Web Host cgi-bin Access

A cgi-bin directory is one that stores executable scripts, such as Perl scripts. If you intend to program in languages such as Perl, your web hosting company will need to give you a cgi-bin directory in which to save the scripts.

You do not necessarily need cgi-bin access to use programming languages such as PHP or ASP, however access to the cgi-bin directory would ordinarily be assumed on web hosts that support these programming languages.

If you download a cgi script off the internet — for example, a Guestbook or Event Calendar application — you may need to place the files inside the cgi-bin directory. The cgi script’s instructions should tell you if you need to set any special file permissions (using chmod) while installing the cgi script.

You should be wary of any script you place in the cgi-bin directory, because a badly written cgi script can cause serious problems for a web host. Similarly, many free cgi scripts, such as form-to-mail scripts, can be exploited through your website by a malicious user. Email spammers often look for unsecured formmail scripts through which millions of emails can be funnelled without a trace, so check with your web hosting provider first if you are not sure about a particular cgi script.