Save time: do not read this

This page does not give instructions on installing or using cgiemail. The cgiemail home page tells people to consult one of the following pages:

The page you're reading now exists because people do not consult those pages. They try to "just do it". When they get stuck they ask for help. To make it easy for to answer the most common questions, I've prepared stock answers that point people to the documents they should have read already. If you are trying to learn about cgiemail, go back and read those documents. If you are trying to help answer cgiemail questions on Usenet, read on.

Answering questions about cgiemail

Thanks for helping other users of cgiemail. This page will provide stock answers for you to cut-and-paste into replies to those who ask for help. It works best if you view this page with lynx, which gives you the most suitable text for pasting into a Usenet posting.

Unclear questions

Your question didn't have enough information to be answered effectively. Please follow the directions on asking for help at the following URL:

Why don't I get mail even though I get the success page?

As explained in the user guide, there is some problem with your template file. Go back and make sure you correctly followed the guidelines at the following URL:

In particular,


No variable substitutions

Usually this error means you have not set the ACTION of your form correctly. Please see the following URL:

It may also result from using the hidden variable called ``success'' with a value that does not start with / or with http://. Please see the following URL:

Why don't accented characters show up right in my mail?

The cgiemail program uses sendmail to send out mail messages. This is the most practical and universal Unix utility for the task. It is not capable of Whatever mail client you usually use is doing MIME encoding on the message to keep sendmail from bashing the special characters. Whatever you use to read mail is doing MIME decoding.

What would be ideal would be an option to the mmencode program, say, mmencode -t, that would take as input an 8-bit e-mail message, scan the mail headers for what encoding to use, and encode the body (and subject?) of the message, but leave the other mail headers intact.

If that were available, MIME support could be easily integrated into cgiemail.

Does cgiemail only run on Unix servers?

The original cgiemail only runs on Unix servers, but similar programs exist for Windows95 and NT. For more info, see the following URL:

Can I send mail to more than one address?

Yes. Simply separate them with commas in the header lines of your template file. For example, to send to three addresses including one specified by an input named email in your form:

To:, [email],

Why doesn't WRAP=PHYSICAL work?

This feature of Netscape Navigator does not work as documented, as of this writing. Here is what one user found:

Thank you for answering me. I did find out, too, in case anyone else asks, that it was not cgiemail, but rather the WRAP. It turns out WRAP=VIRTUAL and WRAP=PHYSICAL are both just on screen, not in fact. If, however, you put in a WRAP=HARD, it will work on email output, too. An undocumented Netscape/Microsoft Internet Explorer feature, I guess!

Could you put a link in your pages to my form-to-mail CGI script?

The cgiemail webmaster guide does point people elsewhere if cgiemail is not what they want, but it does this in such a way as to allow the maintainer of cgiemail to avoid the hassle of processing link requests and keeping a list current. Other programmers are encouraged to submit their pages to Yahoo, and after that send mail to cgiemail at as well. See the yahoo page pointed to by

It's hard to get my webmaster to install CGI programs. What should I do?

Webmasters are understandably hesitant to grant every request to install a CGI program because a lot of effort might be involved in getting it working, and because of the security implications. Urge your webmaster to read the cgiemail webmaster guide, which will answer these and other questions.

How can I get the user's e-mail address?

The best you can do is let the user type it manually, as described at the following URL:

For more info on why you can't reliably get the actual e-mail address, see the CGI FAQ:

./configure: Permission denied

If you simply follow the directions in the webmaster guide you will not get this error. Somehow the permissions set by the `tar' command have been changed. You can correct the error by typing this:
chmod 755 configure

I left a required field blank and got a useless error message.

Put the following into your form:

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="addendum"
 VALUE="All the information you need is above this paragraph.
Sorry to have to bother you with unnecessary additional text, but
Microsoft Internet Explorer refuses to do what standards say it should,
i.e. display useful information associated with an error.  However, if
the accompanying information is long enough, Internet Explorer will show
it.  Therefore we're inserting this useless text to make sure people see
error messages when needed.">

For more information, see

Last modified: Mon Sep 9 10:35:48 EDT 2002