CGI stands for "Common Gateway Inferface," a fancy name meaning computer programs running on the webserver that can be invoked from a www page at the browser. The "bin" part alludes to the binary executables that result from compiled or assembled programs. It is a bit misleading because cgi's can also be Unix shell scripts or interpreted languages like Perl. CGI scripts need to be saved in ASCII format and uploaded to your server's cgi-bin in ASCII or text format. This is very important.
We don't provide free support for CGI scripts which we did not install on your server. So if you are not already familiar with CGI scripting, you may want to read a book on the subject or find places on the Internet with CGI scripting information. There are many good resources for CGI scripts found on the web. The scripts at Matt's Script Archive found at http://www.worldwidemart.com/scripts/ are very good. Many of our scripts come from here. Another excellent resource is The CGI Resource Index found at http://www.cgi-perl.com/ -- if you are not an expert, look for scripts that are very well documented and come with step-by-step instructions, or contact us for help or installation.
Put your cgi-bin scripts in the www subdirectory named "cgi-bin". If you have given full POP/FTP/Telnet accounts to other people, each of them will have their own separate cgi-bin inside the main cgi-bin. When they login with their username and password, they will only have access to their own cgi-bin.
Here are your paths to the common server resources that CGI scripts often require:
The following is a simple explanation of file permissions in Unix. To list the access permissions of a file or directory, telnet to your server, then:
to change the directory until you are either in the directory above the file you are interested in, or above the directory you are checking.
ls -l filename
and you will see what the current permission settings are for that file, along with a bunch of other stuff.
Examples of using chmod:
u = the file's user (you)
r = read access
g = the file's group
x = execute access
o = others
w = write access
a = the user, the group, and others
To change permissions for a file named filename.cgi, you need to chmod the file (change mode). For example, when you type this:
chmod u=rwx,g=rx,o=rx filename.cgi
read, execute, and write access to the user (that's you)
read and execute access to the group and
read and execute access to others
Some scripts will tell you to
chmod 775 (for example). Doing the above is the same thing as typing
chmod 775. You can use either method with our Unix servers. Let me explain:
When using the numeric system, the code for permissions is as follows:
r = 4 w = 2 x = 1 rwx = 7
The first 7 of our chmod775 tells Unix to change the user's permissions to rxw (because r=4 + w=2 + x=1 adds up to 7. The second 7 applies to the group, and the last number 5, refers to others (4+1=5).
When doing an <
ls -l on the file, telnet always shows the permissions this way:
Ignore the first dash, then break up the above into three groups of letters. If there's a dash where a letter should be, it means that there is no permission for those people.
Remember: the first 3 apply to user, the second 3 apply to group, and the third 3 apply to others.
Some FTP clients support changing permissions in a more graphical way. If you have Fetch for Mac OS, you have an easy way to change permissions. Go to the file you want to change the permissions on, and highlight it. Under the Remote menu, select Change Permissions. A window will pop up showing the current permissions for the file you had highlighted, as in Figure 3A below. Click on the boxes to change permissions as needed.
WS_FTP accomplishes the same task as above. Just highlight the file you want to check, and right-click on it. A menu will pop up, then select CHMOD. You will see the window below, as in Figure 3B.
Below are solutions to some of the more common CGI script problems, in question and answer format.
When I activate my CGI program, I get back a page that says "Internal Server Error. The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request."
This is generally caused by a problem within the script. Log in via Telnet and test your script in local mode to get a better idea of what the problem is. To do this, go into the directory in which your script is located, then execute the script. To execute the script, you can do it by two ways:
1) Type "perl myscript.pl" (Perl being the language interpreter in this case).
2) Or simply type "myscript.pl" alone, that will work if the first line is well written to indicate the location of Perl.
The first one is useful to see if there's any error IN your script. The second one is useful to test if your "calling line" (the first line of the script) is okay, i.e. if you entered the right location of Perl.
3) Make sure you have set the permissions correctly. If you are using one of our preinstalled scripts there is a table below that will tell you what each file should be set to.
