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FTP Publishing - September 2008

This month, we continue to see reports of several frequent symptoms, causing much anguish in bloggers who publish their blogs by FTP. The well known
Your publish is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.
ConnectException: Connection timed out.
and a variant of the latter
FTPConnectionClosedException: Connection closed without indication.

But this month, there is hope. Several workarounds for these symptoms have been discovered by various relieved bloggers.

In several cases, bloggers have found use of the domain name, as opposed to the host server IP address, in the blog (Settings - Publishing - ) "FTP Server" setting, to resolve the problem. In one case, the reverse was true - changing from the server name (domain name?) to an IP address provided relief from the problem noted. It's possible that checking with the host server support team, and verifying the correct setting, may provide help here.

If your blog is hosted on a shared hosting service, you'll have to use the domain name rather than an IP address. If you use the IP address of the server, the FTP service on the server will try to publish your blog to the default space in the FTP service. On a shared hosting service, your blog will probably not be the default. You'll either get an explicit "Security Violation" (name / password checked immediately), or "Your publish is taking longer than expected" (name / password checked with data stream).

I suspect that this change is necessitated by a change in the host configuration. GoDaddy, who is one of the hosting services in question, has been making server configuration changes in recent months, and it's possible that other hosting services have been doing the same.

In other cases, the support staff for the host server made changes in the firewalls protecting the host servers, and resolved the problem. In one case, Blogger started using Passive FTP. Passive FTP, identified in FTP logs with the "PASV" command, is easier to configure (and secure) at the client end (ie, Blogger), but is harder to support at the host end. In one case, Network Solutions staff required several weeks of troubleshooting before settling on this configuration change.
If you are currently experiencing either of the noted symptoms, making the mentioned changes may resolve the problem. Trying either change is surely better than simply reporting the problem to Blogger and sitting around waiting for them to resolve the issues on their own, while your blog grows stale.

And in yet other cases, some host firewalls use IP Address filtering, sourced from a list provided by Blogger. Not all Blogger documentation, including the list used for the IP address filter, is 100% up to date.

And of course you should also continue to keep aware of the many general network issues that can also cause problems with FTP Publishing.

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Unknown said…
I have a private server, and I'm seeing that. I thought it was a bandwidth issue with that server's connection. My wife was having troubles just viewing the page earlier this week.

And I'm pretty sure nobody's changed any configuration on my server. This isn't passing my smell test. I'll be keeping an eye out for how my blog reacts, both to me and to Blogger.

And my FTP server has been accepting passive since I started using it.
Nitecruzr said…
Hey ByteHead,

Did you look at the thread by DioBach? He mentioned having a self hosted server too, and his specific problem was an IPTables issue.

The big issue here is that copying files (pushing files) between 2 computers owned and supported by 2 separate people, and instigated by yet a third person, is an incredibly intricate process. And having these two specific monolithic symptoms just doesn't provide enough detail to diagnose the many possible causes for the problems that are being seen.

Your problem may well be another issue altogether. Have you started a thread in the forum GBH: Something Is Broken?
Unknown said…
Heh. I've pushed a few more posts up. Zip zero problems. Nice and fast. I also suspect that the server falls over on occasion. Traceroute has been known to fail reaching the server before, pinging the admin, he claimed the server was still running, and it did start responding soon there after. But that was a work/fail, not a I think I'm working. It seemed like every time I was trying to upload something (a work in progress HTML file), I was having issues, and I forgot about those. I haven't been playing with that file in awhile. :)

It's not self-hosted, it's a friends server with a few sites on it.

So, at this point, I'm thinking that my server and ISP is having issues. I can't complain for free space and bandwidth, but I am thinking that it might be time to go to a paid server. He's already moved my email to another ISP - the same one I have my other domain at, which is funny. He moved to an Apple server and thought that was going to help his email woes (wicked spam on some of his domains I understand), but that suffered a meltdown evidently.

And while, yes, it is a little bit of a problem to do automatic scripted FTPing, it's not exactly that hard either. Under dial-up, I had automatic FTPing of a file with my current IP address to my personal web space. I can't remember having much of a problem with that. And I have automated a bunch of stuff at my old work that involved calling PCs across the state, downloading sales information, uploading other optional files, and then FTPing the resultant files to a mainframe. It would take 5 PCs about 10 hours to do 250 different sites, with automatic callbacks if communication failed for some reason. We just didn't have to do it for 100s of thousands of different servers. 8-|

I guess I could just say screw it, and go with a Blogger hosted site. Then I could actually use some of the nicer toys out there that us FTP users can't have.
Tony said…
This is a great blog. I'm glad I discovered it and I'm keeping it as a bookmark.

I have a satire blog that has over 15k posts and I've been a blogger FTP user for more than 3 years. So I've seen it all. I have noticed blogger FTP problems off and on for years and then again starting Thursday. I've noticed that my blog turns up blank or has on at least 3 different occasions since this post.

It's informative to read the discussion on this topic.

Thanks Chuck for keeping addressing this topic and I will continue to visit this blog as a great resource!!!

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