HWG Resources FAQs HWG-Servers FAQ

HWG-Servers mailing list FAQs

Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. What OS should I use?
  3. Can I write CGI programs in (favorite language here)?
  4. How do I get the email addresses of people visiting my web site?
  5. What is the speed/bandwidth of an OC-12/T-3/Whatever?
  6. Where can I find out more about SSL?
  7. What HTTP server should I use?
  8. How do I password protect my web site?
  9. How do I get a CGI program to talk to my database?
  10. What does response code xyz mean?
  11. For More Information

  1. Preamble

    This is the Frequently Asked Questions list for the HWG-Servers mailing list. For more information about the list itself, see the Charter and list information page. If you're looking specifically for information about CGI programming, that has been put on its own page.

    And, of course, if there's something that is not covered here, but you know has been discussed on the list, check out the archives.

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  2. What OS should I use?

    This question is seldom worth asking. Not because you won't get an answer, but because you will get so many answers. Everyone has an opinion on this, and most people have utter contempt for those that disagree with them. However, due to popular demand, I have made my best attempt to write an unbiased comparison of NT and Unix, since that appears to be the place where the debate most frequently focuses.

    Having said that, it appears that the most popular OS/Web Server combination is Apache HTTP server running on Linux.

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  3. Can I write CGI programs in (favorite language here)?

  4. Yes, you can write CGI programs in Basic, Fortran, Pascal, Java, Lisp, Cobol, or your own made up programming language, if you really want to. The CGI protocol is very simple, and requires only that you are able to print something out to STDOUT (STandarD OUTput).

    Since every programming language that is of much use has some way to display output, this is not a very stringent requirement.

    The most popular languages for writing CGI code are Perl, C (or C++) and, for some reason known only to God and Microsoft, Visual Basic.

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  5. How do I get the email addresses of people visiting my web site?

    Short answer: You ask them nicely.

    Another short answer: You can't and you shouldn't even try.

    Long answer: OK there are ways, but I'm not going to tell you. Spam is the scourge of my existance, and I am not about to give you tools for spamming me. If you really want the email address of someone visiting you site, ask them for it, and make legally binding promises to know use those addresses for sending unsolicited email of any description

    Long, long ago, in the days of Lynx, Mosaic, WWW, and Cello, web browsers passed the email address of the user as part of a standard HTTP request. That is, every time you visited a web site, those folks had your email address. Well, it took about 3 1/2 minutes for the slimy, unscrupulous marketing people of the world to get hold of this information, and start sending out unsolicited email to everyone that visited their web site, and browser makers removed that function from their code.

    At the HTML Writers Guild, we believe that Unsolicited Commercial Email is wrong, and, personally, I think that people that engage in that practice should have their access to the Internet terminated. The Internet is an international treasure, and should not be abused. </SOAPBOX>

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  6. What's the speed/bandwidth of my connection?

    Before answering this question, you should understand that you never get the full expected speed from a connection. Well, almost never. This is because there is line noise, errors, resends, other traffic other than yours, and avariety of other reasons.

    Having said that, here's some of the common line speeds, and what they mean in actual bandwidth:

    Modem    - 28  Kbps 
    ISDN     - 112 Kbps 
    T-1      - 1.5 Mbps 
    Ethernet - 10  Mbps
    T-3      - 45  Mbps 
    OC-3     - 155 Mbps 
    OC-12    - 622 Mbps 
    OC-48    - 2.5 Gbps 
    OC-192   - 10  Gbps 
    OC-768   - 40  Gbps

    Note also that bps stands for bits per second, not bytes. Divide by 8 to get a bytes/second number. So 28 Kbps works out to about 3K per second transfer, or, if your phone lines are anything like mine, more like 2.

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  7. Where can I find out more about SSL?
    For information on SSL, the sites that are most frequently recommended on this list are Verisign (www.verisign.com) and the Thawte Group (www.thawte.com.

    From those sites, you can get information, and SSL certificates.

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  8. For More Information

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This page is maintained by Rich Bowen. Last updated on 22 December 1999.
Copyright © 1998 by the HTML Writers Guild, Inc.