I am being told "File Not Found," or "No Such File or Directory."
Upload your Perl or CGI script in ASCII mode, not binary mode.
When I test my Perl script in local mode (by Telnet), I have the following error: "Literal @domain now requires backslash at myscript.pl line 3, within string. Execution of myscript.pl aborted due to compilation errors."
This is caused by a misinterpretation by Perl. You see, the "@" sign has a special meaning in Perl; it identifies an array (a table of elements). Since it cannot find the array named domain, it generates an error. You should place a backslash (\) before the "@" symbol to tell Perl to see it as a regular symbol, as in an e-mail address.
I am getting the message "POST not implemented."
You are probably using the wrong reference for cgiemail. Use the reference /cgi-bin/cgiemail/mail.txt. Another possibility is that you are pointing to a cgi-bin script that you have not put in your cgi-bin directory. In general, this message really means that the web server is not recognizing the cgi-bin script you are calling as a program. It thinks it is a regular text file.
It's saying I don't have permission to access /
This error message means that you are missing your index.htm file. Note that files that start with a "." are hidden files. To see them, type
cgi-bin/counters (text counter)
The script is one from Matt's Script Archive which we have installed and preconfigured for your domain. FormMail is a generic www form to e-mail gateway, which will parse the results of any form and send them to the specified user. This script has many formatting and operational options, most of which can be specified through the form, meaning you don't need any programming knowledge or multiple scripts for multiple forms. This also makes FormMail the perfect system-wise solution for allowing users form-based user feedback capabilities without the risks of allowing freedom of CGI access.
There is only one form field that you must have in your form, for FormMail to work correctly. This is the recipient field. Other hidden configuration fields can also be used to enhance the operation of FormMail on your site. The action of your form needs to point towards this script (obviously), and the method must be POST in capital letters.
Here's an example of the form fields to put in your form:
<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/formmail.cgi">
<input type=hidden name="recipient" value="firstname.lastname@example.org">
<input type=hidden name="subject" value="Order">
<input type=hidden name="return_link_url" value="http://yourdomain.com/">
<input type=hidden name="return_link_title" value="Back to Main Page">
The following are descriptions and proper syntax for fields you can use with FormMail.
Description: This form field allows you to specify to whom you wish for your form results to be mailed. Most likely you will want to configure this option as a hidden form field with a value equal to that of your e-mail address.
<input type=hidden name="recipient" value="email@example.com">
Description: The subject field will allow you to specify the subject that you wish to appear in the e-mail that is sent to you after this form has been filled out. If you do not have this option turned on, then the script will default to a message subject: "WWW Form Submission".
Syntax: If you wish to choose what the subject is:
<input type=hidden name="subject" value="Your Subject">
To allow the user to choose a subject:
<input type=text name="subject">
Description: This form field will allow the user to specify their return e-mail address. If you want to be able to return e-mail to your user, I strongly suggest that you include this form field and allow them to fill it in. This will be put into the From: field of the message you receive. If you want to require an e-mail address with valid syntax, add this field name to the 'required' field.
<input type=text name="email">
Description: The realname form field will allow the user to input their real name. This field is useful for identification purposes and will also be put into the From: line of your message header.
<input type=text name="realname">
Description: If you wish to redirect the user to a different URL, rather than having them see the default response to the fill-out form, you can use this hidden variable to send them to a pre-made HTML page.
Syntax: To choose the URL they will end up at:
<input type=hidden name="redirect" value="http://yourdomain.com/to/file.html">
To allow them to specify a URL they wish to travel to once the form is filled out:
<input type=text name="redirect">
Description: You can require certain fields in your form to be filled in before the user can successfully submit the form. Simply place all field names that you want to be mandatory into this field, separated by commas. If the required fields are not filled in, the user will be notified of what they need to fill in, and a link back to the form they just submitted will be provided.
