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Showing posts from March, 2008

Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #3

In my first 2 custom domain case studies, I presented actual custom domains - all setup and working. Neither of those exemplify all custom domain setups though. In my previous post in this series, Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #2, I showed a custom domain setup using the the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard. Not too long ago, one setup that way would be not only asymmetrical but incomplete.

Let's take a look at a fictional example "mydomain.com", setup when the the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard was first provided.

There are 4 URLs to study here.The primary domain "mydomain.com".The "www" alias for the domain "www.mydomain.com".The primary BlogSpot URL "myblog.blogspot.com".The "www" alias for the BlogSpot URL "www.myblog.blogspot.com".

First, let's dig the DNS records for the primary domain "mydomain.com".
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;mydomain.com. IN A

;;…

Publishing To A Custom Domain? Going Back To Blog*Spot Isn't Difficult

If you're currently publishing your blog to a custom domain, because you wanted to use a non-Blog*Spot address with some of the shiny Layouts template features, maybe you're tired of the occasional problems. Maybe you require the automatic redirect from BlogSpot to the custom domain, and the BlogSpot URL is redirecting to a bogus, unwanted warning.

Whatever your motivation, it's not hard to go back to publishing on Blog*Spot.

Just go to your Blogger dashboard, and click on the Settings link for the blog. Then, from the Publishing link under Settings, select "Switch to: • blogspot.com".

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Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #2

The DNS setup shown in my first custom domain case study, "martinezumc.org", isn't typical for all custom domains. That domain, as I showed in my previous post in this series, Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #1, was symmetrical - both "martinezumc.org" and "www.martinezumc.org" were defined with "CNAME" referrals, and I could have published the blog to either of the two URLs.

When you setup a custom domain while using the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard, this isn't going to be the case. In this case, the "www" alias will be defined with a "CNAME", but the primary domain won't be.

Let's take a look at "nitecruzr.net".

There are 4 URLs to study here.The primary domain "nitecruzr.net".The "www" alias for the domain "www.nitecruzr.net".The primary BlogSpot URL "nitecruzr-dot-net.blogspot.com".The "www" alias for the BlogS…

Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - A Caveat

When you work on a custom domain, and the work takes you a few tries while you make one setting, tweak another setting, then republish something, maybe make a change in a post or two, note two issues that may affect your efforts. C a c h e and D N S L a t e n c y.

Besides being dependent upon blog content, examination of custom domain publishing also depends upon DNS content.Both blog content and DNS content are subject to caching.Transmission of DNS content from the DNS Host (generally, but not always, provided by your domain registrar) to your local DNS server (generally, but not always, provided by your ISP) is affected by DNS Latency.

When you're trying to correct a problem with a custom domain setup, if you want predictable results from any change that you make, you're going to have to deal with both issues. Any change you make may not show up immediately, because of caching and / or latency, and with both issues involved in a given problem, there are possibilities of co…

Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #1

Google Custom Domains, that give us the possibility of having a blog with a non-Blog*Spot address, are a major improvement over plain old Blog*Spot to many bloggers. Occasionally though, problems arise, and diagnosing the symptoms, to allow us to focus on the problems, will require some technical ability, and the right tools. And, note the possible effects of cache and DNS latency, any time that you diagnose or examine a custom domain problem.

Here's a baseline study, which will show what you should see as the best possible case. My first custom domain, "martinezumc.org", I was able to setup with 2 "CNAME" referrals. I call this "symmetrically configured".

There are 4 URLs to study here.The primary domain "martinezumc.org".The "www" alias for the domain "www.martinezumc.org".The primary BlogSpot URL "martinezumc.blogspot.com".The "www" alias for the BlogSpot URL "www.martinezumc.blogspot.com"…

Blogger Spacing Issue Acknowleged

When "Beta" Blogger, later known as New Blogger 2006, was first rolled out, there were many new features, and improvements over "Old" Blogger, noted. There was also one feature, that was not seen as an improvement, noted.

