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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Account Basics

Username and Password   TOP

These are stated in the welcoming email. They are needed to authenticate everything from FTP, to Email, your Control Panel, and MS FrontPage. In short, use this Username and Password for any access you're attempting to your account.

Note: It is important to enter your username and password EXACTLY as given to you. Case sensitivity is very important ("H" is not the same as "h"). Also, make sure that you do not enter any extra spaces when entering login information.

 

What DNS servers do I use for my domain name?   TOP

In order for your BCIhosting website to show up when visitors type http://www.yourdomain.com in their browsers, you will need to first change your domain name's DNS servers so that they point to our DNS servers. To do this, go to the domain name registrar where you got your domain from to change the DNS settings. Exact directions for doing so will vary depending on each individual registrar's procedures. Consult their help files or tech support as necessary.

Below is a list of our DNS servers. The ones you will need to use will depend on which server your account is hosted on. You should have received this information in your account activation email. If you still do not know, please email your account manager or the Technical Support Department and provide us with your username so that we may look it up for you.

Note: You've set the proper DNS servers for your domain name, but it's still not working? If so, please contact your account manager or the Technical Support Department for more tips.
 

 

Why isn't my domain name working?   TOP

There are a variety of reasons for your domain name to not work. Below are a few of the most common ones:

  1. The domain name hasn't been registered
  2. In order for a domain name to work, it must first be registered. We offer domain name registrations, please contact Customer Support register your domian.

    Once you have registered your domain name, you will be asked to input the DNS servers. It is important that you enter BCIhosting's DNS servers, or your domain name will not resolve to your account. Please use the following DNS servers:

    • NS1.BCIHOSTING.COM
    • NS2.BCIHOSTING.COM

    Note: Once a domain name has been registered, please give it up to 72 hours to start working in your browser. This lag is there because DNS servers from different ISPs around the world need time to pick up this new domain name. This process is called "propagation". Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to speed up this process.

  3. The domain name is registered but the DNS servers are set incorrectly
  4. To check if the DNS servers for your domain name are set up correctly, you can do a whois check on your domain name. In the output you will see the DNS servers associated with the domain name. If they don't match the ones required as according to this guide, then your domain name will not resolve to your BCIhosting account.

    If this is the case, you will need to go to the domain name registrar where you got your domain name from and change the domain's DNS servers. If you are not sure as to how to go about doing this, consult your domain registrar's help files or email their support staff for instructions. We will not be able to help in this area because there are many domain name registrars around and many have different procedures. Also, we cannot make the change for you as only the owner of a domain name is authorized to do this.

  5. The domain name isn't has been set for your BCIhosting account
  6. You have registered your domain name and have also set the DNS servers correctly. However typing the domain name in your browser still doesn't bring up your site. Why is this?

    In order for a domain name to resolve, not only do you have to register it and set the associated DNS servers properly, we must also configure the domain name on our end so that it maps to your specific BCIhosting account. If you are just wanting to change your account's domain name, then simply email the Technical Support Department and we will take care of it for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking to park an additional domain name to your account (meaning more than one domain name will now route to your BCIhosting account), then you must purchase a domain name setup.

 

Accessing your account via its URL or associated temporary URL   TOP

If you've just signed up to BCIhosting Web Hosting, chances are you've begun the process of a domain transfer to our servers. In all likelihood, it will take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours for all worldwide DNS records to reflect your domain name as pointing to our servers. In the meantime, you can access your account by using the temporary url provided in the activation email.

For your reference, the temporary url is usually in the form of: To access your account's control panel, you can login into it with:

        http://www.yourdomain.com/cpanel/

If your domain name is not pointing to our servers yet or if you don't have a domain name, you can use:

        http://www.BCIhosting.com/cpanel/

 

 

Accessing your account via FTP   TOP

There are a couple of ways to connect to your site via FTP. If you have a domain name and its DNS servers are already set properly, you can enter "ftp.yourdomain.com" as the host.

If, however, you don't have a domain name or your domain name's DNS settings have not yet been updated, you can connect by using the host name "bcihosting*.com" (where * refers to the server your account is in).

 

 

Accessing your account's control panel   TOP

To access your account's control panel, you can login into it with:

        http://www.yourdomain.com/cpanel/

If your domain name is not pointing to our servers yet or if you don't have a domain name, you can use:

        http://www.BCIhosting.com/cpanel/

 

 

The Home Directory   TOP

Html and other files you want to make accessible to the World Wide Web must be uploaded to your account before they can be seen by your visitors. When you first log in into your account, you'll be taken to your "Home" directory. Don't confuse this with your "web root." The home directory is "not" accessible to the World Wide Web; it's a private directory where critical system files reside. DO NOT delete files that have been created by the system, otherwise your web site may disappear into cyber oblivion!

