CGI Basics
If you are using assistive technology and are unable to read any part of the HostMonster website, or otherwise have difficulties using the HostMonster website, please call 866-573-HOST and our customer service team will assist you.
Skip to main content

HostMonster Web Hosting Help

CGI Basics


CGI (Common Gateway Interface) is a standard method of extending web server functionality by executing programs or scripts on a Web server.

What Is CGI?

CGI (COMMON GATEWAY INTERFACE) is a standard method of extending Web server functionality by executing programs or scripts on a Web server in response to Web browser requests. A common use of CGI is in form processing, where the Web browser sends form data to a CGI script on the server, the script integrates the data with a database, and sends back the results as a Web page. Use of CGI can make a Web page much more dynamic and add interactivity for the user.

How is CGI going to help me?

CGI is used to provide interactivity and turn static pages into dynamic ones. What do I mean? Let's take a guestbook for example. Most of them are powered by CGI. They allow your visitors to leave their comments on your site. This makes it interactive. But guestbook is only one example. You also have bulletin boards, form processing, counters, and much more.

How am I supposed to install a script?

Usually most of the scripts that I have tried before have complete instructions and a special ReadMe file with everything you need to know about installing that script. I recommend you reading the instructions a few times before starting to install the script. This will help you to make less mistakes.

What does "chmod" mean?

To chmod a file means to set a certain permission. Few of the most common chmod commands are 755 and 777. To see more about modifying file permissions please see our articles on changing file permissions and setting file and user permissions

What are the most common errors and how do I deal with them?

One of the most common errors is "500 Internal Error". The chances are that you will experience it many times. The worst thing about it, is that it doesn't actually tells you what's wrong with the script. It only tells you that something is not right. There are several possibilities that cause of this error. Here they are:

  • Incorrect path to PERL. See the next question for more information.
  • Syntax error. Check and see if you didn't accidentally delete a command or a word that the instructions didn't tell you to.
  • Incorrect CHMOD command. Make sure that you chmod the file exactly as the instructions say.
Note: Most of the times it will be either 755 or 777 (not always!). You can also get an "Access Denied" error, if you didn't chmod the file or a directory correctly. Basically, 500 Internal Error and Access Denied are 99% of errors you'll experience. 99% the cause of the error will be one of the above.

What is the path to PERL (interpretator)?

The perl path is the very first line in every .cgi or .pl file. Usually it looks something like this #!/usr/bin/perl. Make sure that the path is correct, otherwise you'll get an error. If you don't have the telnet access, simply email your tech support and ask them.

Knowledgebase Article 378,539 views bookmark tags: cgi

Was this resource helpful?

Did this resolve your issue?

Please add any other comments or suggestions about this content:

Recommended Help Content

Does your company have any limit about CGI script use?
Knowledgebase Article 266,943 views tags: cgi script

I need help with my CGI script?
Knowledgebase Article 247,015 views tags: cgi scripting

What is CGI?
Knowledgebase Article 236,501 views tags: cgi

Related Help Content

Can I add my own CGI scripts?
Knowledgebase Article 330,308 views tags: cgi scripts

Why am I Getting File Not Found When Executing My CGI?
Knowledgebase Article 280,408 views tags: cgi

How to run CGI scripts for Addon domains.
Knowledgebase Article 228,189 views tags: cgi htaccess

What is an IP address?
Knowledgebase Article 160,812 views tags: ip

Learn how the Cron Job tool can help you automate the scripts on your web site.
Video "How-to" Tutorial 343,641 views tags: cpanelutilities cron

What is the path to PERL (interpreter)?
Knowledgebase Article 251,821 views tags: cgi perl

Do You Have Any Applications Available for Customers to Use?
Knowledgebase Article 251,790 views tags: Marketplace cgi scripts

What is the character limit for the form?
Knowledgebase Article 234,584 views tags: cgi character form limit script

This site utilizes JavaScript to function correctly. Looks like it's disabled on your browser. Please enable it for your best experience.

For instructions on enabling JavaScript, click here