Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

HIDI: Blogger Vs WordPress (Round 2)

Posted by Lex Fear on August 4, 2007

Blogger V WordPress 2

Soon, I’ll be transferring this blog over to a wordpress account, and giving it a slightly different name, since I need Alex Fear to be a feature of Abandon All Fear rather than a predominant fixture.

As promised, here’s the HIDI (How I Did It) for transferring my other blog Dark Side of the Light from a Blogger ftp server to WordPress ftp server. Please be advised this is a general overview and assumes you already have MySQL installed on your server and are experienced in blogger and Wordpress configuration. If not, take some time going over the WordPress management interface to familiarise yourself, it only took me a couple of hours to explore how it works.

Before I Began

I backed up everything off the server locally just in case anything went wrong. I then edited my .htaccess file to include the line:

Redirect 301 /darksidelight/index.html /errors/301.html

This needs to be on a seperate line (blank line above/below) in the file to work. My 301.html file basically had a short message to say that the blog had been temporarily taken down for maintenance.

1. Switch to blogspot address

The second thing I did (but first for the purpose of this HIDI) was to go into my blog settings and switch to darksidelight.blogspot.com. The name you choose doesn’t really matter but anyone navigating to that domain will be redirected back to your ftp blog later, so it may be worthwhile putting some thought into it. Don’t just using a generic name (which will probably be taken anyway).

Although your blogger account now points at the blogspot address, the static content up to you last post will still remain on the server. Some important points:

  • Do not upgrade your blog template, I have no idea if WordPress will be able to import if you do this.

If you are transferring to a new address on your server or a new server

  • You may want to write a final post with some info and a link to the new blog address
  • There is no need to manually delete the old content on your server, in fact it’s useful if others have linked to previous posts

If you are transferring to the same address on your server

  • You should now delete or rename the directory manually on your server (I have no idea how WordPress reacts if there is already content in the directory but it’s best to assume that it may cause problems)

2. Install your WordPress ftp blog

My actual first move (second for the purpose of this HIDI) was to install wordpress on my server for a new blog at www.abandonallfear.co.uk/dark. Since I was using a different address from my old blog (www.abandonallfear.co.uk/darksidelight) I was able to do this step before I made any changes to my Blogger account (step 1).

After installing I was able to configure my user, template, plug-ins and add pages. The plug-ins were not all easy to configure, some require an API key (obtainable from your WordPress profile) and some require you to actually cut and paste the php code.

When you are happy with the configuration of your wordpress blog, it’s time to import the old blog, but you may find, as I did, that the import feature doesn’t work for blogger. I got this message:

“Howdy! This importer allows you to import posts and comments from your Old Blogger account into your WordPress blog.

Please note that this importer does not work with new Blogger (using your Google account).

Your web server is not properly configured to use this importer. Please enable the CURL extension for PHP and then reload this page.”

Well I googled for information on the CURL extension for PHP and although there is support there, I have to admit that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning how it works or following instructions without knowing what to do… but then, I found a dirty way of doing it…

3. The ‘dirty’ import

Even if you’re importing to a WordPress hosted blog, it won’t allow you to import from a blogger ftp account, so what you need to do is register a new account with WordPress.com and create a new blog on their hosted server. You do not need to configure this in anyway, but it’s probably worthwhile using the same login details for your ftp WordPress blog (which may come in useful if you require an API key).

Now you have your blog hosted on a blogspot domain,

  1. Import the blog into your WordPress hosted blog and set the author to your own profile.
  2. Export to a WordPress WXR file then
  3. Log in to your WordPress ftp blog and import the WXR file and viola!

4. Cleaning up

You may want to check links, rss and archives work. I discovered that all my embedded YouTube videos were gone, after a quick google there seemed to be a number of solutions offered. The first was to use a widget called Viper’s Video Quicktags, but this didn’t work for me. Then I discovered if I went and edited the original posts in the code editor (as opposed to the visual editor), recreated the embedded video link and hit ‘publish’ then the video gets published correctly. This is similar to blogger before they improved it, which would strip videos of their “<embed>” tags.

  • You should now delete your WordPress hosted blog (with all the posts you just imported to the ftp hosted blog).
  • If you used the same address as your blogger account

You obviously shouldn’t change the blogspot domain back to ftp, you may however want to keep the blogspot domain or delete it. It’s probably not worthwhile keeping since it’s a different address from the original but you may have your own reasons.

  • If you used a different address or different server

You have the option of keeping the blogspot domain, but that wouldn’t make sense for the same reasons above so you have the following options:

  • Transfer the blogspot domain back to an ftp account and keep (perhaps you might change your mind and go back to blogger)
  • Delete the blogspot domain but keep all the old static content on your server (useful for links from others)
  • Delete the blogspot and static content from your server (not advised unless you are confident and want to make a clean break)

5. Redirect (skip if you are using the same address)

Now is the time to edit your redirect and point anyone navigating to the old domain/address to the new one. For DSotL I edited as follows:

Redirect 301 /darksidelight/index.html http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk/dark/

This will ensure that all the credentials from your old blog are kept and search engine spiders will follow the redirect to your new blog address. Here is a useful redirect checker from webconfs.com:

Search Engine Friendly Redirect Check

Enter the URL whose Redirect you want to check

If you opted to keep your old blogger account either live or static, then I recommend:

  • Editing the template and replacing the title link “<$BlogURL$>” with the address of your new blog then
  • Edit the description with a line like “Click on the title to be transferred to the new blog”.

This will catch any readers that enter your site via a post rather than the main index. Of course when they click on the title they should automatically be redirected by the 301, but I discovered PHP problems reported in red, so this is another dirty fix. It’s probably down to something missing or wrong in my .htaccess file, which I should look to rectify later.

Fin

That’s it. The whole process took about 5 hours but as mentioned, 2 of those hours were spent familiarising myself with and configuring WordPress, and about 2 hours were spent researching 301 redirect and importing to WordPress.

On the whole I have to say, despite losing my blogger template, I’m happy with the new WordPress CMS and it’s features, I’m looking forward to doing this blog now.

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