Blogger Unofficial FAQ blog

The blog formerly known as Blogger archive/template troubles, featuring
fixes for problems with Blogger's archives, templates, and more

Archives - Default archive template

Even though there is a link at the bottom of your archive template page claiming to lead to the "default archive template", there is no such thing (thus the 404 error when you click the link). There are two styles of archive links: a separate archive index page (you click a link in your main page, and a separate page opens with links to your archive files), or links included in the main page with javascript. For a separate archive index page, your archive template needs to contain the html for an entire page, while for included links it will only contain the code to create the links.

Separate archive index page

Link to your archives in your main template:

<a href="<$BlogArchiveFileName$>">Archives</a>

Then, to create your archive template, copy your main template, paste it into your archive template (replacing anything that is there now), and replace the <Blogger> to </Blogger> section with:

<a href="<$BlogArchiveLink$>"><$BlogArchiveName$></a><br>

Links included in main page

In your main page, where you want the links to appear:

<script type="text/javascript" src="<$BlogArchiveFileName$>"></script>

In your archive template, delete every single character that is there now, and include only:

document.write("<a href='<$BlogArchiveLink$>'><$BlogArchiveName$></a><br>");
if (location.href.indexOf("archive") != -1) {
document.write("<a href='<$BlogURL$>'>current</a>")

In either case, if your blog is not on Blog*Spot, and if your archives are not in the same directory as your main page, you will need to include a path in front of <$BlogArchiveFileName$> in your main template, and for included links, in front of <$BlogArchiveLink$> in your archive template. The path can be either an absolute path (starting with or a server-rooted path (starting with a / and listing all the directories from the server's root directory, e.g. /philringnalda/blog/archives/<$BlogArchiveFileName$>), but it has to work in both your main directory and your archive directory.

General - Number of posts on the main page

There are two confusing things about the number of posts that appear on your blog's main page. The first is the relationship between archive frequency and the posts on your main page: there is none. Whether you have your archives set to weekly, monthly, or none, the number of posts on the main page is controlled by a separate setting. To change it, from the page where you post to your blog, click the "Settings" button on the top toolbar, then look at the "Formatting" section. If you haven't changed it yet, the first setting will say "Show 7 days' posts on main page". You can change the number, and whether to show that many posts, or that many days' posts. Here's the second confusing thing: days' posts doesn't refer to a number of days, it refers to a number of days on which you posted. If you only post on Mondays, then "Show 7 days' posts" will show posts from the last seven Mondays, or seven weeks worth of posts. "Show 7 days' posts" only shows a week of posts if you post every day. Once you set what you want to show, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "save changes", and when you return to the posting page, click "publish" to have your new settings take effect.

General - Fixing bad posts

When you make an error in the html in a post (usually by forgetting either the closing quote or the </a>), it can disable the [edit] link in the Blogger editing window, preventing you from fixing the post. To fix it, click the "enter safe mode" link on the left side of the center black bar (just inside "view web page") to stop Blogger from interpreting the html in your posts in the lower window. That will let the [edit] link work again. Once you have fixed the post, click "Post & Publish", and then "turn off safe mode" to get back to normal.

General - Troubleshooting 104 errors

First, make sure that it's just you: if you check the "recently updated" on the main Blogger page and see that there isn't anything new (translating to Pacific (Standard|Daylight) Time), then when you check Discuss you'll probably find that it is something happening to everybody, and all you can do is wait for it to be fixed.

If it's not happening to everyone, and you know what you did just before it stopped working, that's the place to start.

If you were just posting, look at your page, and see what the last post to successfully publish was. Then, take a close look at the first post to not publish: it probably has some special charaters, or invisible control characters, which are causing Blogger to choke. Click the edit link at the end of the post, and then copy and paste the post into Notepad, to see if there is anything that ends up displaying as a square box, rather than a character. If you can't see anything, try just replacing the post with a placeholder (I favor the word "Placeholder"), and try to publish.

If you were editing your archive template, you probably did something to cause Blogger to think that it no longer includes <Blogger> and </Blogger>. They both have to be in there, with a capital B and everything else lowercase, and you can't have any unclosed tags or tags that are missing quotes, or Blogger will miss seeing one or the other.

If you were editing your main template, and your error is 104 StringIndexOutOfBounds, take a close look at the tags between <Blogger> and </Blogger>, looking for missing end tags or missing quotes.

If your error came from a post, but it has been long enough that the post has fallen off your main page, so that the main page publishes, but republishing your archives gives a 104 error, try this: change your archive frequency to monthly, so you don't have too many to republish, and then republish each archive one by one (click the little recycling icon in the "republish" column, rather than "republish all"). Once you track down which month (or months) won't publish, change your frequency to weekly, and republish each week in the month(s) that don't publish. Then, once you know which week has a problem post, you can look at them one by one until you find the post with the problem characters.

If none of those seem to fit, and you are getting desperate, I'd like to see whether it's a form of 104 that I haven't seen before. If you are brave enough to trust a stranger, send me an invitation to join your blog at (send an invitation by clicking "Team" then "Add Team Members") and then after I've joined, make me an administrator for the blog so I can edit posts and templates.

General - How to delete a blog

First, be sure that this is what you want to do: deleting a blog means deleting the templates, settings, and all the posts from Blogger. If you only want to delete one post, just click the [edit] link below that post in the bottom part of the "edit your blog" window, and then click the "Delete" button over to the left of "Post" and "Post & Publish".

If you really want to delete the whole blog, how you go about it depends on whether the blog was on Blog*Spot or another host.

For a blog anywhere but Blog*Spot, click the Settings button on the top toolbar, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click "delete this blog". Then, use your FTP program to connect to your host and delete the files. If you have an industrial-strength need to get rid of every single trace of your blog (what were you thinking when you posted that?), you will want to get yourself removed from Google as well, so that people can't view your page in Google's cache after the blog itself has been deleted. After you delete the files, go to their automatic url remover, create an account, and then choose the "remove an outdated link" option (you will need to remove every archive page they have indexed, as well as your main page).

To get rid of every trace of a blog on Blog*Spot, before you delete the blog you will need to edit your main template, deleting the <$BlogItemBody$> tag (and possibly more, like the <$BlogItemAuthor$>), and then publish the blog and republish your archives before you delete the blog. Probably the simplest way is to use "choose a new template", select the "Plain" template (which has the least to delete), and then delete everything between <Blogger> and </Blogger> (leaving just those two tags).

To get your Blog*Spot blog removed from Google as well, include <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW"> somewhere between the <head> and </head> tags in your stripped-down template. After you publish and republish all, be sure the tag appears in all the pages Google has indexed. Then, go to Google's automatic url remover, create an account, and then choose the "remove a single page using meta tags" option and tell them to remove your main page and all the archive pages they indexed.

If you have already deleted a blog on Blog*Spot before checking here, the closest you can come to deleting the files is to create a new blog with the old Blog*Spot address, make one post saying something like "Nothing to see here", post & publish, and then delete that blog.

General - Adding reader comments to your blog

On Blog*Spot, or off if you don't have server-side scripting (PHP, ASP, CGI):

Simple to install, but not much control over your comments:

Not so simple, but you control your own comments:

Not on Blog*Spot, with server-side scripting

Got PHP?:

Got ASP?:

Got Perl?:

You might also find something I missed in Marcus' list. Know of another script? Leave a comment...