MIT SIPB Script Services for Athena

MIT SIPB Web Script Service

The web script service allows individuals and groups to put CGI scripts (Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Scheme, etc) on the web using nothing more than an Athena account. Although this service has been designed with reliability in mind, it should not be used to run critical applications that cannot tolerate downtime.

Your scripts will automatically be accessible at URLs starting with

If, at some point, your group would like to make point to your website, you can request such a hostname using our hostname management interface.

To sign up for the service:

If you just want to get started with a pre-made application, consider trying our Quick Start installers instead. Otherwise, you can sign up for the service by logging into an Athena workstation and running:

$ add scripts
$ signup-web

(The ‘$’ is part of the Athena prompt and should not be typed.)

The command will ask you whether you would like to sign up your own account, or a locker that you control.

(If you are confused about how to run the above commands on Athena, e-mail for assistance. You must have an Athena account and understand the MITnet rules of use in order to use the service. You should also understand that if you install software from the web in your account, you are responsible for keeping that software up-to-date so that it is secure.)

This signup process will create a web_scripts directory. You may now put scripts in this directory and have them served to the web. Your scripts’ filenames must end in one of the following file extensions: .pl, .php, .py, or .cgi

Files whose name end with “.php” will be executed with the PHP interpreter. Otherwise, each file must be marked executable (chmod +x and have a shebang line corresponding to its interpreter. This should be the first line of the file. You can determine the path of an interpreter by ssh-ing to the scripts server. You are most likely to want one of:

  • #!/usr/bin/perl
  • #!/usr/bin/python
  • #!/usr/bin/php-cgi

Finally, add yourself to the scripts-announce mailing list if you would like to receive announcements of major service changes and outages. This list receives less than one e-mail per month on average.

For more information, see our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Example Scripts

Looking at some basic examples may help you if you are having trouble:
Perl example: see code | see output
PHP example: see code | see output
Python example: see code | see output

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