When you include any indenting block of text in your blog post,
<blockquote> ... </blockquote>
<ol> ... </ol>
<ul> ... </ul>
for instance, the spacing of the posts, below the indenting block, would change. This makes the entire blog look sloppy.

Several workarounds were identified by various bloggers; not any one was simultaneously clean, effective, and simple, however.

After repeated complaints and reports, Blogger finally acknowledged the problem. Yet, it's still not fixed.

Blogger calls it "Cosmetic". We call it sloppy.

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Your Blog Is Like You - Unique

The title of this blog is "The Real Blogger Status".

This blog contains many posts. The name of this blog is "bloggerstatusforreal", and its URL is now "blogging.nitecruzr.net" (it's also known as "bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com"). There can be only one BlogSpot blog with the name "bloggerstatusforreal", though there can also be "bloggerstatusforreal.com", and "bloggerstatusforreal.net", and each can be separate web sites, if desired. And any blog can have the title of "The Real Blogger Status".

Using The "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" Wizard

The Blogger "Google Custom Domain" product, which gives bloggers a much requested ability to use a non-BlogSpot URL with a Layouts template, was first offered over a year ago, in January, 2007. I've been writing about Custom Domains ever since - the basic procedure of setting one up, and about the problems involved, and even about the many improvements that it's received.

No Trolling Permitted

In another techie forum, far, far from Google Groups: Google Blogger Help, there are a couple sub forums dedicated to providing advice about Computer Networking. Every couple months, somebody will post in thereCan you provide explanation of how Ethernet works, and how was it developed.orWhat are the advantages of using WiFi over Ethernet? Please cite 5 major factors.These questions are easily recognised by the experienced helpers there, and are quickly labeled, as "Homework Central". And there's an unspoken competition among the experienced helpers there, to quickly and imaginatively label such questions, so no newbie forum members might confuse the threads with others containing serious content.

Such threads are not completely unwelcome, when they are occasional, as they provide some relief from the tedium. The experienced helpers will occasionally come up with witty responses - sometimes more questions, sometimes mildly helpful answers.

Homework Central trolling is s…

Always Test Your Changes

Periodically, we see an anxious queryI just got an email from a friendYour blog looks like crap.What do I do now? Help! Oh yes, I think I tweaked the template a couple weeks ago.
So if you made the change to the template "a couple weeks ago", why did you wait until today, to find out from your friend that you have a problem?

Blogger Blogs are easy to work on. As easy as they are to work on, though, they still demand respect, and responsible practices are still relevant.

If you make changes, test your changes using different browsers.

Any time that you make a change to the blog, or even when you post a new article, check out the change, preferably using multiple browsers. When you test, you need to see the blog as your readers may see it - so prepare to logout and login a few times, to view changes then make adjustments.

If you have a second browser or computer, this would be an excellent way to use one - to stay logged in on one browser, and make changes much easier. Or…

Your Blog, Moved Permanently vs Moved Temporarily

If you're lucky, and can afford to have 2 homes, you may occasionally plan an extended stay in the second for while. You may email (or snail mail or maybe Tweet) your friends and familyI'm going to be staying at the cottage (mountain lodge, desert camp, ...) for a while. Send all of my mail there for the next couple months, but keep my current mail address on file.This is different from sending them, and your business acquaintances (and banks, credit card companies, etc) a second noticeI'm moving next month. Please change your address for me.

Republishing Your Blog From FTP (External Hosting)? Edit The Posts, To Move Any Photos To Blogger Servers

If you're in the process of moving a blog, currently hosted externally by FTP publishing, back to BlogSpot, you may take for granted the easy hosting change for the blog itself. The text components of the blog - comments, labels, posts - will simply be transferred back to BlogSpot publishing. The photos and other attachments will be another story.

