Anyone visiting this blog in the past couple of days will have noticed it loading incredibly slowly. Everything's back to normal now, but I thought I'd just explain what the problem was and how I fixed it.
(I realise this won't be of interest to most of The Engine Room's regular readers; I'm just hoping I can help one or two other bloggers out there.)
I use FeedBurner to manage the blog's feed. As a result of Google buying FeedBurner way back in 2007, all FeedBurner users have recently had to move their feed from a feeds.feedburner.com address to a new feeds2.feedburner.com address.
For me, this happened without incident and I thought no more of it. Google promised that anyone going to the old address would be automatically redirected to the new one, and for a few months this was the case.
Then last week, I noticed that the blog was loading incredibly slowly - at least 10 seconds per post. The feed itself seemed fine, and FeedBurner's FeedBulletin reported no problems.
After trying lots of measures such as pinging FeedBurner, resynching the feed and even changing the blog template, all to no avail, I finally discovered that my old FeedBurner feed address was no longer working. Could this be connected?
In short, yes. I was using FeedBurner's FeedFlare service to add functionality to my feed - it's what puts the links such as 'Share on Facebook' at the bottom of each post. The FeedFlare html code I'd added to my blog template ages back was referencing my old FeedBurner feed, not the new one, and so as soon as the old feed address stopped working, it brought my whole blog grinding to a halt.
The solution was simple: log back into FeedBurner, get the new FeedFlare html code, and place this in the blog template instead of the old code. I just wish I hadn't had to work it out for myself. And for anyone out there suffering the same problem: it isn't enough just to disable FeedFlare. You have to change the code in your template.
I don't know whether the old feed address is permanently dead, and if so, whether it has cost me any subscribers, but I do know that the Google/Blogger/FeedBurner technical support is rubbish. You can't email anyone for an answer: instead, you have to post a message on the relevant help group and hope for the best. Bah.
9 hours ago