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CGI Scripts

What is CGI? How do you use CGI scripts? Define CGI with this article - common gateway interface.  There are many free cgi scripts on the internet - find cgi counters, cgi forms, and cgi email. CGI scripts make programming easy!

CGI is the Common Gateway Interface, which creates web pages that visitors can interact with. CGI scripts are instructions from a visitor's web browser to the server where the website is hosted that request that an action take place. This is what changes a website from a static HTML document to a dynamic site with guest books, hit counters, search forms, shopping cart software, order forms, email lists, and other interactive features.

What do CGI scripts do?

Normal HTML websites are like a book. They are made up of static text that the visitor can read but cannot interact with. Clicking links flips the pages of the book, but only displays the static text that is on each page. With CGI scripts, however, you can create web pages that change based on information provided by the users. Search engines are an example of dynamic websites. You type a request into the search engine and hit enter. Because of the CGI script, this sends a message to the server that you have requested an action – in this case, a search for all the websites submitted to its database about the key words you entered. It executes your command, and sends back to you a web page created by your request with the list of websites. The same type of thing happens when you join an email list, leave a comment on an online guest book, or place an order online.

How do GCI scripts work?

CGI scripts are lines of code that are interpreted by the website's hosting server. They can be written in a variety of programming or scripting languages like PHP, C++, Perl, or Visual Basic. The server has a CGI-bin where it stores programs that can be activated by CGI scripts. When it receives a request directed to the CGI-bin the server knows that it isn't just sending out a static web page, but processing a request and sending back the results. So, the user types in information or fills out a form, and the CGI script takes their request to the CGI-bin of the server, which determines the appropriate program and executes it. It then sends the requested information or response back to the user, and may also perform other actions, like sending an order to a store or an email to the website's owner. For the CGI script to work, there has to be a program waiting to be executed, usually in the server's CGI-bin. Programs like these that run on the server are called server-side scripting. Programs that run on a user's computer instead of executing through a CGI script on the server are called client-side scripting.

Where can I get CGI scripts?

If you don't know any programming or scripting languages, you can still use CGI on your website. First, you need to make sure your web host supports CGI scripts. If they don't, you can either find a new web host, or find an alternative host for your CGI programs. The former may be easier. Then, you will need to decide this article has all rights reserved and is copyright by 100 Best which CGI scripts you need and find someone who has them available. You can buy CGI scripts and programs that are already created, and some are available for free. Many web hosts offer some free CGI scripts like hit counters and guest books, and web hosts geared to online businesses may offer the CGI scripts and programs for shopping carts and online payments. For free CGI scripts, you can try websites like,,, or, or check out our listing of web hosts who include free CGI scripts with their services.

Related Article: Perl Scripts >>

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