When you upload photos using the Blogger post editor, you're doing 2 things.Copying the photos to storage on a server - either Blogger (Picasa) hosting, or your external server (FTP publishing).Inserting code into your post, describing where the photos are stored.When you simply republish the blog, which moves the rendered blog code to a different blog host, the photos stay where they are, because the act of republishing doesn't edit the posts.

So, if your photos were hosted on an external server, they stay on the external server, until you edit the posts and move them.

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Google Blogger Help Forums Are Replacing The Blogger Contact Form

Thanks to the tireless efforts of an ever growing community of expert Blogger Volunteer Helpers, the Google Blogger Help forums are becoming a useful source of effective and reliable help, to bloggers worldwide. Google is recognising this trend, and has shifted some of its support resources from answering Blogger Contact Form entries, to answering problem reports in the forums.

And, having added the Google Blogger Help Resources Center, they are also replacing or augmenting the Blogger Help database.

So, if you can't find help for your problem, or answers for your questions, here, in The Real Blogger Status, try the Google Blogger Help Resources Center, and the Google Blogger Help forums. Interactive help, from many knowledgeable volunteers, and Google staff, should prove to be more effective then simply using the Blogger Contact Form.

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You Buy It, You're Stuck With It

When you buy a new automobile in the USA, there's a consumer protection clause in most finance plans.

This protection is called "right of recession". When invoked properly, it gives you, the consumer, the choice of terminating the purchase up to 3 days following your signing on the bottom line.

Many retail stores give you the choice of returning some (not all) items purchased in their store, when accompanied by the right contents and documentation, for full or partial refund of purchase price.

Custom Domains Use 301 Redirect, From BlogSpot

When you setup a Custom Domain, the setup wizard provides encouraging adviceWe won't leave your readers behind!
http://myblog.blogspot.com will redirect to your custom domain.
Blogger accomplishes this bit of trickery, using standard Internet protocol - a 301 Redirect - but it's done in two steps.When you publish your blog, "myblog.blogspot.com", to your custom domain, "mydomain.com", all internal links within the blog are changed, from "myblog.blogspot.com" to "mydomain.com".When the transition period ends 72 hours later, Blogger sets up a standard server based "301 Moved Permanently" for your blog.Note that only the blog internal links are changed - any links which you added, from post to post, are your responsibility. Likewise, all external links are your responsibility.

Blogs Published To A Custom Domain Are Showing A Redirect Alert, To Readers Using The BlogSpot URL

When you setup a Custom Domain, the setup wizard provides encouraging adviceWe won't leave your readers behind!
http://myblog.blogspot.com will redirect to your custom domain.

Blogger accomplishes this bit of trickery, using standard Internet protocol - a 301 Redirect, which equates "mydomain.com" to "myblog.blogspot.com". The redirect is setup only after you setup a "CNAME" referral, pointing "mydomain.com" to "ghs.google.com". This means that anybody viewing "myblog.blogspot.com" gets "mydomain.com", published to a Google server and indexed through "ghs.google.com". And anyone viewing "mydomain.com", intentionally, gets it directly from the Google server, as indexed through "ghs.google.com".

Recently, however, hackers and spammers have started to setup their blog "myspammyblog.blogspot.com", publish that to a custom domain, then redirect the custom domain not to "gh…

Private Blogs Do Not Have NewsFeeds

The ability to view blogs, and web sites, and only view those that have been recently updated, is a useful feature that NewsFeeds provide.

Some people take NewsFeeds for granted, and every so often you see an anxious queryWhy can't my readers use a newsreader to read my blog, when I make the blog private?This is as if newsfeeds are just another content protocol.

Not Publicising Your Blog

Typically, a blog is for you to share - with your friends, or with one special friend. It doesn't have to be though, and sometimes you want nobody else to read it. The most secure blog is one that doesn't exist. Short of that, you can have one where nobody has permissions to read it.

