Changing Master Page for SharePoint 2010 Blog Site (Workaround)

So I thought I'd share a quick find with you regarding 2010 blog sites (and may apply to other templates as well). I tried to search for a fix for this but search engines and searching for “SharePoint 2010 Blog master page” proved unsuccessful.
I created a blog site and from site settings changed the master page to a custom developed page (having to enable publishing features to be able to do this through the UI). After applying the master page change the new master page did not render on the blog site.
With credit to my colleague Inderjit Singh (Link to Linkedin) the workaround is to apply the custom master page to the system master page section. This master page setting is for all application pages and site settings pages as shown below.
At this point I must stress that applying the master page to the system may cause many knock-on effects and further testing of each application page will be required to satisfy using and suggesting this to a client and could cause a lot more work with regards to styling.
I strongly believe this is not by design behaviour and have raised this with MS and will as always keep you posted.
Further information about the blog template
Each page in the blog site contains a reference to default.master (known as a token) as show below:
Changing this reference to custom.master as shown below will render the custom master page selected in the site master page section (shown in the screen grab above):
The issue of changing this on each page means that each page becomes un-ghosted potentially causing issues later on and i would strongly advise against recommendations in other blogs to edit the pages directly on the file system as this will fix the issue short term but will cause more problems in the long run.
*** Update 18/05/11 ***
After numerous diagnostic tests I was provided with a support KB that was applicable to MOSS 2007 The KB suggests two ways to work around the issue. One of these was to simply enable the publishing feature on the site you need to modify the master page (well you have to do this anyway to be able to change the master page through the UI) and this didn't work. The other option was what I described in my original post above which was to change the system.master which I have explained the issues this could cause by doing so.
This case has now been closed with Microsoft on the basis I have been informed that the blog functionality is classed as collaboration (and not publishing) functionality.
After writing various paragraphs here on my view of the above outcome of the case I felt these were best removed!
I welcome your comments and feedback.


yana said...

It is a very nice thing to see your excellent work and I like your article very much.SharePoint 2010 is beneficial for all with it's new features.

Raj said...

Did you find any answer from MS. I am seeing the same behaviour for my Report Centre site. I have to change both the master pages (site and system) for my changes to be reflected.

send reply to

Paul Grimley said...


You prompted me to update my post, please see the update.

Anonymous said...

Ya this seriously sucks. I've ran into this twice. Yet another detail MSFT has overlooked.

Đỗ Quốc Hùng said...

i have an article with guide step by step done a master page and page layout from html page:

dotNetFollower said...

If somebody wants to create custom master page you can follow the steps described in the article - - to create a ghostable copy of a built-in master page and get a full access to the Controls-collection due to subclassing.

Paul Grimley said...

@DotNetFollower, thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

I had this problem today, and i figure that changing the sistem master page actualy changed the blog layout. I dont know why this behavior, but did.

Changing the ~default.master to custom.master worked, even without the publishing resource activated. Tnks.

Unknown said...

Could you change the blog's masterpage by changing the ~default.master to ~custom.master, without applying your masterpage to the system masterpage?

Paul Grimley said...

@Tim if you referring to the aspx pages then yes technically you can do this but this will cause un-ghosting as mentioned and is not advised.


Unknown said...

Thank you! One more question: Is there any way to brand a blog subsite (on a public facing website) without branding/affecting the "back end" pages? I know that if the back end gets broken and senses a problem, it will revert back to the v4... Possible to do?

Paul Grimley said...

Tim, I would ask this question in the Dev forums on TechNet, I would suspect that it is possible. Please do make sure you consider recommended practice when applying any changes so as to not impact future upgrades.

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