Weblogs.us -> FAQ

Snazzy Weblogs.us logo Frequently Asked Questions

Need help with setting up a domain name for use with your Weblogs.us blog? Checkout the domain name / DNS section below.

Wanting to backup your blog? Checkout the blog backup section.

Description: We receive a lot of emails from people asking us questions about Weblogs.us and this FAQ is an attempt to answer those questions.
Date last updated: 2013.May.25th

Q. Is there some way to register for a new blog?

Not currently, we are focusing on making sure our current bloggers have good service.

Q. When do you plan on accepting new registrations?

There is no definite time table. There are some signficant infrastructure changes that will need to occur before we accept many new public registrations.

Q. Do you host the domain names, or is that my responsibility to transfer that from somewhere?

We host the Weblogs.us domain name and all the subdomains, for example: mtekk.weblogs.us

For other domain names, the individual blogger puchases the domain name from whomever they want (godaddy, dotster, etc.) and then the blogger updates the DNS settings for the blog to work with our service. Likewise, we update the configuration files on our servers. Once everything is complete, the user's Weblogs.us blog is accessible via their own domain name that the individual blogger owns.

To use your own domain name with our service you do not have to transfer a domain to us, you don't have to pay any fees to us, nor do you have to buy a domain name from us.

This is fairly rare, to our knowledge, very few free blog hosting services allow the use of domain names.

Q. Do you have a basic framework for blogging (a skeleton-ish version of Blogger templates I guess) or is that all programmed by individual users?

Not blogger, we use the free open source WordPress.org blogging platform. Years ago we used Movable Type. Yes, we got permission from the Movable Type people.

I have the utmost respect for both the creators of MovableType (and now TypePad) and especially WordPress which is supported by a vibrant and productive community.

There are hundreds of "themes" available for use with WordPress, these themes give your site a unique look and feel (graphic design). You can also create your own themes!

Likewise, there are many "plugins" available for use with WordPress, these plugins perform a myriad of functions ranging from spam protectionn to search engine optimization. You can also create your own plugins :-)

What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

WordPress.org distributes the free open source WordPress blogging software (that we use).

WordPress.com is a free blog host. They actually host blogs. I believe they use a version of WPMU (WordPress Multi User)

Should I just get a blog from WordPress.com?

Probably, they are very good at what they do.

What is the difference between the WordPress.com hosting and Weblogs.us hosting?

WordPress.com provides you with a blog based on WPMU, you can do a lot of stuff with that blog but you are somewhat limited to the options that they provide you with.

Weblogs.us provides you with 5GB+ of storage, FTP access to that storage, a MySQL database, full access to that MySQL database, and a preinstalled version of the latest WordPress.org software. You are also free to install other software like phpMyAdmin, forums software, image gallery applications, etc. The sky is the limit, do what you want. Our rules are fairly simple and relatively liberal.

The drawback to our service is that we aren't accepting lots of new users, so we're not much use to you if you don't already have a blog with us. Sorry.

Are you for real, can this really last?

Yes we are for real, we've been doing for a long time. Yes it can last, we have no plans for stopping anytime soon.

What is up with those commercial links on the bottom of the frontpage?

Those are links to websites that help us pay our bandwidth and hosting costs. When we first started, we bought the servers, the colocation rack space and payed the bandwidth costs all out of our own pcokets. Today, much of the cost is payed by commercial sponsors.

Please note, we are strongly anti-spam (see our TOS) so if you see ANY of our sponsors doing any type of spamming please let us know so we can take approraite action and terminate their sponsorship.

How do I get help?

The best place if via our Weblogs.us forums. For Weblogs.us hosting problems or issues, that is the place to go. We also have a dedicated email address support AT weblogs.us (please do not email us asking for a blog).

If you have a specific problem with a plugin or WordPress software itself, then it may be approriate to ask for help from those respective places. HOWEVER, please do not innundate other places with requests for help that can only be, or should be, handled by Weblogs.us We don't want to add additional support burdens to other organizations.

Is there some other part of your website that explains all of this that I am missing (I have just been to weblogs.us) So many questions! Thank you for any possible help.

Sorry that we are a bit sparse with frontpage information. This FAQ is an attempt to help answer some of your questions.

We are at a rather unique position where we are able to support out current users fairly well. We are hesitant to increase much in size or scope because it may degrade service for our existing users. Basically we are rather happy where we are and there is no big impetus for us to grow. We are not WordPress.com or Facebook, we are simply a volunteer organization that does blog hosting.


Help with Using Domains Names with Weblogs.us

UPDATE! 2013.05.25 Thanks to Kate for submitting a new Domain Name tutorial over here:
http://status.weblogs.us/archives/240!
The older domain setup info below is outdated and is merely for historical purposes:

NOTE! 2011.01.17 The following tutorial is outdated because Everydns.net no longer offers the same free DNS hosting services :-( One of our admins recommends ZoneEdit as a suitable replacement. Please substitue ZoneEdit for EveryDNS in the following instructions...

Description: This tutorial describes using your own domain name with your Weblogs.us blog.
For the examples we use Everydns.net as your DNS server, and yourdomainname.com as the domain. The steps should be applicable for other DNS servers as well.

Date: 2006 June 27 (updated 2008.01.30 and 2009.06.08 to reflect new IP address for Weblogs.us blogs, 2011.01.17 to reflect that zoneedit may be a better free choice than everydns)

Step 1. Change your domain's DNS servers via your registrar

Your registrar is whoever you bought your domain name from (like GoDaddy, eNom, Dotster, etc.)

