# What is CGI in Python?

PythonServer Side ProgrammingProgramming

• The Common Gateway Interface, or CGI, is a standard for external gateway programs to interface with information servers such as HTTP servers.
• The current version is CGI/1.1 and CGI/1.2 is under progress.

## Web Browsing

To understand the concept of CGI, let us see what happens when we click a hyper link to browse a particular web page or URL.

• Your browser contacts the HTTP web server and demands for the URL, i.e., filename.
• Web Server parses the URL and looks for the filename. If it finds that file then sends it back to the browser, otherwise sends an error message indicating that you requested a wrong file.
• Web browser takes response from web server and displays either the received file or error message.

However, it is possible to set up the HTTP server so that whenever a file in a certain directory is requested that file is not sent back; instead it is executed as a program, and whatever that program outputs is sent back for your browser to display. This function is called the Common Gateway Interface or CGI and the programs are called CGI scripts. These CGI programs can be a Python Script, PERL Script, Shell Script, C or C++ program, etc.

## Web Server Support and Configuration

Before you proceed with CGI Programming, make sure that your Web Server supports CGI and it is configured to handle CGI Programs. All the CGI Programs to be executed by the HTTP server are kept in a pre-configured directory. This directory is called CGI Directory and by convention it is named as /var/www/cgi-bin. By convention, CGI files have extension as. cgi, but you can keep your files with python extension .py as well.

By default, the Linux server is configured to run only the scripts in the cgi-bin directory in /var/www. If you want to specify any other directory to run your CGI scripts, comment the following lines in the httpd.conf file −

<Directory "/var/www/cgi-bin">
AllowOverride None
Options ExecCGI
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory>
<Directory "/var/www/cgi-bin">
Options All
</Directory>

Here, we assume that you have Web Server up and running successfully and you are able to run any other CGI program like Perl or Shell, etc.

Published on 31-Jan-2020 07:45:53