Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Looking for a new blog-hosting tool

My blog is currently hosted by Blogger, which is owned by Google. I use their FTP blogging service so that the URL of my blog can be hooked to my SFWRITER.COM domain: sfwriter.com/blog.htm.

But now Google is eliminating that service -- yup, just yanking it, poof, gone. Anybody know of a blogging solution that will let me import my existing entries and put new ones at the same sfwriter.com/blog.htm URL?

Here's the notice from Google:

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. 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.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

    • We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
    • We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
    • Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.


Rick Klau
Blogger Product Manager
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043


At February 02, 2010 6:59 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

And, of course, one of the reason I want to host the blog at the same URL is that the files are on my server, not Google's; I've seen Google commit online genocide before, when it wiped out the entire Google Answers community. I don't trust that they'll preserve my blog for decades to come; I want it somewhere that I control.

At February 02, 2010 7:28 PM , Blogger Ryan McFadden said...

If you have your own server space, then I'd suggest Wordpress. Takes about five minutes to setup (super easy), very powerful, and it can import Bloggers posts.

At February 02, 2010 8:25 PM , Blogger Jeremy said...

Rob-- Jeremy Tolbert here. Ryan's right. A quick conversion to Wordpress is probably what you need. Drop me a line and I can arrange installing it for you if you like.

At February 02, 2010 9:51 PM , Blogger GP said...

I was going to suggest WordPress as well. It can certainly important everything. I'm not sure if it will easily keep blog.htm (WordPress does not use static htm files), but you can at least write a redirect so anybody requesting blog.htm is sent to the proper URL. A WordPress expert might have an easy solution though.

At February 02, 2010 10:05 PM , Blogger wlybrand said...

Wordpress! You will not be disappointed.

At February 02, 2010 11:07 PM , OpenID palmerwriter said...

Wordpress. Definitely. You can't have an htm extension after 'blog', but you can have 'sfwriter.com/blog'. Check and see if your webhost's control panel has a Wordpress installer, as setting it up manually can be a bear without help. Good luck!

At February 02, 2010 11:26 PM , Blogger Allan Mackey said...

I had come out from the shelter of Google Reader to suggest Wordpress (powerful, customizable) but it almost seems redundant. It appears pretty unanimous.

Just make sure there's an announcement for people to update RSS feeds.

At February 03, 2010 1:11 AM , Blogger Dan CaJacob said...

While Wordpress is a good tool for a blog alone, your website ecompasses much more than your blog. If I am not mistaken, you host and develop your additional website content yourself (I read quite a bit of your articles on fiction writing, while stationed in Iraq).

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system which allows you to manage a robust site with many different content types, in addition to native blog support. Essentially, while Drupal would make a good alternative blog platform, it would also make editing the rest of your site as easy as submitting a blog post.

Drupal has been adopted by many large and well-known websites, including most recently, the US White House (www.whitehouse.gov) Dries Buytaert is the original developer of Drupal and his personal blog (http://buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites) lists all of the major adopters of Drupal, including Popular Science and others.

The Drupal community is very large and there will be no shortage of people out there who can help you get started. Professionals exist as well, and a great place to start would be the folks at www.lullabot.com (I have no association with them), who've written a book on Drupal and who produce high-quality videos on all aspects of Drupal.

The bottom line is that with Drupal, you'd be able to tie your whole site together, including the blog and a professional store for your autographed book sales. You can rest assured that Drupal is a continuously maintained, widely-used CMS with unsurpassed security features. The fact that the US government chose to use Drupal (a free, open-source CMS) to host the White House website speaks pretty loudly. Your website's content is unparalleled in SciPhi publishing (and really, all other genres as well). This and your recent success in developing FlashForward into a network television series seems to call out for a polishing of the delivery of your content. I humbly (if not concisely) propose that Drupal is the best choice for you.

I'd be happy to help you get in contact with any parties to help you along the path. Thanks for the wonderful tales.

At February 03, 2010 1:19 AM , Blogger Ian H. said...

Another vote for Wordpress - I've used a couple of different systems (Blogger, MovableType and WP), and WP definitely has the most developed ecosystem.

Also, you should be able to keep your blog.htm if you can use SSI or PHP includes (as long as you have some control over your server).

At February 03, 2010 1:20 AM , Blogger katrinaarcher said...

Definitely Wordpress. Flexible, customizable. I host my own blog using their free software on my own domain. I know at least one well-known SF author who uses their VIP service (paid) to do far more for high traffic sites.

At February 03, 2010 10:50 AM , Blogger Josh said...

In case anyone hasn't mentioned it yet, how about WordPress? ;-)

Seriously, it's not perfect (support is sometimes difficult when you have a problem, because it's entirely forum-based, and I've found that some users with enough knowledge to be helpful are terrible about answering questions in a friendly way), but it's close enough, besides being flexible and free.

And I don't want to make it sound like the support is a big issue -- I've rarely needed any outside help, and I'm not that smart -- I just thought I'd mention the one major con I've encountered since I started using it three years ago.

At February 03, 2010 1:46 PM , Blogger H Don said...

There's even an Android app and an iPhone app so you can interact with your blog.

At February 05, 2010 2:18 PM , Blogger fheywood said...

Rob, I just noticed this post. Ditto on the Wordpress suggestion - the real, bonus being that you can (fairly easily) import all of your current blogger content.

For the record, you could ultimately convert your entire site to WP, complete with custom pages, sections and subsections - with the separate blog as you have now - everything that Dan is suggesting with Drupal, but with a fraction of the headache (trust me... I know.) The advantage to doing this is that you end up with all 7 billion words of the content that comprises sfwriter.com in a flexible, easily customized CMS.

Give me a call and I'll help you out with this. It would be a pleasure.


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