To publish to your website, upload your files to either the "public_html" or the "www" directory. The "www" folder is actually just a shortcut to "public_html". This is why you will see the same content inside both folders.

A link reference example:

The file "/public_html/hello.htm" will show up on the internet as "http://www.yourdomain.com/hello.htm".

Feel free to create subfolders and place files inside them if you'd like. Just make sure that they are under the public_html (or www) folder if you want them to show up on the internet.

 

DOMAIN EMAIL

Pop Email Accounts   TOP

The "catch all" method:

With the catch all method, you don't have to worry about setting up individual pop mail accounts. Simply set your email client to your "default" email address (displayed in the Control Panel), and "all" email sent to anything@yourdomain.com will land in this box, or whatever you've set your default address to. This is an easy way to catch all email sent to your domain.

In your Email client, feel free to configure multiple outgoing accounts at many-different-names@youdomain.com. It really doesn't matter, as everything@yourdomain.com will land in the default account. Therefore, you would configure all of your email accounts with the "same" Username and Password as your "Default domain Email Account."

EXAMPLE: Let's say you want to receive mail from support@yourdomain.com and mark@yourdomain.com. If both of these addresses are the ones you'll be using, then the only thing that changes is the address - the Username and Password is "always" the same.
 

The pop email account method:

In this case, you configure a "private" pop email account for one or many users who will be receiving and sending email from your domain. Once an email address is configured as a pop mail account, it operates privately and independently from your main standard/default mail system. Any mail sent to a private pop mail account "can only be received" by logging into that account with the separate username and password you have assigned it.

Your default "catch all" account will not intercept any mail being sent to a pop mail account, which is what makes it 'private'. Pop 3 accounts are useful if there are a number of people (for example employees) who would each need a private email account.

This way, everyone at your company can utilize private email. The default email address plays a slightly different role in this case: If a sender uses the 'wrong' Email name or syntax, then that message would bounce to your "default catch all" account, and at which time, you could probably figure our who the sender was trying to contact. They do however, have to at least send it to your correct domain name, (i'e', oops@youdomain.com). This would end up in your "default" mailbox.
 

Setting up and configuring   TOP

 

1. Login to the Control Panel
2. Select "Add/Remove accounts"
3. Select "Add Account"
4. Enter an email name
5. Select "Create"
Just enter a name, (the @yourdomain part is added automatically)

That's it, done! Your private pop 3 email account is now ready for use. If you're a little lost on how to manually configure an email account into your mail reader, please see the detailed tutorials on how to configure Outlook and Netscape mail readers.

SPECIAL NOTE!

If you've enabled Sub-Domains, you'll observe a duplicate email account appearing, which corresponds to each sub-domain you've added. Please ignore these duplicate addresses for the time being. This is a new feature under development and will soon enable the ability to configure email accounts for your sub-domains. For example, if you configured support.yourdomain.com, then you'll be able to use the address tom@support.yourdomain.com.

For the time being, please configure email address's that correspond to your "regular" domain, and just ignore the sub-domain duplicates. ALSO: Any duplicate sub-domain email address's you see appearing in your pop mail setup configuration "DO NOT" count towards your allocated number of pop mail boxes we've provided. In short, just ignore them for now :-)
 

 

Default Email Address Setting up your catch-all, and Avoiding Spam   TOP

It appears pretty simple, but read through this documentation, as this controls much more that you'd expect. As mentioned in the previous chapter, your "default email address" is the one, which can be used as a "catch all", or in other words, to "catch all mail", which is addressed to anything@yourdomain.com. Using a catch all can be a blessing and sometimes a curse.

The "catch all" is excellent if you have a high frequency of people whom mistype your email address, as these addresses (even though mistyped), will simply be bounced to your "catch all" or "default" email account. That is, providing they at least managed to spell your domain name properly :)


If you're not planning on using multiple "private email boxes", then you can keep life very simple - just configure the default email address in your mail reader and leave it at that. This way, you'll receive everything sent to your domain. There are indeed pro's and con's to this method, which will be discussed in this tutorial.

Setting your default/catch all email account:


Note:
By default, or until you change it, the default email address will be the same as your "login name."

