Google is shutting down FTP support for its Blogger Blog service from 1 May 2010. But the alternative service appears to have some problems. The idea is that instead of my blog residing on my own web server at http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/ my postings would be on Google's server and accessible via http://blog.tomw.net.au.
Back in March I was having difficulty with the transfer to their new service. It seems I was not the only one and Google set up a new support service specifically to handle the transfer.
The Google support were able to help me with some of the problems, but not all. I was able to set up a sub-domain for the Blog, but not work out how to associate it with Google's site ("associate" is the DNS magic which then makes what is on Google's web server appear to be on mine ).
Google provided detailed instructions for a range of systems on how to make the changes. Unfortunately I could not find out how to do the association with my system. Also most of the Google instructions were about how to associate my whole web site with Google. If I did that my entire web site would disappear and be replaced with just my blog. The Google instructions had one step about the association and then another, with a note to say not to do the second step for sub domains. But it did not say what to do instead for a sub domain. After much head scratching over several weeks, I guessed that I did not have to do anything instead of the second step. Even so I was worried as one wring step and my entire web site would disappear.
After asking Google and searching around, I realised that I could not actually do the association myself and had to ask my web hosting provider. That only took a few hours for them to do.
I then activated the transfer process. This first offered me a backup of my blog (which I took), then set up the new location and lastly added redirections at the old location. The process went reasonably smoothly. However, each time I stopped and went back to check I had entered the correct new address for the blog, the screen reset to default settings and I had to reenter the sub domain. Crossing my fingers I finally confirmed the conversion. This then went smoothly over a few minutes: the blog was at the new location, my web site was still there are the redirections were at the old location.
However, the next day I find that the new sub domain is not working reliably. I get '"blog.tomw.net.au" could not be found.' most of the time. The postings are still at the old location, but after 30 seconds these are redirected to the new location where they are not found. Of course if you are reading this via the new blog address, then it must have been fixed.