To use a customized error page, see 'missing_fields_redirect'
Syntax: If you want to require that they fill in the email and phone fields in your form, so that you can reach them once you have received the mail, use the syntax like:
<input type=hidden name="required" value="email,phone">
Description: Allows you to have Environment variables included in the e-mail message you receive after a user has filled out your form. Useful if you wish to know what browser they were using, what domain they were coming from or any other attributes associated with environment variables. The following is a short list of valid environment variables that might be useful:
REMOTE_HOST - Sends the hostname making the request.
REMOTE_ADDR - Sends the IP address of the remote host.
HTTP_USER_AGENT - The browser the client is using.
(Note: In our case, both REMOTE_HOST and REMOTE_ADDR are the same, since our servers don't do the reverse DNS lookup needed to generate the true REMOTE_HOST string).
Syntax: If you wanted to find all the above variables, you would put the following into your form:
<input type=hidden name="env_report" value="REMOTE_HOST,REMOTE_ADDR,HTTP_USER_AGENT">
Description: This field allows you to choose the order in which you wish for your variables to appear in the e-mail form that FormMail generates. You can choose to have the field sorted alphabetically or specify a set order in which you want the fields to appear in your mail message. By leaving this field out, the order will simply default to the order in which the browsers send the information to the script (which is usually the exact same order as they appeared in the form). When sorting by a set order of fields, you should include the phrase "order:" as the first part of your value for the sort field, and then follow that with the field names you want to be listed in the e-mail message, separated by commas.
Syntax: To sort alphabetically:
<input type=hidden name="sort" value="alphabetic">
To sort by a set field order:
<input type=hidden name="sort" value="order:name1,name2,etc...">
Description: print_config allows you to specify which of the config variables you would like to have printed in your e-mail message. By default, no config fields are printed to your e-mail. This is because the important form fields, like email, subject, etc. are included in the header of the message. However some users have asked for this option so they can have these fields printed in the body of the message. The config fields that you wish to have printed should be in the value attribute of your input tag separated by commas.
Syntax: If you want to print the email and subject fields in the body of your message, you would place the following form tag:
<input type=hidden name="print config" value="email, subject">
Description: print_blank_fields allows you to request that all form fields are printed in the return HTML, regardless of whether or not they were filled in. FormMail defaults to turning this off, so that unused form fields aren't e-mailed.
<input type=hidden name="print_blank_fields" value="1">
Description: This form field allows you to specify the title and header that will appear on the resulting page if you do not specify a redirect URL.
Syntax: If you wanted a title of 'Feedback Form Results':
<input type=hidden name="title" value="Feedback Form Results">
Description: This field allows you to specify a URL that will appear, as return_link_title, on the following report page. This field will not be used if you have the redirect field set, but it is useful if you allow the user to receive the report on the following page, but want to offer them a way to get back to your main page.
<input type=hidden name="return_link_url" value="http://yourdomain.com/index.htm">
Description: This is the title that will be used to link the user back to the page you specify with return_link_url. The two fields will be shown on the resulting form page as:
Back to Main Page
<input type=hidden name="return_link_title" value="Back to Main Page">
Cgiemail is another form processing script, totally different than FormMail, discussed above. It is a program written in the C language that takes the contents of fill-in boxes on a form and e-mails them to a specified location. In addition to the form specification in the .html file, a mail specification in a .txt file is required to format the resulting e-mail message.
We provide the cgiemail in the cgi-bin directory of your server. You need to have an action in your order.htm file to call it. It should look like this:
<form method=post action="http://www.yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/cgiemail/order.txt">
Details are provided below. While there are a number of subsections below this one, they all work together and are meant to be read from start to finish.
Look for a file in your www directory called order.htm. This is our example form we put on your site that shows how a form should be configured to work with Cgiemail. Look at it in a browser, and download it to your hard drive using FTP so you can see how it works. If you've never dealt with HTML forms before, don't worry, they're easy to create and understand.
The form prompts the user for data which is sent to the server as simple key-value pairs. Each <input> tag specifies a record. The key is given by the name attribute, and the value is given by the value attribute. The type attribute tells the browser what kind of data to expect. Now, try looking at the example.
