The monkey returneth

So as is blatantly obvious, I am back. Feels a little strange to be blogging again after so many months but at the same time quite nice, like slipping back into a favourite pair of comfortable trousers. Also plainly obvious is that there have been a few changes and there are yet more to come…

Having been with UK2 as my web host for many years I finally looked around to see what else was out there. This was partly driven by the desire to see if I could get things a little cheaper but mostly because the cancelation of the FTP service at Blogger left it quite hard for me to keep blogging as I had been. Looking around I found that Unlimited Web Hosting had some cracking reviews at the Review Centre and a great price to boot – £2.75 (+VAT) per month with no contract or extra costs. Better than that, they offered one-click installs of WordPress through Plesk. So I bit the bullet and initiated the transfer.

Went quite smoothly to be honest. Signing up was a doddle. Unlimited support very efficient – responding to my one query in less than 15 minutes! Updating the Nameservers to point to the new host easy and quick enough. Installing WordPress was very simple (though I did find a video tutorial just to make sure I was choosing the right settings) but even getting it wrong was no problem as I could just remove WordPress (or even my whole site) and start afresh. I was even amazed that transfering the actual domain management from UK2 was easy and incured no extra costs or hassle!

Then things got a little trickier. I’d exported BlogMonkey out of Blogger into an XML file just to be safe. Getting it into WordPress seemed straight forward enough on the surface. First I tried the Blogger import plugin for wordPress. That was supposed to login to your Blogger account and automagically transfer all posts. Except in my case (and for may others according to my research) all it did was transfer my 32 draft posts.

So next I tried Blogger2Wordpress. Should have been a doddle but I’m guessing the 7MB exported XML file I was trying to convert was too big for it – kept just giving an error. I tried manually editing the XML file to split it but the formatting and size of the file made that impossible. I downloaded the Python scripts that power Blogger2Wordpress and tried running them locally but my knowledge of Python soon meant I hit a dead end.

In the end I went for a less technical approach. I had a second Blogger blog already set up so I simply imported the BlogMonkey XML file into it to give me a duplicate blog (I hopefully tried the WordPress imported again but same outcome). I then made sure the imported posts were published, deleted around 50% of them, exported what was left and ran it through Blogger2Wordpress. Which worked! Guess under 5MB is small enough for a file to work. Repeat the process but this time deleting the other 50%. I was then able to import the two WXR files into WordPress using another plugin. And that’s where you find me now.

Currently I’m trying to add categories to all my posts – a task which may take many weeks and although not strictly essential, will be nice to get done. I’m tweaking the WordPress settings, adding new links and blogroll, trying to manually fix all embeded YouTube videos which broke on import and a few other things. And then I just have the small task of learning a bit of PHP so I can change the look of the place! Content first though, then design.

This could take a while so stay tuned. More updates when I can.

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