1. Login to your Control Panel
2. Select "Default Address"
3. Select "Set Default Email Address"
4. Enter a desired default email address
Just enter a name, (the @yourdomain part is added automatically)

Select "Change" and you'll see a confirmation box, which displays your new default email address. That's it- done!

Remember: In order to receive mail, which finds its way into your "Default Mailbox", you must configure the default address in your mail reader. If you don't, then all mail, which bounces to this address will sit on the server unread. This is easy to do in Outlook Express, as it allows you to configure and monitor multiple email accounts. Email readers such as Netscape on the other hand, are limited to "one" email account. Actually, you could re-configure your mail reader to check your default email box every few days, but who wants to be bothered with that trouble? We suggest using an email reader, which allows you to configure multiple email accounts.

The Webmail Alternative: You can also check your default email account, or another other mail account by logging into it through the "WebMail" interface. Simply select the "WebMail" icon at the bottom of your Control Panel, and log in to it using your "Main Account" Username and Password. This will allow to to check your default email box, as well as other mailboxes without having to configure them in your mail reader. In fact, using any pop accounts "Username and Password" will log you into that particular account through the "WebMail" interface.

The downside of enabling "Catch All"

Problems can sometimes arise when Spammers or junk mailers use this feature as a means to pump their trash into your mailbox. As long as the "catch all" is enabled, then all they must do is send to whatever@yourdomain.com and it will reach you.

On the other hand, if you're using "specific pop email accounts", you could opt to disable the "catch all", which would mean that "only visitors or associates who you've given a specific address to" can send mail to a particular email account on your domain.

In this case, everything else, (that you have not configured as a pop mail account) is bounced back to the sender. In our opinion, we suggest leaving your "catch all" enabled for the time being. If Spammers begin sending random junk messages using anything@yourdomain.com, then you can disable your "catch all" feature
 

Disabling your "Catch All Feature"

Instead of entering a (syntax legal name), use illegal syntax, which will effectively disable your email "catch all." For example, using characters, which are known as 'illegal' to the email system such as (>>>????) will work just fine. These are characters, which cannot be used in an email address, which in effect, will render the "Catch All" feature useless. Go to your "change default email address" and add something like the above as default name.

What happens now?

When Spammy or Jimmy junk mailer attempts to use a random email address to Spam you, it will be bounced back to them. That is, unless they happen to get a hold of one of your "legitimate pop email account names", in which case, you'd have a different problem on your hands. Yes, you could either deal with it, or change the address.

Here is what now happens to a sender using anything@yourdomain.com:

This is what the sender would receive. Please note that a classic, but annoying junk mail example is being used here:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software (Exim).

A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its
recipients after more than 24 hours on the queue on yourdomain.com.

The message identifier is: 14m7gv-0007gl-00
The date of the message is: Mon, 04 June 2001 01:23:02 -0400
The subject of the message is: MAKE MILLIONS FAST!

The address to which the message has not yet been delivered is:

anything@yourdomain.com
Delay reason: error in alias file /etc/valiases/anything@yourdomain.com:
missing or malformed local part (expected word or "<") in "******>>>" (Bad email syntax)

No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for
some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message
remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up,
and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.

So what actually happened here?

When the "Catch All" email address (******>>>@yourdomain.com), attempted to process an incoming message from anything@yourdomain.com, and then forward the (junk message in this case) to the "catch all/Default" email address, it freaked out, and said forget it!! The default email address was set to ******>>> in this case, which is clearly an email address using "illegal characters", so the sending process was aborted. Therefore, the mail system bounced back the above error message to the sender. There are numerous tricks and special recipes you can 'manually' write into the Unix email system for doing essentially the same thing, however through C-Panel, this would certainly seem the easiest way of accomplishing the task.

 

Configuring email auto-responders   TOP

 

What is an Email Auto Responder?

Email auto responders will automatically send a customized auto response (that you compose) to any visitor whom emails the address configured with one. More specifically, automated responses are sometimes used to send additional information about your service or product by having a visitor email something like moreinfo@yourdomain.com. In most other cases, they are used to send a 'courtesy reply' to anyone whom sends a query to your companies main email address. When visitors email this address, they recieve a response such as: Thanks for contacting our company! Someone will be returning a response to your question soon. If you require immediate assistance, please call 555-222-1212. Thanks!), and so forth.