Please note that the hidden items are used to transmit critical info to Cgiemail. They provide the location of the success file, the name of the person the results should be sent to, and the subject of the form. When making your own forms, you may want to change the e-mail address in the "required-to" field, and likely the subject in the "subject" field. The first item tells Cgiemail what to show the user after successfully completing the form. You can, but don't need to customize this.
After that come the items that are actually presented to the user. You'll want to use type=text input items with cgiemail: it's a simple tool. The size=60 tells the browser how big to make the box. The name=something is required in each input tag, otherwise the browser wouldn't know how to send the data to the server. The value=" " attribute is correct in most cases, unless you want a default value in the form.
Note that if a field begins with required-, cgiemail will require that the user enter a value for this field. This is particularly useful if you want to require a user to submit their e-mail address.
When the user presses the Submit button, the data goes to our machine where cgiemail starts doing something with it. What is does is controlled by the order.txt file discussed below.
By the way, you can name your HTML form anything you want to.
Now that we have all this data, what do we do with it? Mail it, of course! But for flexibility, cgiemail requires that you create a mail.txt file to show it what to send. (If you didn't want flexibility you'd use a mailto link.) The program will read this file, perform substitutions, and pass it to the mail system.
Make sure that you upload mail.txt in ASCII mode. Failure to upload mail.txt in ASCII mode will generate the message:
"Server Error: The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request."
There is already an example order.txt document in the forms directory in your www directory.
By the way, there's nothing magical about the name order.txt. Feel free to call it mail1.txt or form1.mail, or whatever suits you, as long as the form has the correct name for what you uploaded.
Note that the first several lines are mail headers. You probably shouldn't change that part, or the corresponding parts in your form. In particular, there must be a To: header or the mail won't go anywhere!
What cgiemail does is simply replace every string that looks like [key] with the value the user typed into the field with name=key. That's all. You can lay out your form as is best for your users, but lay out your mail.txt as is best for you to read. You can even insert gobs of text to help format the output. Only the [key] parts will be replaced by cgiemail.
Cgiemail does not report environmental variables like FormMail will, but other than that, it is an excellent program, allowing you more flexibility in the way you want your data returned by the form.
Normally, any text (such as your credit card number) sent from your browser to the web server is sent as plain text. This means that a hacker could potentially intercept (however unlikely) the information sent from your browser and read it. However, by using the secure server, the information is encrypted before it is sent from your browser. It would be practically impossible for anyone to decrypt it without knowing the key. Please use the secure server only when necessary, as when requesting sensitive information from your visitors.
To use this feature you must fill out the form here.
Guestbook allows you to set up your own comments page. From there, visitors can add entries to your guestbook and they will be displayed with the most recent at the top and scrolling down, or vice versa. Other options include the ability to limit HTML in the entry, link to e-mail address with mailto tag, use a log to log entries, redirect to a different page after signing, e-mailing whenever a new entry is added, and much more.
Guestbook is already set up for use on your server. You can simply use the following URL to access it: http://yourdomain.com/Guestbook/guestbook.html
If you want to change any of the configuration options, locate the guestbook.cgi file in your Guestbook directory (inside your www directory). Download it to your hard drive in ASCII mode, and save it somewhere safe. Create a copy of the file and give it the same name, then edit the options as specified below. Keep your backup of the original guestbook.cgi in case you run into problems.
Important Note: if you have modified your Guestbook and after doing so it returns an internal server error, you need to reset the permission on the Guestbook files. The permissions are listed here. Please see the following for instructions on setting permissions.
Option 1: $mail
This option will allow you to be notified via an E-mail address when a new entry arrives in your guestbook. The entry will be mailed to you as a notification. If you should choose to turn this variable on you will need to fill in the 2 variables that go along with it:
$recipient - Your e-mail address, so that the mailing program will know whom to mail the entry to.
$mailprog - The location of your sendmail program on your host machine.
Option 2: $uselog
This will allow you the ability to use the short log feature. It is already turned on so you will have to change it to 0 if you do not wish to use it. It has been implemented since there are probably many people who feel no need to have a log when people are making entries to a file anyway. Keep in mind that it will show errors which is one nice aspect about it.