In some cases, you publish a blog to generate a feed. You want people (specific people) to read the feed, but you don't want the world at large to know about the blog. When you do that, there are two settings, in Settings - Basic, which will interest you.Add your blog to our listings? - If you select "No" your blog will not appear in the Blogger home page, Blogger Play, the "Next Blog" link, and similar places, but it will still be available on the Internet.Let search engines find your blog? - If you select "No", everyone can still view your blog but search engines will be instructed not to crawl it.If you want to have a feed, you cannot make the blog private, …

Controlling Caching Of Your Blog

If you have a blog that you update frequently (multiple times / day) with high impact content, you'll be wanting your readers to see your updates, promptly.

Thanks to the caching policies of the readers browser, this may not happen consistently. You may also be concerned with your reader being confused about discrepancies between "yourblog.blogspot.com" and "www.yourblog.blogspot.com" - this too is a caching issue.

bX-yngvd9

Numerous bloggers are reporting this error when setting up their custom domains.
bX-yngvd9

Additional information
blogID: nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn****
host: www.blogger.com
uri: /
When you see this error, maybe some basic troubleshooting demographics would be useful.Where are you located? Country, city, ISP may all be relevant here.Did you use the "Advanced Settings" wizard, or the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard, when setting up your custom domain?What is the BlogSpot, and custom domain, URL that you are using?

>> (Note 3/5 11:30)>: Blogger Employee declares this problem is fixed.We have fixed the custom domain problem that many of you have been having.

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Custom Domains Using 301 Redirect In DNS Setup

When you setup your Google Custom Domain, the instruction for the DNS setup is rather basic.Add one or more "CNAME" records. Point "www.mydomain.com", and / or "mydomain.com", to "ghs.google.com".Unfortunately, not all DNS hosts support "CNAME" referrals to both the domain alias ("www.mydomain.com"), and the primary domain ("mydomain.com").

Most DNS hosts will support CNAME referral for "www.mydomain.com". Less will support CNAME referral for "mydomain.com", and there's a problem. Some people will try other solutions, like Domain or URL Forwarding.

Some DNS hosts, like GoDaddy, will substitute a 301 Redirect for the primary domain, pointing it to the "www"alias.Sign into GoDaddy - either directly (using a bookmark) - or through the Google Apps "Advanced DNS Settings".Go to "Domains >> Details" for your domain.Click on "Total DNS".Under "CNAME…

Blogger Limits: Picture Storage

There is a limit on the amount of picture storage in Blogger / Picasa. The referential Blogger Help: What are the limits on my Blogger account? tells usNumber of Pictures: Up to 1 GB of total storage, shared with Picasa WebthenSize of Pictures: If you are posting pictures through Blogger Mobile there is a limit of 250K per picture.
Picasa is one of the few Google applications which sells a service upgrade, for more storage - and one application which needs to be considered with great care, when you consider the future of any seemingly unused Blogger / GMail / Google account.

And, there's a known problem with Picasa and paid storage, with a clumsy workaround.Users who have paid for additional storage space on Picasa Web Albums may not be able to use their additional storage space from within Blogger.
Google has provided the "Basic storage usage" wizard, to let us proactively monitor our storage use. In some cases, we may need to briefly log out then in of both Google an…

The Custom Domains "Advanced Settings" Wizard

Having more web presence than the plain old "myblog.blogspot.com" has been the dream of many bloggers for a while. Earlier, publishing by FTP to an external server filled that dream, but when New Blogger and Layouts Templates was introduced in 2006, FTP published blogs were excluded from using a Layouts template.

A blog published to a Custom Domain gives us the ability to publish a blog to a URL other than "myblog.blogspot.com", yet have a Layouts template. Note: Here, as elsewhere, "mydomain.com" is an example domain. You substitute the URL of your domain.Start with a properly setup domain. Eithermydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.orblog.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.orwww.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.To publish to "mydomain.com"Get DNS for "mydomain.com" properly setup, on a DNS Host server.Go to Settings - PublishingClick on "Switch to: • Custom Domain".Click on "Switch to advan…