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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

FAQ page published

Just added an FAQ page to address some of the most common questions.

51 comments:

  1. This is the first I have heard of the shutdown of FTP, and I have to agree with earlier commenters that this is very disappointing - and very out of line with Google's stated goal to allow for users to have as much control as possible over their own data. I have been with Blogger since well before it was bought out by Google and have very much appreciated (and utilized!) the option of having my blog published to my own server. I have also very much appreciated (and utilize!) Blogger's custom domain solution, but there are a number of scenarios (some of which have been outlined already) where FTP is simply a more flexible option - hence my use of both services. Shutting down FTP is a significant reduction of choice and flexibility - and, given that I have only just found out about this and have quite a number of FTP-published blogs, I now find myself with a significant amount of work to do in a very short time. Please reconsider this decision - or at least consider extending the deadline for those of us who have "Powered Blogger" for so many years!

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  2. I can only agree. This is unfortunate and rather sudden.

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  3. I'm going to switch to another service. Probably WordPress.

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  4. I'm also very disappointed. I use blogger for about 6 years and from the very beginning I was exited by the FTP-feature. I installed various blogs for friends and customers and now this will be quite a lot of work done in very short time.

    I'm not shure, if custom-domains are a solution for me. As for now, I don't think so. Felleing very uncomfortable at the moment.

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  5. While I am disappointed that FTP service is shutting down instead of giving us an either/or option, I will have to keep Blogger as a service option for my clients.

    I work with several school districts who utilize the service. It has been a great way for them to keep their district sites up-to-date without having to pay for an expensive service just to run a blog. However, this change from FTP to Blogspot will end up causing us site access problems. We can't use custom domains because school district domains - at least in Pennsylvania (x.k12.pa.us) - are managed by one company that we do not have easy access to.

    Depending on what web filtering service a school district client is using, blogs, for the most part, are blocked by the filters. We can allow access on a case-by-case basis; however, we cannot open up the entire district to Blogspot (due to questionable content). Fine, right? Actually, no. Where are the images and files hosted? We have to unblock that as well. Is it a consistent address that we can unblock one time? Or does it change with every image/file upload? And you cans see where things get complicated ...

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  6. Add me to the list of people disappointed that FTP service is shutting down instead of giving us an either/or option. Not only is the short notice unacceptable - the assumption that everyone is using the tool the same way is short-sighted.

    I've used Blogger as a way for clients to update sections of their sites in a quick and easy way - something that it seems the custom domain solution will not work with.

    Plus now I have the added joy of having to go back through all my previous client's sites, figure out a fix, and let them know about this. To say they will be unhappy is an understatement.

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  7. 1) The announcement email was very well written. Thank you for making your case and just saying "because we want/need to".
    2) This is a serious issue for the 3 active blogs we have on the site. The atom xml file references google/blogger servers. It doesn't appear that any of the substantial data (photos, videos, etc.) that are referenced would download also. While, as you state in the announcement, believe that blogger/google will be around forever, experience indicates it unwise to believe that. It will be nice if it happens, however you aren't willing to swear your life (and give it up if it goes offline). You cannot guarantee it will always be there. Thus the need for archiving (or remotely hosting) the data.
    3) Many countries block google/blogger servers. By hosting on a 3rd party server I can still use the excellent tools, make the information available, and not be blocked (or risk legal difficulties or other battles fighting through proxies, etc. to evade the blocks). It seem that from a "helping the world be more free" and an "information wants to be free" perspective, this is a step backwards.
    4)IF I end up using google/blogger hosting I now have to script a tool like wget to capture all of my data and have it do so regularly. Then I have to VERIFY which is actually the hard part.
    5) If anything happens to blogger/google, my site stays up. Yes, google/blogger have more resources to generally keep my blogs up, but are also a much larger target where I can be collateral damage.
    6) There are more reasons than I have time at the moment to list. I imagine that others will speak out since we are now becoming aware. I was glad when SFTP was added. I do understand architectural changes and I can see how it would be less attractive for blogger/google to support SFTP/FTP. How about opening an API that would actually give access to all of the data (easier said than done based on what info there is of google's file system and world wide data replication). There has to be an answer. I hope that it isn't that there will just be no more support. Say goodbye to Picasa integration. Say goodbye to other convenient features that have made blogger/blogspot/google such a useful tool.