Option 3: $linkmail
Turning this option on will make the address links in your guestbook become hyperlinked. So instead of simply having (firstname.lastname@example.org) it will put (<a href="mailto:email@example.com">name@somehost</a> so that anyone can simply click on the address to e-mail them.
Option 4: $separator
This allows you to choose whether you want guestbook entries to be separated by a Paragraph Separator <p>, or a Horizontal Rule <hr>. By changing the 0 in the script to a 1, you will turn on the <hr> separator and turn off the <p> separator. The 0 option will do the reverse of that; turn on the <p> and turn off the <hr>.
Option 5: $redirection
By choosing 1 you will enable auto redirection and 0 will return a page to the user telling them their entry has been received and click here to get back to the guestbook.
Option 6: $entry_order
Set this option to 0 and the newest entries will be added below the rest of the entries. Keep this option at 1 and the guestbook will add the newest entries at the top.
Option 7: $remote_mail
Many users of the guestbook have requested that a form letter be automatically sent to the remote user when they fill in the guestbook. Turning this option on will tell the script to automatically mail any user who leaves an e-mail address. You can specify the contents of the mail message by editing the section of the script that sends mail to the remote user. By default it sends a message that says, "Thank you for adding to my guestbook." and then shows them their entry. If you should choose to turn this variable on, you will need to fill in the 2 variables that go along with it:
$recipient - Your e-mail address so that the mailing program will know whom to mail the entry to.
$mailprog - The location of your sendmail program on your host machine.
Option 8: $allow_html
This option allows you to turn on or off the use of HTML tags by users of your guestbook. Setting this variable to 1 allows users to embed html tags such as <b> or <H1> or <a href=" "></a> into your html document. Setting this variable to 0 will not allow them to use any html syntax in their comments or any other field. You can still link to their comments or any other field. You can still link to their e-mail address by turning $link_mail to 1.
There is also the ability for users to add their own URL and then their name is referenced to their URL in the guestbook.html file. This helps to eliminate the need for allow_html to be turned on, and lets users point you to a spot that will tell you more about them. Several users of the guestbook script have asked for this option. If you wish to disable the option, simply delete the following line from your addguest.html file:
URL: <input type=text name=url size=50><br>
These are the rest of the important guestbook files found in your Guestbook directory:
This is the file that you will link to that will contain the Guestbook Entries. You may want to edit the title and heading spaces and customize the look any way you desire. Do not delete the line
<!--begin--> from this guestbook, or else the script will have no way of knowing where to begin the editing. The
<!--begin--> line is the only necessary line in your guestbook.html file, but the link to the addguest.html file is also a good idea. :-)
Free For All Link Page allows you to set up a web page which your users can then add links to in specified categories. Newest links are added to the top of each category. A running total of the number of links present as well as the time when the last link was added is shown at the top of the page. Your preconfigured Free For All Links page is already set up on your server at http://www.yourdomain.com/links/links.htm. The only configuration you may want to do is to customize the look of the links.htm page. Just leave the method and input tags the way they are. If you decide to change the category names, you must do so in the links.htm document, AS WELL AS the links.pl file in your cgi-bin.
This script is preconfigured for your server. There is a directory in your www directory called "random." Inside that directory is a file called random.txt. Just download this file to your hard drive and edit it with any random text you would like placed in an html document. Remember to keep the %% separator between quotes. You can use any html formatting tags you want to, including <href> tags so you can configure it as a random link generator. You can put in as many quotes as you wish. Upload the random.txt file to your server in the same location you found it, remembering to upload it in ASCII or text mode.
The script uses SSI (Server Side Includes) so the page you want to use random text on must have the .sht, .shtm, or .shtml extension. On your page, just put this tag wherever you want the random text to appear:
That's all there is to it!
WWW Board is a threaded World Wide Web discussion forum and message board, which allows users to post new messages, follow-up to existing ones and more. It is already preconfigured for your server. Just go to http://www.yourdomain.com/bbs to post your messages there.