There are two types of Auto Responders:

  1. The silent Auto Responder
  2. In this case, you configure the responder to send the desired information when it's emailed, however you 'do not' receive copies of the inquiries that people originally sent. This method is typically used if you have a product and want people to email an address for additional information on it. You simply tell them to email moreinfo@yourdomain.com, and they receive additional information on it. Again, you 'will not' receive receipts of the visitors emailing the auto responder. If you want to do this, please read the next paragraph.

  3. The Auto Responder that sends you the original inquiry
  4. In this case, the auto responder is setup to work with a (currently configured pop email account). Now, the sender receives your automated response, and you receive their 'original inquiry'.

How to setup an Auto Responder:


1. login to your Control Panel
2. Select "Auto Responders"
3. Select "Add Auto Responder"
4. Enter the "Email Address" to send the auto response
5. Enter a "From" name, (for example, my company)
6. Enter a "Subject", (for example, thank you)
7. Enter your message in the "Body" area

Select "Create" and that's it! Your auto responder is now online. To test it, email its address and see if you receive the auto response. If you've configured it to an existing pop mail account, you should receive 2 responses. The first, which is your inquiry, (that you just sent to yourself), and the second, which will be the automated response.

Remember! If you want to receive the "Incoming Inquiries" in addition to sending the automated response, then add an email address, which is "already" configured as a "pop email account." If you "do not" wish to receive the original incoming inquiry, then simply enter a name, which "Is Not" configured as one of your existing pop mail accounts.

If at anytime you want to update, edit, or delete an auto response, simply go back into "Auto responders" and you'll see the current responders configured, as well as options beside each of them to change or delete.

 

Filtering incoming email and setting up email blockers   TOP

From time to time, you may experience either a junk mailer or some other menacing individual whom keeps sending you annoying email messages. Your Control Panel has a built in feature, which allows you to block these email messages in a multitude of different ways. You can block them by:

- Sender
- Subject
- Message Header
- Message Body

Of course, if all you want to do is block one specific email address, then you don't have to worry about getting fancy with it - just enter the email address to be blocked, and that's it, done!

How to use the block email function:

 

1. Login to your Control Panel
2. Select "Block an Email"
3. Select "Add Filter"

If all you want to do is block a single email address, then simply leave the "current default setting" as is, and enter in the email address to be blocked. For example, annoying-nolife@nothingbettertodo.com Click "Add Filter", and that's it done!

When you click "Back" or login to this feature next time, you'll see the list of email address's, and or expressions you've blocked. Beside each one of them will be a "Delete" option, so that you can remove the block from your account at a future time.

NOTE: When you block an email address, or some other keyword, this filtering will be enabled on "All Email Accounts" within your domain.

Advanced Blocking:

For those of who whom experience frequent problems with junk email messages, you'll be please to see this option provides a broad range of blocking options. Instead of having us try to explain every last one of them here, this is a feature you'll really want to experiment with yourself.

Doing so, will allow you to become familiar with the ways that email can be blocked, and will also help you with customizing a recipe that works best for your domain. Play around with the settings, and try to block words, or phrases based on the From Name, Subject, or Message Body Text. Now, send an email to your account and see if the terms and criteria you selected are providing the filtering you want.

It may take a little time to master, but it's fun, and a great way to broaden your abilities on web site administration. FINAL NOTE: If you're totally new to email blocking, and wish to explore its full potential, we highly suggest you test it before launching your site. This way, you don't have to worry about accidentally disrupting email for your entire domain.

Hint: Unless you're 100% sure of what a setting will do, always delete it when you're finished, or until you have time to run a series of tests on it. You want to ensure it's blocking what it's supposed to, and not legitimate email messages!

A big junk mail problem:

If you're experiencing a high volume of junk mail, then there's a good possibility Spammers are taking advantage of your "catch all" option. To disable this, please see our tutorial on "Default Email Address."

 

Email forwarding setup   TOP

Email forwarding is a feature, which forwards an email that originated from your domain, to another email address. The forwarding address can be another email address within 'your domain', or to an 'external email' address, (for example to your home ISP email account). There are two types of email forwarding:

Forward silently to another address:

In this case, the email address from your domain (setup for forwarding) will divert all messages to the forwarding address you've selected, and without sending you a copy of the original message. For example, you@yourdomain.com will automatically forward all messages to you@mindspring.com. Pretty straight forward. (no pun intended).

Forward to another address, but also send you the "original inquirey":

This is the method most commonly used. For example, you have two other partners who wish to receive all incoming inquiries to the company. Perhaps you're the one who responds to them, but your counterparts would like copies of the incoming activity as well. The method for accomplishing this is pretty well the same as above, except in this case you would configure one of your "existing pop email accounts", as that is how you'd receive a copy of the original incoming message.

