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What are scripts and CGI programs?

Scripts/CGI Programs are small programs that are executed by the server when your website is visited. They can help you make your site more interesting -  they allow you to generate pages dynamically, and can add features such as:

  • Databases -  of products or information
  • Mail reply forms -  for people to send you information
  • Bulletin boards & discussion areas
  • Live chat sessions between your users
  • Clocks and time-of-day greetings -  like 'Good Morning/Afternoon'
  • Surveys and voting
  • Link management and banner advertising
  • Site Guest books and mailing lists
  • Access logging and referrer information -  find out who's visiting your site, and where they came from.  For example, if they did a web-search, what keywords did they type to find you?

Many such programs (scripts) are available for free download from the web.   They're relatively easy to install, though may need some modification, by experienced users.

For a small fee, we can source and install scripts that you want on your site.   This is a one-off charge.  If there's something that you want to be able to do, or maybe you have already seen the script that you need, send an e-mail to our support address for a quote.

We can also write specific applications for you -  again, let us know what you are looking for and we'll provide cost information.


Useful paths and locations on the server.
CGI scripts may be placed anywhere on your site -  they don not have to be in a cgi-bin directory, but must be named  .pl or .cgi   You may still want to have a cgi-bin directory for neatness -  that's ok, just create one.
  • The Perl interpreter path is: /usr/bin/perl
  • The sendmail path is: /usr/lib/sendmail
  • The script path to your web dir is: /home/sites/www.yoursite.com/web


Uploading scripts to the server.

  • Ensure that your scripts are always uploaded as ASCII and not as BINARY. Your FTP program needs to be setup correctly for this as BINARY is the default setting for uploading web pages and images.
  • You need to set the permissions on the script to 755 for it to work.

My script does not work. What now?
  • Ensure that you uploaded the script correctly, using the ASCII mode instead of the BINARY transfer mode that is used for the other web files.
  • Ensure that the permissions for the script are set to 755.
  • Check that any files/folders the script needs to read/write have the correct access permissions.
  • It's always worth trying to run your script from the shell to see what it's really doing. If your shell access has not been enabled yet then please send us an email - we will enable your shell access free of charge.
  • CGI scripts execute under CGIWrap, but you may still use a module like CGI::Carp with the fatalsToBrowser to help debug.

Please note whilst we'll happily help out with any issues related to the service that we are providing you with, WE CAN'T help you with script-specific questions - e.g. 'I just downloaded the xxxx script and it doesn't work!!'.
You should attempt to seek help from the author, or alternatively you may need to learn a little more about the programming language in which the script has been developed. We are however able to provide qualified programmers to assist you - send an e-mail to our support address, with as much detail as you can, for a quote.

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