Have you ever had your widgets disappear and have to recreate them again? Here is at least one explanation of why this happens and how to avoid it.
WordPress widgets extend the functionality of your site immensely and are an integral part of your WordPress platform. They are found in the Appearance menu, but are also closely related to Plugins. One day you may be playing around, and the widgets disappear. Have you been switching out different themes? One thing that is not readily apparent is that widgets are attached to a particular theme. Each theme has different widgets set up. Some have Sidebar 1, Sidebar 2, Front page widgets, bottom widgets, etc. They are customized for every theme, so they cannot be standardized across the WordPress platform. Thus, as you switch themes, the widgets will drop out.
Hopefully, you will find that they have ended up in the Inactive Widgets area. Then all you have to do is drag them back to your final theme. However, if they are not there, you will have to re-enter them all in again!
But to avoid losing any content, the best thing to do before you switch themes is to drag them into the inactive area yourself and also copy and paste all the content and other programming information into a text document and save a set that way as well.
NOTE: As of WordPress version 3.3.1, the widgets have been improved to remember the widget locations when switching themes. According to wordpress:
Changing themes often requires widget re-configuration based on the number and position of sidebars. Now if you change back to a previous theme, the widgets will automatically go back to how you had them arranged in that theme. Note: if you’ve added new widgets since the switch, you’ll need to rescue them from the Inactive Widgets area.