do — support artists and creators at financial levels well over the "cost" of any tangible gain they receive.

So to those creators who are thinking about doing something stupid, take a moment to reflect on that.

Your Patrons are not paying you for a product or a service. They may get something out of supporting you — something to read every week or month, a postcard, whatever — but that is not why they are your patrons.

They are not there to snag merch or take all your stuff.

They are your patrons because they are supporting you.

Further Work And Promoting Creators

If you are a Windows or Mac (or BSD, hi MWL) person who can tweak this for those operating systems (particularly the BASH script), please let me know so I can link to it here as well. There are some guides for the PatreonDownloader portion in this Reddit thread:

And if you have a Patreon that you support, leave a comment wherever you see this telling us why you support that creator and where we can find them. (If you have a Patreon, feel free to leave yours, but then leave a second, separate comment sharing another creator, please.)

I’ll start with one: As previously mentioned, I started this project on behalf of M. Sotherden, who is a fascinating writer and makes some exquisite glass art. You can find their Patreon at, and can read some samples of their work over at

{1} It is possible to get pretty much all of these tools on Windows and Macs, but that’s beyond the scope of what I’m describing here, and I don’t have either handy to test this on. If you write that guide, please let me know so I can link to it here. Particularly the bits for using the BASH script.
{2} That is legitimately why this is going live after Christmas Day and before New Year’s.
{3} We know what service I’m talking about.

Featured Image by tookapic from Pixabay