    I have to say that from a freedom of information and users controlling their own data this definitely seems a little evil. I also understand the business case (again, thank you for making it so clearly). .5% of a large number is still a large number. Perhaps there is a 3rd option that will meet the criteria above. The school with domain name issues is just another nail in the coffin. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

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  8. I have several personal blogs. One is resident on my domain's server at http://www.mydomainname.com/blog/blog. Someone else set this up for me to publish on my domain server. I upload images through Fetch, which is Mac's FTP software. I use blogger.com to publish all my blogs. Is this the blog that will be affected? Or...

    I have 2 other blogs. Each has a unique name but both end with blogspot.com. Are they they ones that will be affected?

    I appreciate any help you can provide.

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  9. Footnote to my previous comment. For the 2 blogspot blogs, images are also uploaded via Fetch. Don't know if that makes a difference.

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  10. Really disappointing. Can anyone recommend a decent alternative that offers this service. Guess we need another young Google to come along and undermine the corporates ...

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  11. This is a catastrophe, I have a large number of sites that use FTP and PHP navigation... I will have to rewrite all of them before this ridiculous deadline.

    I am seriously disappointed with Google and will no longer promote the use of their products to my clients. Steve Jobs was right this is BS.

    They should be expanding their services not removing them.

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  12. @Jaemie Sounds like you may be better off installing software that resides with in the k12.pa.us domain to provide easier maintenance. While whitelisting the specific blog URLs (how many in total?) should be relatively straightforward, you're right that the associated images are stored on common URLs that are not unique to the blog (and would therefore be unworkable to set up on a whitelist basis).

    @Santiago We of course commit to running Blogger on an ongoing basis, but you're right, noone should ever need to rely on a third party service without a backup option. By hosting at a custom domain, you retain control over that URL which means you can always point that at a different host without risking "losing" the content. We provide full backup/export capabilities, making it straightforward to migrate if you choose to.

    @Santiago Our GData API support should give you access to the info you want/need.

    @BB Only the first of your three blogs is affected.

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  13. @Rick: would you say it is feasible to construct a script that fetches the blogger data through the GData API and fully recreates the blog at our host? Something like a reverse-FTP-publishing sort of thing?

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  14. I am the Director of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive (www.animationarchive.org) a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization. Under Fair Use provisions for non-profit digital archives, we are required to serve our content from our own server. If we hosted on Blogger's servers, both Blogger and ASIFA would be responsible for any copyright issues. For the past four years, we have used Blogger to publish a high profile blog filled with resources for students and artists. If we are not able to publish to our own server, we will have to abandon everything we've built so far and start all over using another kind of blogging software. I would very much like to speak with someone at Blogger about our situation. I don't think you realize how much this decision may impact non-profit educational groups. Funding for maintaining our level of service is hard enough. Starting all over could be devastating for us.

    I can be reached at sworth@animationarchive.org.

    Thanks
    Stephen Worth
    Director
    ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

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  15. Posting to another server and not within my websites "tree" is doing nothing for SEO of my website. I blog for SEO purposes...for content rich pages. Allowing all my posting work to sit anywhere but with my website on its server is a no deal. Crazy - today I searched high and low for an alternative POST TO FTP blogging application and came up nil...(maybe I should have been searching on Yahoo! Didn't think about that) I wonder who will fill the Post to FTP void now?
    Personally - Word press is still too complicated with all its database MySQL bla bla.

    But again - why post to an xyz domain???

    Jason

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  16. I have a directory with lots of podcasts on my domain, all referenced in my blogger postings.

    Will there be a bulk "search and replace" function for postings - to change urls for my podcasts (I am assuming you wont host them for me). There could already be a function like this I don't know about.

    I don't want to have to manually edit each post for the podcast URL.

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  17. @Matthew Links to podcast enclosures will still work. You may need to use our missing files host option, which I'm going to write about in more detail tomorrow.

