Don’t Block the Blog

Speaking up Against Internet Censorship, the world over

May 30, 2007

Blogger block workaround: Post blogs via Google Docs

This tutorial has been written and cross posted at Dont Block the Blog website courtesy Ovais Khan

In February 2006, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) -the Internet regulators in Pakistan asked the bandwidth providers and ISPs to block various web sites because they carried a variety of blasphemous material (See actual notification here). Two of these sites were hosted on blogger a popular blogging service (now acquired by Google). Since the PIE (Pakistan Internet Exchange – A PTCL subsidiary) as well as the other main providers of bandwidth like TW (Transworld) do not have any sophisticated means to block specific websites, they usually block the IP addresses associated with the websites. As a result, the whole blogspot domain was inaccessible for a long time.

However blogger.com remained accessible and people were able to post the blogs. Then in mid 2006, Google started blogger beta, but its server farm was the same as that of blogspot and thus was blocked. From that time until now, blogger.com as well as blogs hosted on blogspot.com gets blocked every now and then and many people are not able to access blogspot.com and blogger.com.

A friend asked me for a workaround, and this morning while I and my colleague were discussing the web based editors, I remembered that writely,(now purchased by Google and integrated into Google Docs) used to have a functionality to publish blog entries. I tried it and it worked without any issues on the new blogger.

The only negative point is that, blog title will not be set which you’ll need to go and set manually in blogger. Just to demonstrate, I am writing this blog entry from inside Google Docs.

Following is a summary of the steps you’ll need to perform:

  • 1. Navigate to http://docs.google.com/ (if you are using it for the first time, you might need to provide some additional information)
  • 2. Click on New Document link which is available in the top-left corner
  • 3. A new window should appear, or if you use Firefox, it might be a new tab
  • 4. Type your blog entry in writely and save it by using the save button available in the top section of the page
  • 5. After you are done with the post, click on Publish link available in the top-right corner
  • 6. Here, you’ll be able to provide your blog settings by clicking on set your blog site settings link
  • 7. On clicking the link, a new window will appear displaying various options. Use the following settings:
    • i. Select the radio button ‘Hosted provider
    • ii. In provider combo box, select Blogger.com (beta version)‘ – (I also tried blogger.com and it works as well, so you can choose either)
    • iii. In User Name and password text fields, enter your Google Account user name and password
    • iv. In the Blog ID / Title text field, enter your Blog Title exactly as it is set, otherwise it’ll post the blog to the first available blog (if you have multiple)
    • v. Select the check box Include the document title when posting (This has currently no affect, but just in case they implement it in future)
  • 8. Click on test button to test the settings
  • 9. Click on OK button to save the settings
  • 10. After saving the settings, click on Post to blog link
  • 11. Now go and check your blog, your post should be there

Below are some screen shots to explain the steps listed above

Step 1
Step 1

Step 2 – 5
Step 2 - 5

Step 6 & 10
Step 6 & 10

Step 7 – 9
Step 7 - 9

Important Links:

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