What to do when Blogger kills FTP access in March 2010

Mar 2, 2010 by     Comments Off on What to do when Blogger kills FTP access in March 2010    Posted under: Blog

This how-to not only gives you some answers on what to do when Blogger.com discontinues FTP support, but offers up some solutions for bloggers on a Blogspot subdomain looking to move to their own domain.

According to an email I received the other day from Blogger.com product manager Rick Klau, Blogger will be discontinuing FTP support as of March 26, 2010.

This is a blow for bloggers who have been using the Blogger platform to publish via FTP on their own domains, rather than subdomains hosted by Blogger.com.

Blogger, which has been around since 1999, claims that “only .5% of its active blogs are published via FTP,” but if you’re one of those bloggers, like I am, it may be the final straw that sends you over to WordPress for good. And with more than 10 million Bloggers (reports have shown Blogger has anywhere between 10 and 50 million users), .5% is still a big chunk of people.

A big chunk of users who, like me, got started blogging with Blogger, enjoy the simplicity of the platform, and have been using it for quite some time (as Blogger has been trying to phase out FTP use the past four or five years).

Why is this a problem for FTP fans?

Many users like the fact that they have direct access to all files directly on their server. FTP also offers familiarity and allows you to easily back up all of your work. FTP also lets bloggers keep long-established site hierarchy … and bloggers moving over to Blogger’s Custom Domain may run into problems when trying to transfer their blog to a subdomain or even a subfolder. That’s not good for sites that are more than just a blog and have used Blogger to create a blog page on a larger business or portfolio website.

So why is Blogger killing FTP publishing?

“The percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that” .5% user base, Klau writes. “On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.”

So what are your options if you’re a Blogger user using FTP or a Blogspot.com subdomain and want to host your blog on your own domain?

The good news for FTP users is Blogger is currently working on a migration tool that’ll allow users to move their FTP’d sites to either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL. The tool is scheduled to be released the week of Feb. 22. Google has also said it will hold a conference call to follow up on any questions users have. That will be an interesting call to sit in on.

What is a Custom Domain anyway?

A custom domain is just that, your own domain, but it has to be hosted by Google’s servers. Google, for those living under a rock, owns Blogger along with a few other things these days.

So if you’re paying for web hosting for the year already, this route stinks, but what are you going to do? Here are the DNS settings and other info if you decide to switch to Google’s servers.

What if you don’t want to switch to Google’s servers and want to keep your blog on your own domain?

You can still keep all of your old files on your server moving forward, you just won’t be able to publish new blog posts via the Blogger platform. So if you plan to continue posting to your blog, and don’t want to go to Google’s servers, it’s probably best to go with another publishing platform such as WordPress. And back up your files now while you’re thinking about it … and before you move your site just in case anything funky happens and you lose posts or images in the process. I lost a few images that I was unable to restore during one of my switches from Blogger to another platform, and I’m still trying to come up alternate images and fix broken links on the site.

Issues like this are why I eventually moved most all of my sites to WordPress, because Blogger’s FTP setup was clunky and creating all sorts of headaches when publishing images and trying to edit old posts. So rather than sit there and watch Blogger time out time and time again, I decided to go with WordPress.

To run the WordPress publishing platform from your own domain, you’ll want to download and install the latest version of WP from WordPress.org.

It’s pretty easy to install and if you’ve been using Blogger’s FTP, you’re probably web savvy enough to install WP on your own site. Many host providers such as GoDaddy offer auto installs from your admin dashboard, so be sure to check for that option if you have any doubts about installing WP yourself.

Good luck with the move!

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