Use CGI to Automate Your Web Site

Written by Shelley Lowery

Are you taking advantage ofrepparttar powerful automation technology available onrepparttar 107134 Internet? Common Gateway Interface, better known as CGI, is one ofrepparttar 107135 most widely used server applications onrepparttar 107136 Internet. This software resides on your server and automatically performs specified functions on your web site.

If you've been onrepparttar 107137 Internet for a while, you've probably seen many examples of CGI use and didn't even realize it. Search Engines, Directories and Forums all use CGI scripts. Scripts can run everything from a form on your web site to an affiliate program. They can give yourepparttar 107138 power to completely automate your web site.

There are scripts online that can automate all ofrepparttar 107139 following:

* Make your product available for download * Takerepparttar 107140 customers order * Approve it right online * Send your customer a password * Send you a confirmation ofrepparttar 107141 order

You can sell your products aroundrepparttar 107142 clock and never lift a finger.

SuperScripts -

If you have a subscription box on your web site, then you're already using a program to processrepparttar 107143 information. That's a good start however, there are many additional ways you can use this powerful technology.

Here are some great scripts to get you started.

The Master Series:

Master Form

This form will enable you to haverepparttar 107144 results emailed to you or to a specified address. It can write your information to a database file and even enable you to have a personalized thank you page. In addition, you can even have multi-page forms with no limit onrepparttar 107145 number of pages. Master Feedback

Allow your visitors to provide you with feedback. Master Feedback enables you to add your own information fields with radio buttons, checkboxes, dropdown lists and text fields. The great thing about using Master Feedback is that it helps you spam- proof your site by not requiring your email address anywhere on your page.

Master Recommend

Word of mouth is one ofrepparttar 107146 best forms of advertising. Master Recommend will enable your visitors to recommend your web site to a friend. This great script is multi-lingual, which means thatrepparttar 107147 emails sent can be written in any language.

Master Subscriber Pro

Enable your visitors to subscribe to multiple ezines by checkingrepparttar 107148 boxes besiderepparttar 107149 publication they wish to subscribe. They'll only need to enter their email address one time and won't be forced to leave your web site.

The great thing about this script is that it is compatible with ezines hosted with Egroups, Topica, etc., or any ezine that uses an email address for subscriptions.

CGI Security Issues

Written by Richard Lowe

When you are creating or using CGI routines, you must be careful to keep good coding techniques, security and just plain common sense in mind. Sometimes you can do things that cause serious unexpected site effects. In fact, sometimes you may think you are making your CGI routine secure only to find out it just doesn't work like you expected.

A good example of a this phenomenon is a simple CGI routine called FormMail. This was written a number of years ago by a fellow named Matt Wright to allow data to be entered in a form, then emailed to a recipient.

I first looked at FormMail because I wanted to cut down on spam. You see, my web site had my email address embedded on every single page. I thought this was a good idea to allow people to send me an email message when they wanted to contact me. In fact, all ofrepparttar web design books indicate that all good web sites include an email link of this kind.

I soon discovered, much to my horror, that spammers use special programs called Spam Harvesters to scan websites for email addresses. They add these addresses to their mailing lists and resell them over and over. The result is a large increase inrepparttar 107133 amount of spam that I received.

After much research, I came torepparttar 107134 conclusion thatrepparttar 107135 best defense against spam robots was to simply stop including my email address on my web sites. This leftrepparttar 107136 question of how to allow users to contact me when they had questions or comments.

The answer is simple - use a form. The advantage is thatrepparttar 107137 email address is hidden withinrepparttar 107138 CGI routine or a text file and it is simply not possible for a spam harvester to pick it up. As long asrepparttar 107139 email address is coded intorepparttar 107140 CGI routine or in a database you are relatively secure.

However, many people use FormMail in a different way. Let's say you want to allow your visitors to "tell a friend" about your site. So you include a form which allows visitors to enter their message and a target email address. If you are not very careful you could find that you have set yourself up as a spam relay.

You see, spammers are always looking for ways to hide their identity. One common method is to searchrepparttar 107141 internet for occurrences of FormMail. Sometimes I wonder if spammers rub their hands together in glee when they find sites which use FormMail with user-entered email addresses.

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