Example: When General@company.com (your companies main address) is mailed, you would typically be the only one to receive the response, however if you've configured forwards for your two counterparts (Bob and Mary), then bob@doodles.com and mary@yourdomain.com could also receive a copy of the incoming messages.

How to setup a mail forward:

1. Login to your Control Panel
2. Select "Forwarders"
3. Enter a configured pop email account name if you want to recieve original inquiries. (Enter a none configured email address if you do not)
4. Enter the email address you want it to relay a copy of the message to
5. Select "Add Forward"
All messages will now be forwarded to the forwarding address, and with a copy sent to you

Need to Forward to more than one person?

Simply repeat the above process using the same address you've setup as the forward, and enter the additional recipients you would like to send a copy of the message to. All email forwards will be listed in your "Email Forwarder" administrator. You can delete forwards when you no longer require them,

Testing your forward

If you want to test your new mail forward, it's recommended that the email account you're testing from "is not" one of the accounts you're using in conjunction with the forwarder you've just setup. For example, if you've configured harry@yourdomain.com to forward copies to bob@doodles.com and mary@yourdomain.com, then send a test message from an email address, other than one of the addresses you've just setup, otherwise it can somewhat confusing in figuring out which message was coming from the actual forward, and which was the original sent from you.

 

Using Web Mail to access your email accounts   TOP

Your Control Panel extends the versatility of its email system by allowing you to access any one of your email accounts through its own web mail interface. You have the choice of accessing all mail through the web, or any of your private pop email accounts. Gone are the days of having to create several email accounts on various free html based mail systems, as now you have your own, which operates from "your account."

 

Accessing your mail through the web mail interface:

1. Login to your Control Panel
2. Select "Pop3 Email Accounts"

Beside the email account you wish to access, Select the "Read WebMail" button. A username and password prompt will appear, and are the same as the username and password you created with that particular account. NOTE: Remember to use the "full' email address as the account login name for the account you're accessing.

The first screen you'll see:

If it's the first time you're accessing this email account through WebMail, a setup screen appears. Actually, all this really does is display how you'll be identifying yourself in email messages. Everything is pretty much the same as what you setup the "original pop mail account" with, however check it closely and make sure everything is appearing as you want it.

Does everything look correct?

If so, then click "Save" and a dialog box pops up, which confirms your settings as being saved successfully. Click "Continue" and you'll be taken to your WebMail inbox. To the top left of the screen, you'll observe the following icons. Clicking on any one of them will do the following.

Notes:

   Legend
Compose a new message
Refresh the screen
View user preferences
Open address book
View or add new folders
Empty your trash folder

To delete or move a message, select the small box beside it. Select where you which to place it using the drop down menu (top right of screen), then click "Move".

- Open address book allows you to add and edit email address's . You can also export your Outlook or Netscape Address Book, which equips your account with all the email address's you currently use.

 

CGI Based Programs

Where to place your CGI scripts   TOP

Although there is nothing dangerous about placing cgi scripts in random directories throughout your site, it's best if you keep them in their own little home known as the cgi-bin. This minimizes security risks and allows you to maintain your cgi programs from one directory.

 

The path to Perl   TOP

One of the first things you must do when configuring a script, is set the correct path to the Perl interpreter, which is the engine responsible for processing the script. The path to Perl on our servers is:

#!/usr/bin/perl

 

The path to Sendmail   TOP

Some programs such as the ones, which send email will need to know where the Sendmail program resides on the server. The script will typically have a setting like this: $mailprog = '/usr/sbin/sendmail'; and will want you to set it appropriately. Sendmail on our servers can be found here:

/usr/sbin/sendmail
or
/usr/lib/sendmail

 

Setting directories within your cgi scripts   TOP

When you configure a cgi script for "any" server, it may ask you to set variables such as the base, relative, and CGI directory/url settings. Here's an "example" using Matt Wright's wwwboard.pl script. Obviously, each script may vary, but this should provide you with some basic idea:

$basedir = "/home/yourlogin/public_html/wwwboard";
$baseurl = "http://www.yoursite.com/wwwboard";
$cgi_url = "http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/wwwboard.pl";

Most scripts come with documentation on how to set these directories. Please make sure you read and understand it before configuring the script. New to cgi? Here is a page with questions and answers to numerous questions evolving around the inns and outs of using cgi within your scripts: http://www.w3.org/Security/Faq/www-security-faq.html. Another excellent site, which provides step by step chapters is http://www.cgi101.com/class/.