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  18. Sorry, this is confusing for me. I have a classroom blog on which I post weekly materials, assignments, videos, images, etc. The address is http://mgmitchell@blogspot.com. Am I affected?

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  19. Choosing Blogger 6 years ago to drive the blog on my site was a long term business mistake on my part. This is a life lesson that you should never use any free SaaS based service to run your web properties even if it is from a company like Google.

    While I certainly understand Google's reasoning behind this, I find it tragic that this decision affects veteran users of Blogger that use the platform using more advanced configurations.

    At the same time I find giving less than two months notice to customers that have used the platform for years, completely unacceptable, and definitely a black mark for Google in my book.

    Blogger is a free service, so we are in no position to complain, but I expect more from Google.

    For my site probably my only option will be to move to Wordpress, which will be no small, seamless task.

    I have enjoyed my years working with Blogger, but am sad to see my relationship with the product end like this.

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  20. I'm disappointed to say the least, but change is the only constant in life. In your EOL blog, do you think you could break down all the options for converting to WordPress or something like that? I need a little more than "here's how you export your data to an XML file". I can figure it out on my own but frankly I kind of feel you guys owe it to us, Rick.

    I hate to leave Blogger as I have been blogging for 8 years with it...

    I must say, Google disappoints me a little more every year. This truly is unfortunate.

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  21. I've linked to it elsewhere, but I want to make sure you can get to it: Google's Data Liberation Front (http://www.dataliberation.org/) has an open source library project called the Google Blog Converters which will take your Blogger export file and convert it to a WordPress import file. From there, importing into WordPress is a snap.

    I'll be writing up a more comprehensive post (probably the beginning of next week) that will outline the various migration options.

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  22. I don't know why big service providers like Google and Blogger think they can provide something for free and not have people get upset when they try to change or take it away? I didn't think there would be as many people upset and pissed off as I am, but just this one post has LOTs of comments, and as we all know that is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The problem is that I have been on the help forums trying to get my blogs NOT flagged as spam a number of times. The only reason I still have them, despite being flagged for about 6 months straight is that I never gave up. I kept verifying that they were mine and not spam blogs! Support and my attempts to communicate with Blogger were fruitless. Your company is pretty much faceless and cold. Still it's hard to knock a free service...! :-)

    Now why is providing FTP such a problem? Maybe you have systems that can't handle it, but for the "small number" of us that use it, I am surprised that good ole FTP is kicking your butts!!! Maybe Blogger can get some help from the Google engineers...?

    Anyway, I would not mind using the Custom Domain, except that I have a number of our blogs as part of our sites. I really don't want to create a new subdomain and put the site on that.

    So, with the problem of the spam blog flagging and now this, I think the best thing for us to do is find another solution that will work as well as Blogger. Please consider extending the deadline for moving the blogs by another 30 days. We have quite a few blogs and this is going to be A LOT OF WORK for us to get them all moved.

    Thanks!

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  23. I'd like to see an FAQ item about custom templates and custom domains.

    I use custom HTML and CSS templates published through FTP on Blogger for both of my sites.

    It's not clear to me yet whether I could use the Blogger Custom Domain option and still keep the templates I have.

    My opinion on all of this echoes Chris. I can't really be mad at a free service changing features according to their business needs. If you rely on a free service rather than host and maintain everything yourself, you're relinquishing a good amount of control and should be prepared to deal with the ramifications of that.

    That being said, figuring out a post-FTP gameplan and executing it for my Blogger sites is going to be huge amount of unanticipated work to complete by March 26. I'm highly displeased with that.

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  24. We need more time. Google needs to extend the deadline by a month or 2.

    I can't believe a billion dollar company can't afford to work with it's most serious clients, most of whom would gladly PAY for this service.

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  25. Very disappointed. I use FTP for 3 different blogs and it will be a big hassle to have to switch. I will now be switching to a better service such as Wordpress or Tumblr. I find it hard to believe Google don't have the resources to cover FTP service. So what if the user base is only 0.5%, it's still an important part of your customer demographic. Disappointed.

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  26. Two questions:

    First, it's been my understanding that Google custom domains do not support the typical www.mysite.com that people have been ingrained to type into their browsers, that custom domains only support the less-understood and much-less used http://mysite.com convention. Is this true?

