Asked  7 Months ago    Answers:  5   Viewed   36 times

I get a "Premature end of script headers: contactform.cgi" error message when running the below script. What frustrates me is that I ran this as a .php on another server and it worked. However, I had to change servers and they only support CGI PHP. However, it doesn't work. I don't think the code is wrong, but take a look just in case.

I've read around and some have said it's a permissions issue. Could this be the case for me?

I know that the "display_errors" and "error_reporting" statements will display errors in the error log, but if I don't have access to the server, how can I check the logs?



print "Content-type: text/htmlnn";
use CGI::Carp qw(fatalsToBrowser);

if(isset($_POST['email'])) {

//Email this form to me
$email_to = "";

function died($error) {
    // your error code can go here
    echo "Oops... something's wrong. ";
    echo "Fix the error(s) below:<br /><br />";
    echo $error."<br /><br />";

// validation expected data exists
if(!isset($_POST['first_name']) ||
    !isset($_POST['last_name']) ||
    !isset($_POST['email']) ||
    !isset($_POST['subject']) ||
    !isset($_POST['comments'])) {
    died('There appears to be a problem with the form you submitted.');       

$first_name = $_POST['first_name']; // required
$last_name = $_POST['last_name']; // required
$email_from = $_POST['email']; // required
$subject = $_POST['subject']; // not required
$comments = $_POST['comments']; // required

$error_message = "";
$email_exp = '/^[A-Za-z0-9._%-]+@[A-Za-z0-9.-]+.[A-Za-z]{2,4}$/';
if(!preg_match($email_exp,$email_from)) {
$error_message .= 'The Email Address you entered does not appear to be valid.<br />';
$string_exp = "/^[A-Za-z .'-]+$/";
if(!preg_match($string_exp,$first_name)) {
$error_message .= 'The First Name you entered does not appear to be valid.<br />';
if(!preg_match($string_exp,$last_name)) {
$error_message .= 'The Last Name you entered does not appear to be valid.<br />';
if(strlen($comments) < 2) {
$error_message .= 'The Comments you entered do not appear to be valid.<br />';
if(strlen($error_message) > 0) {

$email_message = "Form details below.nn";

function clean_string($string) {
  $bad = array("content-type","bcc:","to:","cc:","href");
  return str_replace($bad,"",$string);

$email_message .= "First Name: ".clean_string($first_name)."n";
$email_message .= "Last Name: ".clean_string($last_name)."n";
$email_message .= "Email: ".clean_string($email_from)."n";
$email_message .= "Subject: ".clean_string($subject)."n";
$email_message .= "Comments: ".clean_string($comments)."n";

//Email Subject (put here to include subject from form)
$email_subject = "SUBJECT | ".clean_string($subject)."";

// create email headers
$headers = 'From: '.$email_from."rn".
'Reply-To: '.$email_from."rn" .
'X-Mailer: PHP/' . phpversion();
@mail($email_to, $email_subject, $email_message, $headers);

<!-- include your own success html here -->

header("Location: thankyou.html");



It was a file permission issue.

All files on my website were set to a permission level of '644.' Once I changed the permission level to 705 (chmod 705) everything worked. Note that I changed it to 705, but 755 will also work. I also changed the folder it was in to 701 (to hide it, but still be executable by the server).

Aside: I still don't understand why my .PHP file worked on the other server when it was probably set to 644?? How could Apache execute the script without world permission?? Does Apache not need world permission?? Just a few questions I still have...

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
answered 7 Months ago

If you can access Linux server please edit /etc/httpd/conf.d/fcgid.conf file with vim.
Change FcgidIOTimeout 45 to FcgidIOTimeout 600.
Restart Apache.
Then Fast CGI timeout will be solved.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
answered 7 Months ago

on linux ubuntu

For PHP5: sudo apt-get install php5-cgi

For PHP7: sudo apt-get install php7.0-cgi

Saturday, May 29, 2021
answered 5 Months ago

You really should use the CLI version of PHP for this. You may be able to sneak around the CGI stuff by unsetting each of the environmental variables that are listed in the CGI specification.

$cmd = array();
// Explicitly clear CGI variables from the environment.  This relies on "E" being
// set in your
foreach ($_ENV as $k => $v) {
  if (preg_match(
    $cmd[] = "$k=''";
// Generates a command like: "GATEWAY_INTERFACE='' /usr/bin/php myscript.php"
$prefix = implode($cmd, ' ');
shell_exec("$prefix /usr/bin/php myscript.php");
Saturday, May 29, 2021
answered 5 Months ago


I thought this would be down to permissions so I gave everything 777 thinking that would account for everything. It turns out I gave to many permissions, directories need 755 and files need 644.

Hope this helps someone else.

Saturday, May 29, 2021
answered 5 Months ago
Only authorized users can answer the question. Please sign in first, or register a free account.
Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged :