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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Advanced setup: moving from www to www

A number of users have asked about preserving their current URL. We opted not to support this scenario with the Migration Tool because of the risk of breaking file URLs in the process -- but several of you have asked about the best way to do this and I promised a blog post documenting it.

Scenario: You host a blog at www.myblog.com, published via FTP. You host your blog (and only your blog) at this address, and you want to continue to use Blogger to publish to www.myblog.com using Blogger's Custom Domains feature. This walk-through will identify the steps needed to do that. Keep in mind that any files you previously hosted on www.myblog.com -- like uploaded images, PDFs, etc., whether they're www.myblog.com/resume.pdf or www.myblog.com/uploads/images/foo.jpg -- are currently hosted at www.myblog.com too. Note: When you update your domain so that www.myblog.com points to Blogger's servers, any references to those files will break unless you follow these instructions.

1. Create your "missing files" CNAME. This will be a secondary domain you will create that will act as a backup for requests that go to Blogger which result in a 404.  (More on this issue here.) To create the CNAME, pick a name for this backup domain ("files" is a popular choice) and point it at your webhost's IP address. If you have a question about setting up this CNAME, check with your domain registrar and/or webhost. (It's possible, through a tool like CPanel, that your webhost has simplified tools for this step. Check with them.)


Important: pick an image that currently works at www.myblog.com and verify that it also works at files.myblog.com before proceeding. It may take up to a few hours for DNS to propagate; be patient.

2. At Blogger.com, click on "Settings | Publishing" and click on "Switch to: Custom Domain".


Click "Advanced":

and type in your domain ("www.myblog.com").




3. Click "yes" under "Use a Missing Files Host" and type in the URL you picked in step 1.


4. Fill in the word verification, and click "save settings".

5. Now update the CNAME for 'www' at your domain registrar, so that 'www' points to 'ghs.google.com.' (The trailing period is important.)

Once you click "save settings", Blogger will immediately start serving requests it receives for www.myblog.com. There may be a delay of a few hours as your DNS changes propagate. That's it -- by following these steps you will successfully convert your FTP blog into a Blogger Custom Domain blog and keep the same URL you had before.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New process for reporting issues

We've been working to answer questions over the last few weeks, and when the migration tool launched last week, we set up a spreadsheet to take in reports of problems with the tool.

Unfortunately, that's created a bit of a mess. Users were reporting problems with the tool in comments (in some cases on posts that are weeks old), questions were being asked about things not related to the tool in the spreadsheet... and members of the Blogger team who wanted to chip in and help out didn't know where to look for the most recent reports of problems.

Starting this afternoon, we moved all reports of issues from the spreadsheet form to a dedicated issues tracker. We've been evaluating this as a way to improve user support more generally on Blogger, and now seemed a perfect time to test out this approach to see if it helps. So far it seems to be helping, so we'd like to provide a quick update on how we will be supporting this going forward:

  • Effective immediately, I've opened up comments on the FAQ page for general questions. Questions that get asked repeatedly will get bumped up to the FAQ page itself.
  • I'm closing old comment threads and directing general questions to the FAQ and specific problems to the issue tracker.
If you file an issue, you will get notified any time we update the ticket with additional info. If you search the open issues and find one that you're interested in, simply star that issue and you'll receive e-mails each time the issue is updated.

To anyone who filled out the form over the weekend, you can search the issues tracker for your URL and you will find your ticket. Feel free to update the ticket with any additional details. (Note that we may have marked the issue fixed if we determined that things were working properly; if you don't see your ticket, search all issues and not just open issues.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FTP Migration Tool Released

Earlier this evening we released the FTP Migration Tool. We are initially releasing the tool to Blogger in Draft so that we can closely observe the tool’s performance before releasing it to all users at www.blogger.com. If you’d like to give it a try, you may go to Blogger in Draft; if you have one or more FTP blogs in your account, you’ll see this alert:




This screencast walks you through the process:





A few notes about the tool:
  • The final post is in English only; translated versions for non-English blogs will be available next week
  • Once the migration is complete, you can delete the final post from your blog’s dashboard by going to Edit Posts and selecting the post for deletion. It will remain on your FTP blog so that visitors to that blog will know about the new location.
  • Once you migrate your blog to Blogger hosting, you won't be able to return it to FTP publishing
If you encounter any problems during your use of the migration tool, we’re collecting reports of problems here and will continue to reach out directly to help resolve any outstanding issues.

Migration tool update: launching tonight

A more complete post will follow when the tool is available in production later tonight, but we wanted to let you know that we are in the process of pushing the latest Blogger build which contains the FTP Migration Tool. Before we release it, we will do a final sanity test to ensure that everything behaves as it should - and expect to push it first to Draft and a short time later to www.

I did a screencast of the tool to give you an idea of how this will work. This assumes you're moving from an FTP blog to a Custom Domain; we'll do a separate screencast (likely later tonight) showing the same process but moving to a Blogspot URL.