This helpful forum post describes how to edit your DNS settings at the various registrars.

Follow the steps for your particular registrar and set your domain's DNS servers to:

ns1.everydns.net
ns2.everydns.net
ns3.everydns.net

(note: if you used zoneedit, they will assign you a set of DNS servers to use and they servers may not be sequentially numbered like everydns servers area...)

Step 2. Create your DNS records at Everydns.net

(a) Signup and login to Everydns

(b) Type yourdomainname.com into the Add new domain: (basic) text box, then click the >>(basic) button
(do NOT add anything before yourdomainname.com, do NOT put www.yourdomainname.com or blog.yourdomainname.com)

(c) You should see your domain listed, click the hyperlinked text for yourdomainname.com

(d) Add at least one A record pointing your domain to the correct Weblogs.us IP address:


Fully Qualified Domain Name: yourdomainname.com
Record Type: A
Record Value: 65.38.6.36 (if your blog was created prior to 2008, or you know you are on the "old" server then it will have ".36" as the last portion of the IP address*)
TTL: 7200 (two hours) [default]

-or-

Fully Qualified Domain Name: yourdomainname.com
Record Type: A
Record Value: 65.38.6.40 (if your blog was created in 2009, or we moved your blog to our new server, then it will have ".40" as the last portino of the IP address*)
TTL: 7200 (two hours) [default]

*to find out FOR SURE what the Record Value IP address should be, simply go to a command prompt and run ping yourblog.weblogs.us"(where yourblog is whatever your subdomain is...) you will see something like the following:

C:\ping mtekk.weblogs.us

Pinging mtekk.weblogs.us [65.38.6.40] with 32 bytes of data:
  

So in this example, 65.38.6.40 would be the IP address to use. The "ping" method of checking should ALWAYS give you the correct IP address to enter.

PS A special thanks goes out to pengjianping.com for reminding us to update this FAQ with the new IPs!


This record will make your blog accessible via WWW.yourdomainname.com

Fully Qualified Domain Name: www.yourdomainname.com
Record Type: A
Record Value: 65.38.6.36 [or 65.38.6.40]
TTL: 7200 (two hours) [default]


(f) delete any prexisting records that you did not add yourself (i.e. the EveryDNS parked page)

(g) wait for the changes to propgate throughout the DNS system [may take 2 to 24 hours]

(h) Once a Weblogs.us [status] blog starts showing up when you load your domain name into a web browser, notify a Weblogs.us administrator, via the forum, with the following information:

+Your domain name
+Details of ALL of the A Records that you created (including "Fully Qualified Domain Name" and "Record Value")

(i) Once a Weblogs.us updates our config files, your blog will be accessible via your domain name! Please be patient with us, there thousands of Weblogs.us blogs and only a few of us :-)

PS The EveryDNS FAQ has a lot of additional useful information, especially in the "Primary DNS Related FAQs" section...


Blog Backup FAQ*

*This portion of the FAQ may become outdated, so you're welcome to checkout the nice backup FAQs over at Wordpress.org:

http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Backups
http://codex.wordpress.org/Backing_Up_Your_Database

It is a good idea to backup your blog. This section attempts to give you some tips on how to backup quickly and effectively

To backup your files, simply login to your blog via FTP and download the contents of your FTP directory to your local computer. Then store the downloaded files in a safe place.

Please note that WordPress (and hence your Weblogs.us blog) stores all its user, post, comment, and category information in a database. That means in addition to backing up your WordPress files you also need to backup your database! I recommend utilizing both database backup methods I. Built In and II. Plugin on a regular basis:

I. The Built-In WordPress Export Script

This method is useful if you are wanting to move your blog to another host; the export also serves as a relatively effective backup method for obtaining a single file that contains a backup of all your blog's critical data.

#1 See if the export feature works on your blog:

First try going to http://YOURBLOG.weblogs.us/wp-admin/export.php (or manually navigate to Manage -> Export in your blog's admin interface)
If you are presented with an export screen then click the "download export file" button.

You should then be prompted to download an XML file that contains a complete backup of your posts, comments, custom fields, and categories. This file in in the "WordPress eXtended RSS" or WXR file format.

#2 If you can't get to the export page, upgrading WordPress may help

If you get a 404 error, or wordpress says it can't find the page, and the export page doesn't load then you can head on over to http://wordpress.org and download the latest version of WordPress.

The upgraded WordPress package should include export functionality. Once you upgrade, go back and repeat step #1.

II. The Plugin Route

If for some reason you don't have the latest version of WordPress and you don't want to upgrade, try this database export plugin:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/

Once you install and activate the plugin, login to your blog and navigate to Manage -> Backup screen. Once there you can backup your blog.*

*Be aware that comment spam can cause your wp_comments table to be very large which may cause your backup to hang. If that is the case, you may need to use phpMyAdmin to delete some of the comment spam in your database.

III. The phyMyAdmin Route

There are many tutorials on backing up WordPress databases with phpMyAdmin. Also, checkout this thread in our forums for additional tips on installing phpMyAdmin.

If you have trouble with any of these backup methods, please feel free to post in our support forums. Thanks!


 

Best Regards,
-The Weblogs.us Admin Team

 

PS These sites help us with our hosting and bandwidth costs. Thanks guys!