There are several options you may want to configure. First of all, the index.sht file in the bbs directory can be customized any way you wish as long as you leave the method and input tags the way they are.
Important Notes: if you have modified the index.sht file or any files pertaining to the WWW Board and after doing so it returns an internal server error, you need to reset the permissions on the files. Click here to see what each file should to be set to. Please see the following for instructions on setting permissions.
In order to add and remove messages from your WWW Board you will need to install the wwwadmin.pl script. This is available at Matt's Script Archive.
Additionally, here are some options contained in the wwwboard.pl script itself (located in your cgi-bin directory) which you may want to change, depending on your needs:
$show_faq = 1;
This option allows you to choose whether or not you want to display a link to the FAQ on every individual message page or not. It defaults to 1 and the link will be put in at the top of the message along with links to Followups, Post Followup and Back to $title. Setting this to 0 will turn it off, and keeping it at 1 will keep the link. You need to create a faq.html file and put it inside the bbs directory. The FAQ can contain any information you want to give your visitors about how the board works, your organization, types of postings that will be allowed, etc.
$allow_html = 1;
This option lets you choose whether or not you want to allow HTML mark-up in your posts. If you do not want to allow it, then everything that a user submits that has <>'s around it will be cut out of the message. Setting this option to 1 will allow HTML in the posts and you can turn this option off by setting it to 0.
$quote_text = 1;
By keeping this option set to 1, the previous message will be quoted in the followup text input box. The quoted text will have a ':' placed in front of it so you can distinguish what had been said in the previous posts from what the current poster is trying to get across. Setting this option to 0 will leave the followup text box empty for the new poster.
$subject_line = 0;
There are three options for the way that you can display the subject line for the user posting a followup. Leaving this option at 0 which is the default value, will put the previous subject line into the followup form and allow users to edit the subject however they like. Setting this option to 1, however, will quote the subject, but simply display it to the user, not allowing him or her to edit the subject line. The third and final option can be achieved by setting the $subject_line variable to 2. If it is set to 2, the subject will not be quoted and instead the user will be prompted with an empty subject block in their followup subject line.
$use_time = 1;
This option allows you to choose whether or not you want to use the hour:minute:second time with the day/month/year time on the main page. Day/Month/Year will automatically be placed on the main wwwboard.html page when a new entry is added, but if you leave this variable at 1, the hour:minute:second time will also be put there. This is very useful for message boards that get a lot of posts, but if you would like to save space on your main page, you can set this to 0, causing the hour:minute:second display not to be added.
Search will look at all your html pages for words you enter, and return all pages on a list with links. This program is completely configured and ready to run, but for Search.cgi to return a response, it need to be activated. This is easily done by logging in via telnet and at the prompt after login type the following command:
chmod +r /www/yourdomain
Now you can access search.cgi with the following URL: http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi.
There is a configuration file called search_define.pl which accompanies search.cgi and sets up the variables for it. You can customize which files you wish to exclude from searches, and also the cosmetics of the search and results pages.
Thunderbird can provide you with a mySQL database. Please e-mail Thunderbird Support to have this setup. We offer mySQL to clients that are already familar with its use. We do not offer tech support for mySQL. For information on using mySQL please visit http://www.mysql.com.
There is a Single Page Shopping Cart program installed on your server. You can see what it looks like by going to this URL with your browser:
Click Here to download WestCart. Click Here to download the SSL (secure server) version of WestCart. Click Here for the WestCart Online Manual.
Your domain is capable of supporting use of SSIs (Server-Side Includes). Support is limited to the exec cgi command and in order for the system to process the include you must save the page with a .shtml or .sht extension rather than .htm or .html.
Please note as shown in the example above, the URL must be relative and not a full call, so this would not work:
Put the following tag somewhere on your page, but change the yourpage.htm and yourdomain to be the address of the actual page you are putting this counter on. The width=5 part refers to how many digits you want in your counter.
The counter will look like this:
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