 

Understanding File Permissions   TOP

There are a number of file permissions, which can be used for a variety of different purposes, however we'll limit this tutorial to the ones most commonly used. To begin with, it's important you understand the three categories of permissions, which are:

Owner Permissions:

The owner is you. In most cases, this is not so much of a concern, as you can only obtain owner permissions in one of two ways. 1. FTP into your account using your Username and Password. 2. Login via Telnet with the same information.

Group Permissions:

The represents a group of users who have access to a particular directory. For example, a password protected directory, whereas only members can access it upon providing the correct Username and Password. In this case, any permissions you assign to "Group" would be applicable to users with access to that particular directory.

Public Permissions:

This is the most important one of all. Public permissions determine what your world wide visitors can and cannot do with your files. ALWAYS make sure you understand what a particular permission does before assigning it to a file. If not, you may wakeup to find your website demolished by some clown who was snooping about and gained access to your files.

 

Setting File Permissions   TOP

To set file permissions:

1. Login with your FTP client
2. Open the directory where the file you wish to set permissions on resides
3. Right click on the file and select CHMOD
A box similar to the one above will appear

Observe how you can "select" the individual permissions you want, or simply enter the 3 digit number if you know what it is. Most instructions included with downloaded scripts will tell indicate this to you.

By default, all files uploaded to the server automatically have permissions set to 644. The setting 644 is relatively safe, as it provides "Read" and "Write" access to the owner, while limiting the rest of the public to "Read Only" access.

When setting permissions for cgi scripts, the most common permissions setting is 755. 755 allows the owner "Read and Write" access, while allowing the Group and Public "Read and Execute" permissions. So what are we actually saying? In short, when users access your cgi script, the server has been instructed to grant them permissions to "Read and Execute" it. Sound scary? It's not actually…

Remember that a script is a program that must be processed by the server. As long as the script is written properly, you can safely allow users to execute it, and thus providing the desired results. For example, if they wanted to post a message to your wwwboard discussion forum, then they would need these permissions to execute wwwboard.pl, which would write their new message to an html file, which is displayed on the main forum. The new message would reside in a directory on your site so other users could view it. Most cgi, perl and other scripts you'll be installing come complete with instructions telling you which permissions you'll need to set them to.

 

Warnings and Security Issues   TOP

Setting permissions on files is a relatively simple task, however MAKE SURE you fully understand what it is you're allowing the public to do with your files. For example, some less experienced users often make the fatal mistake of simply setting ALL of their files to 777. While 777 will automatically allow executing privileges, it also allows full "READ, WRITE, and EXECUTION ability to the entire world!!!!

This is how web sites get hacked! While most visitors have good intentions, all it takes is one person whom snoops about your files seeking an "Open Back Door." This could result is them gaining full access to your directories, which means they can do anything from deleting your entire site, to defacing it with obscenities.

New to cgi? Here is a page with questions and answers to numerous questions evolving around the inns and outs of using cgi within your scripts: http://www.w3.org/Security/Faq/www-security-faq.html.

 

SSI and .shtml   TOP

SSI works in conjunction with a web page usually with the .shtml extension. The .shtml extension tells the server to do something different with the web page. When you append the .html or .htm extension, this tells the server to "read" the page only. The .shtml extension tells the server to "Execute" the page, in addition to just reading it.

So, why would you want to execute the page? There are various commands you can program into a web page, which the server will look for and parse when the file is called as .shtml. In many cases, this mode is used in conjunction with Server Side Include (SSI) tags, to call a CGI script. For example, you have a visitor counter script, and we'll call it count.cgi. Every time someone visits your website, you want the script to be called, so that it logs the visitor into a file.

To do this, you would place an SSI tag into your web page. The tag in this case, would look something like:

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/count.cgi" -->

This small tag, which is hidden in the html coding of your page is telling the server to:

1. Go to the cgi-bin
2. Execute count.cgi

That's it! The information has been captured and processed by the count.cgi script. Of course, that's the short version of what happens. The long version would no doubt, would take us far beyond the scope of this document.

PLEASE do not use the .shtml extension on "all" of your web pages unless it's absolutely necessary. With a busy web site, this means that every page must be executed, as opposed to just read. This as you can appreciate, can add considerable memory and CPU load to the system. As always, read the instructions that came em. As always, read the instructions that came with your script carefully. They should provide specific instructions on how to configure the script, as well as the SSI tag.


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