Setting Up A CGI Script On Your Web Site

Before you set up any scripts you will need some information about your server. You can get this by e-mailing your web hosting provider. It's good to have these on hand before you try to set up a script. You may not need all of the information for each script, but some of the larger scripts demand more information to work. The information you may need is:

Path To Perl This is normally the first line at the top of a ".cgi" or ".pl" (Perl) script. A sample of a Path To Perl is /usr/bin/perl. Most scripts already have the proper Path To Perl included. If the script doesn't work it may be this variable.

Relative Path Which is the relative path to your server, not the HTML path. A sample is: /home/yourlogin/public_html/

HTML Path To Your Server Which is the URL path to your server, for example: http://yourdomain.com

Sendmail Path Which is the relative path to your mail server. A sample is: /usr/sbin/sendmail

SMTP Server Address Which is the path to sendmail on your server. A sample is: smtp.yourdomamin.com (This is rarely used)

Once you have those variables you can set up just about any script available.

Open the scripts that you are instructed to in the "readme" file or "installation" file. These instructions should tell you which scripts need to be set up with these variables. Open these files in a HTML editor, or a text editor. The instructions should also give you the exact location where each variable should be changed or inputed.

Once you have all of the variables set, upload your scripts. They must be uploaded in ASCII, not Binary, if your FTP program makes you choose. Once uploaded your scripts need to have the permissions set in order to work. The instructions should have those permissions for you. Normally a ".cgi" or ".pl" script has it's permissions set to 755.

Your FTP program should allow you to do that somewhere in the program. I use WS_FTP95 LE. To set permissions I simply right click in the right hand window when I am in the server directory where the script is. I click on "FTP Commands" then on "Site". I then type in the field "chmod 755 name of script". If the script is called "abc.cgi" then I will type in "chmod 755 abc.cgi".

It is now time to test the script. The instructions should tell you how to access the script, i.e. "yourdomain.com/abc.cgi". If you get a "Internal Server Error" then you need to go back and check the variables in the scripts and set the permissions, and try uploading the script again.

Read more articles by this author, about this and other subjects, here.

About The Author

Bob Power has been an Internet entrepreneur for longer than he would like to remember. He is currently on a voyage of learning, thanks to his readers, who have asked him to answer questions about topics they want more information on. You can see some of the surprising, and at times exciting results, and variety of topics and paths this has taken him on, or to contact Bob Power please click here.

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