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The web server supports a programming interface called CGI (Common Gateway Interface) which allows a program to be executed on the server in response to a URL reference in a web page. CGI programs are used to provide functions not available directly from the web server. (A common use is to support forms and we provide a couple of CGI programs -- AnyForm and Fileform -- that you may find simpler to use than writing your own.) CGI programs can be written in just about any language and on our server the most likely choices are Perl, Python, PHP, C, or shell scripts. More information about CGI programming is available from the web from the usual sources of HTML and web server documentation.

Our web server has limited resources which must be primarily directed toward its function of serving web pages. Scripts which consume excessive resources or interfere with service to other users cannot be allowed. Please discuss your requirements with us if you have questions.

We don't have the resources to debug your scripts!

To reduce the security problems inherent with CGI programs we support them using something called CGI Wrap. This allows your CGI programs to be run under your web user name and minimize the chances that your program will have unintended side-effects that could affect other users. Be aware that CGI programs can still cause considerable damage to your files, as can any program. Care in writing and testing is still required!

To use CGI Wrap, follow this procedure:

1. Create a directory called cgi-bin in your home www directory. It must be set for global read and execute permission (mask 755). Note that this directory must reside in a user's www directory (~user/www/cgi-bin)! It cannot be located in the /www/htdocs area.

2. Put your executable CGI program in this www/cgi-bin directory. Be sure they are also globally readable and executable.

3. The URL to execute your program will be:

where username is your web user name and scriptname is your CGI program.

This page was last updated on 2004-12-01. Please direct questions and comments regarding this page to


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