    Second, what is the migration path for PHP/CSS custom templates? What I'm reading into this is that Google's migration will not support these sites which effectively forces us to either (1) pay for rewriting our sites to live on a custom domain or (2) leave the Blogger publishing platform, even for those of us who would much prefer to stay ON the platform but have our sites hosted elsewhere. Am I reading this right?

    And if the second is true, how will Google ensure that when this happens, we retain page rank?

    I echo concern about the March 26th date, especially given that details on the migration plan are not yet available and won't be for several weeks yet.

    Many thanks, Rick, I realize that this is a hard transition for Google and that you are working VERY hard to make sure we don't just die on our swords. For this, I am grateful ...

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  27. Hello Google. You know me, dontcha? Yeah. I'm the one who posted the now infamous "Google Rolls Over And Plays Dead." Remember that "I Love
    Tsunamis" blog and the broohaha over your TOS? Priceless. You've been good to me over the years, Google and for that I am very grateful. And my blog is on blogspot. So am I okay? As you know, I have archives reaching clear back to December 2004. And I have numerous add-ons that I have put in by myself without your customization option. Are they okay? I hope so. If I need to do anything, are you going to send me a gmail and let me know? Thank you for everything that you do.

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  28. Can I ask a question too? I have produced a number of websites which are populated by content from Blogger.

    Within Blogger I have a fairly simple template that produces quite simple html.

    I then use FTP to get this to the website domain.

    I then use a PHP include to suck that file up and stick it into my websites.

    Now this may not be very sophisticated but it was quite hard for me to figure out how to do that, and it has been quite hard for some of my customers to even learn how to use the blogger interface itself (some dont even understand copy and paste). So, making changes to the way they provide content to their website is very disruptive to them.

    From my perspective I now need to go back to many websites I have built this way and come up with an alternative solution.

    Perhaps my solution is obvious to you, but it is not to me! Can you help?

    Thanks

    Carl

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  29. @ M. Mitchell - No you are not effected.

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  30. @Alanna: That's not the case. Your Blogger Custom Domain can be any URL - including www.yourdomain.com. For your second question: CSS remains supported, but PHP does not. Can you give a sense of what kinds of things you need that you're currently using PHP for? It's quite likely that we have gadgets to do the same stuff, with much less need for tinkering with code.

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  31. Rick - We have several bloggs, like 17 or so and we have a local page that we host links to all of them (http://media.herald-dispatch.com/Blog/). Will we have to get a separate domain for each one? That's costly. What's the best approach for us?

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  32. Thanks, Rick. I have "no idea" what the PHP is used for, honestly, the developer made the choice two years ago and I wasn't savvy enough at the time to question the choice. I DO know that each URL ends in .php, not .html.

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  33. @HDchatter

    You should be able to have as many sub-domains of your domain as you like, without additional cost. If you own the domain herald-dispatch.com, you can setup subdomains with your domain registrar. For example, you could have hdchatter.herald-dispatch.com, or [anything].herald-dispatch.com. Each sub-domain will point at a separate blog on Blogger.

    Hope this helps,
    Noah

    FYI: I'm an engineer on the Blogger team and work with Rick.

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  34. I have FTP blogs that use classic templates. Will these templates migrate to hosted Blogger or do I have to recreate the designs for these blogs? Two in particular were for clients, so the sites cannot look different after the move. That is, I can't use a default/standard template for these sites.

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  35. @ Ruthie In The Sky - If your blog ends in extension ".blogspot.com", then you are not effected.

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  36. @ 200ok - Templates will not change after the migration. You will have full control to customize your template.

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  37. Noah and Rick,
    Wow! My head hurts from reading all this. : )
    I can't find the information I'm looking for anywhere on the help, and I've been here for two hours!
    I manage a non-profit club web site. We have a blog at blogspot. I want to move our blog to our web site for easier exposure for our members. I did the same with our google calendar, and it's working great. Now I find all this. It appears I can do this, then it appears I can't. And I can't tell what the heck I can do and what you're talking about most of the time. Can you make this easier!

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  38. Wow, looks like a firestorm here.

