How to Move From FTP Published Blogger to a Blogger Custom Domain

The backstory is here.

I decided to move Errbear.Com, my music publishing company’s web site, from FTP published Blogger to a Blogger Custom Domain.  Here’s how I did it, and my initial thoughts.  I’ll update this post as the process continues.

After getting encouragement from my friends Rick and Louis, I started out at the Blogger Custom Domain instruction page.

Step 1: Converting to a Blogspot.com address

From the Blogger Dashboard, select Publishing and click on “Switch to blogspot.com.”  You will be sent to a form to pick  blog name.

I picked errbear.blogspot.com, which thankfully was available.  This step was very easy and took about 5 seconds.

Step 2: Configuring Your Custom Domain Settings

Again, from the Blogger Dashboard, select Publishing and click on “Switch to Custom Domain.”  Then, since you already own your domain, click on Advanced Settings.

I want to direct the entire errbear.com address to my Custom Domain-managed blog, so I selected www before errbear.com.  This step was also fast and easy.

Step 3: Make the CName and A Record Changes

This part is done via your domain registrar’s web site.  And things get a little more complicated, but fear not, we’ll walk through it.

First, the CName change.  I use Network Solutions, but the process is very similar everywhere.

From your domain management page, select the domain you want to use for your Custom Domain and then click the button or link to edit the domain’s DNS.  Depending on your registrar, you may need to then click on Advanced Settings (or some similar phrase).

Create a CName Record for your Custom Domain that points to ghs.google.com.  Again, because I want to direct the entire errbear.com address to my Custom Domain-managed blog, so I used www before errbear.com.

Next, the A Records.

I was confused by this passage in the Blogger instructions:

I didn’t know you could point a domain to “each” of four separate IP addresses.  So I did what any good nerd should do and consulted Twitter:

And got a quick answer, that made me (a) like Twitter a little more, and (b) feel a little like a dumbass.

image

So I added the A Record three more times.  Duh.  At the end of the process, I have four A Records each for @ and * (nothing and everything other than www, respectively), one pointing to each of the IP addresses listed above and on the Blogger Custom Domain instruction page.

And immediately, the previous error message took a happier tone.

But all was not well, yet.  When I republished my test post, that I did after moving to errbear.blogspot.com, the post was not there:

image

Don’t panic.  This is normal.  It takes a little while for the DNS changes to make their way across the internet.  A little while later, all was well.

Almost.

Step 4: Getting Rid of the NavBar

There was this horrifying Blogger NavBar at the top of my blog:

image

This is not going to work.  To fix this you have to add

#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

to your style sheet, if you use one, or above the </style> line in your blog template, if you don’t use a style sheet.

More good information about ridding yourself of the NavBar can be found here.

Step 5: Changing Your Template (Optional)

I have been using a custom template for years.  But a lot of the new and promised features at Blogger don’t work well with custom templates, so I thought I’d experiment a little with some new templates.

Important: If you decide to do this, back-up your current template by copying it from your Template>Edit HTML page and pasting it into a text document.  This is as important as not forgetting your parachute when sky-diving.

I put on my parachute and jumped.  From my old template

OldEBM

to the current one.

Immediately, I got the opportunity to make some customizations that were not possible with a custom template.

image

Looks promising.  Having said that, I hate reading a little narrow box of content on a big computer screen.  It’s such a waste of screen space.  Maybe I’ll work on some CSS to fix that.

But first there are a couple of pressing modifications that must be done.  First, I need to add the Yahoo Music Player code, for the embedded music player.  To do so, all you have to do is add this before the </head> tag:

<!– Begin Yahoo Player Header–>
// <!–[CDATA[
javascript” src=”http://mediaplayer.yahoo.com/js”&gt;
// ]]>
<!– End Yahoo Player Header–>

And I need to, once again, get rid of the NavBar, this time by adding this before the line that begins with ]]>:

 #navbar-iframe { display: none !important; }

After this, you can add features and customize your template as you see fit.

Update 1:  I’ve now experimented with Blogger Custom Domains and the newer features enough to confidently report that publishing via Custom Domains is a reasonably powerful platform.  The inclusion of static pages (via the Blogger in Draft beta page) adds the much needed ability to include ancillary pages.  See the index pages I added to Errbear.Com for an example of how to implement static pages.  I also found it reasonably easy to modify the new template, as you will see.  It’s early, but so far I’m pretty impressed.

Conclusion

Overall, this was a pretty easy process.  I don’t know if I the additional Blogger features that weren’t available with a custom template will outweigh the limitations of a canned template, but I can tell you that the process of moving to a Blogger Custom Domain was pretty easy.

I’ll try to address any questions or problems you face in the comments.

15 thoughts on “How to Move From FTP Published Blogger to a Blogger Custom Domain

  1. I need someone to walk me through this.I can read it over and over again & it doesn'tseem to sink in. Is there someone who canguide me through this over the phone?

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I've been trying to get this right for almost a week, and starting from scratch using your guide got me up and running again, although I still need to figure out some paths to images…

  3. I get all the name changing stuff, on both sides of things (the old host and at Blogger), I'm just curious, didn't you have to move all your past data and postings from the old server over to Google? Or does that happen somehow automatically? For my wife's blog I need to be sure all past posts are still there when it comes over to Google.

  4. First, I have posted Part 2 to this series here.http://www.newsome.org/2010/02/more-on-blogger-…As far as the archives go, all of my archives and associated data was automatically moved over and in place in the new Blogspot location. The current blog archive files should also remain on your server (wherever you currently publish to via FTP), but you should back up your blog, either via the Blogger Dashboard or via FTP download, before the move just to be safe.Another thing you can do if you really want to be cautious. Create a new test blog, using FTP publishing. Do some dummy posts, move that blog to Blogspot first, to make sure you understand the process and the results.If you have pages on your current server that are not blog post pages, you will have to add them manually after the move. See the discussions about my “song pages” in the update linked above in this comment.

  5. Less than 30 seconds to change the blog from publishing by FTP to publishing at Blogspot.com. Once you get to Blogspot, all you have to do is change the records at your domain registrar's site. That takes about 20 minutes or so to set up, and then no more than an hour or so (much less in my case) for those changes to take effect.Moving to Blogspot is very, very easy. What registrar do you use for your domain? Let me know and I'll see if I can find the step by step instructions for that site.

  6. This has been super helpful – you're the only one who outlined this for netsol with any clarity. My only remaining questions are: HOW LONG DID THE CHANGES TAKE TO PROPAGATE for you? And was it important that the first step be to enter the domain in Blogger PRIOR TO updating the DNS with netsol? *Many, many thank yous!*

  7. Hey thanks so much. After nearly two decades of messing about with domains, mail servers and network solution, I actually couldn’t figure this one out, this totally saved me.
    -m

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