Why Aren't You Using CGI

Written by Michael Southon

The very name CGI used to send chills up my spine. For years I put it inrepparttar 'too-hard-basket'. But like most things in life, CGI is not as scary as it seems. If you have a cgi directory on your website and you know how to FTP files, chances are you can have a CGI script up and running in less than 20 minutes.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) is not a programming language but a standard that allows visitors to interact with your website. CGI scripts can be written in a number of different languages but most are written in Perl (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language).

This article gives you details of five free CGI scripts that will dorepparttar 107135 following:

1. Mail out your Newsletter from your server 2. Trackrepparttar 107136 number of times your free E-Book is downloaded 3. Rotate banners on your website 4. Create your own auto responders 5. Allow visitors to recommend your website to friends

Atrepparttar 107137 end of this article are details of where to download these 5 free scripts. But first, here are some basic guidelines on how to configure and install CGI scripts:

1. CGI programs usually come in a zip file. Unziprepparttar 107138 file and openrepparttar 107139 README file. This document will give you instructions for configuringrepparttar 107140 program file.

2. Openrepparttar 107141 program file using a text editor such as NOTEPAD (the program file will usually haverepparttar 107142 file extension .cgi but may have other extensions such as .pl).

In most CGI programs you will have to configurerepparttar 107143 following 4 items:

(a)repparttar 107144 path to perl

This is whererepparttar 107145 perl program resides on your server. The path will usually be:


but could be:


If you're unsure what your 'path to perl' is, check your web host's online 'manual' or FAQs. If you can't find it there, simply ask your web host.

(b)repparttar 107146 path to sendmail

Most CGI programs notify you when your visitors have completed a particular action, and for that,repparttar 107147 program needs to know whererepparttar 107148 'sendmail' program resides on your server. The path to your UNIX sendmail program will usually be: /usr/sbin/sendmail

But it could also be something like this: /usr/lib/sendmail

Again, checkrepparttar 107149 documentation on your web host's website, or simply ask your web host.

(c)repparttar 107150 absolute path to your CGI directory

The absolute path tellsrepparttar 107151 CGI program exactly where to findrepparttar 107152 file (or files) that it needs to open. Unfortunately,repparttar 107153 absolute path to your CGI directory is not something you will be able to guess or deduce - it is completely arbitrary and depends entirely on howrepparttar 107154 system administrator at your web host has partitioned your host's hard drive.

The easiest way to find out your absolute path is to ask your web host. Another way is by using telnet - just type in pwd (print working directory) and that should give you your absolute path.

(d) Your email address

This isrepparttar 107155 address thatrepparttar 107156 CGI program will use to notify you when an action has been completed.

3. Uploading

Uploadrepparttar 107157 program files to your cgi-bin (or a directory off your cgi-bin) using ASCII mode. Never use BINARY mode, as this will play havoc withrepparttar 107158 line-breaks inrepparttar 107159 script.

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 - http://www.superscripts.com/

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.

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