    Darin FTP blogger user since 2003

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  39. @Shameela: I'm not sure from your answer if *classic* templates will work on the hosted solution, or only the newer template system. That is, my blog's in customised classic templates now (like everyone else on FTP, because that's what worked), can I move to hosted right away or do I have to rebuild my design in the new template system first?

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  40. @OKCC - If all you want to do is redirect *.blogspot.com to www.mydomain.com, then it will still work. That's not effected.

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  41. @200ok

    Classic templates work on the hosted solution, so you can migrate as soon as you like without rebuilding/changing your design.

    Thanks,
    Noah (Blogger Engineer)

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  42. @noah: thanks for the info, much appreciated :)

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  43. I wonder if Google are aware - or more to the point actually give a monkeys - how many people this profit-related decision will anger? I note from other pages they have given up answering questions or even trying to appease the disgruntled. This doesn't hold out well for anyone expecting help when the transition "tool" finally appears.

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. Reposting with working links:

    I'd be incredibly grateful for any help that people can offer on my situation. There are a couple of solutions that I'm considering pursuing but none seem straight forward.

    My website is http://www.kiell.com. This is how the homepage works:

    The homepage is index.php. This file is essentially a list of php_includes that brings together other php files that contain the logo and menu across the top, the links to the galleries down the side, and the blog content.

    The blog content is a file called news.php which is called in from here:

    http://www.kiell.com/phlog/news.php

    When I update, I go to blogger.com's dashboard, write some new content, and publish it: Blogger logs in to my server using FTP and overwrites news.php with the updated version.

    Probably not the best way of doing things but I'm far from being a web designer and it works as I need it to. Until now.

    I've installed Wordpress but trying to produce a stripped out file seems impossible. Trying to draw in only specific elements is going to take me a long time to figure out. Here's what I have so far:

    http://www.kiell.com/wordpress/

    Very grateful for any thoughts.

    I've gone through angry and have now gone to straight forward "oh crap what the hell am I going to do with my site". :(

    Many thanks,

    Andy

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  46. Hi all - just noting that the FAQ is updated, addressing a number of recent questions raised on this and other posts.

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  47. How To: I was using Blogger.com to create and format my blog content hosted on a server I control, under my own URL. I used the ftp option that is being discontinued in May. I wanted to move the blog into Wordpress hosted on my own server. But, I couldn't directly move the blog directly into Wordpress because of export file format differences. So I went to Blogger and used the "Export" function to export the blog posts and comments (xml file). I then created a NEW Blogger blog, but this time hosted it on Blogger.com, not my own server. I then imported the blog I had just exported. I now had a Blogger.com created and hosted blog. I then went back to my server, and created a new Wordpress blog (configured but empty of posts at this point). I then used the native Wordpress "Import" function to import the posts and comments directly from the Blogger.com site. Presto! I now host the blog on my server, within Wordpress on my server.

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  48. Can someone tell me if it is better to have a subdomain or just go with blogspot? I chose blogger to be able to ftp the blog to my site. Now that I can't do that, I don't know which option is better. I would switch to wordpress, but my site is .asp and isn't compatible with it. (and I am not technicle enough for other options.) Any help is appreciated!

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  49. @Be In Love Designs: It's a question of what you would like. Do you want people to use a URL that's on your domain? If so, a custom domain gives you that ability. I tend to encourage most people to go the custom domain route: it's *your* domain, if you ever choose to switch hosting platforms you have complete control over where that URL points, and it's more closely associated with you/your brand (if you're a company). That said, if that doesn't matter much, there's no penalty to hosting a blog at blogspot.com.

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  50. not sure if this question has been answered elsewhere, but i couldnt find it...
    will we still be able to incorporate multiple blogs onto one page? this is extremely important to me-- without this function, my website will not work. my favorite thing about blogger has always been its conection with ftp, so i'm extremely disappointed about this change. but if my sites will come through intact, i won't despair too much.
    so can anyone answer this question for me? thank you!

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  51. Note: Comments are closed on this post. Please direct general questions to the FAQ page, and specific problems with the migration tool to the issue tracker. More details about support for the FTP migration are here.

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