Lost my URL

May 17th, 2010

As you can see, the new Blogger system causes anyone who wants to visit www.gregholden.com to blog.gregholden.com. I’m not thrilled about this and will eventually move to WordPress.

Years ago, I set up this blog so that it would publish to my Web site using FTP. And not only that, but I set everything up so my blog would be my home page. Blogger, in its wisdom, ended support for FTP publishing on May 1 Thanks to the tech support people at Speakeasy, I was able to preserve my URL and my home page and keep my site, even though the home page/blog is now published on Google’s servers. How did they/we do it? It wasn’t easy. Here is my best understanding of the process:

1. Back up your blog as Google suggests.

2. Create a CNAME record called “files” that will enable your links to be found if someone encounters a 404 error. This effectively creates the domain files.gregholden.com. It points to www.gregholden.com.

So far, all of this corresponds to what Google tells you to do. Here are the extra steps we followed, and that I haven’t seen written anywhere in the Migration instructions:

3. Create a second CNAME called blog. This creates the domain blog.gregholden.com. Point it at ghs.google.com. This is Google’s hosting infrastructure for blogs–where your blog will be published.

4. Add a redirect line to the HTML for the home page that redirects all visitors to http://blog.gregholden.com. Keep the time set at 0. This takes anyone wanting to go to my home page to the blog page, which is now on Google’s site.

5. Go into the Blogger Dashboard and click the link for Custom Domain.

6. In the Publishing page in Settings, change the URL for the blog to blog.gregholden.com (or your domain name). Do NOT check the box underneath this that asks if you want to redirect people to blog.yoursite.com. You did that in step4.

7. Save your changes.

If your blog is part of a full-fledged Web site and you have lots of files and images up there othe than your blog, do not go to your domain registrar and change www to point to ghs.google.com. This will make your site unreachable (except, I guess, for the blog itself). Google tells you to do as much in their documentation.

Wait a couple of hours for the CNAME records to be posted. These steps publish my home page on Google’s site, but all other files remain on my Web site, and I can change them with FTP as I have in the past. This took a while to figure out, but it’s easier than moving to WordPress…for now. I hope others find this useful.