Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Broken "contact us" form now fixed

Writing to us
On our Gite website we have a contact us rental enquiry form that potential guests can use to enquire about availability, prices, etc.

Unfortunately unbeknownst to me some time in the last few weeks when I'd been re-publishing the website after adding some recent bookings, some gremlins had crept into the system and broke the booking enquiry form.

This mean that if you tried to submit a booking enquiry you got back the ever-helpful message:

Internal Server Error

Could not execute script "/websites/123reg/LinuxPackage06/gi/te/in/"

suPHP 0.7.1

Good error message, eh?

Fortunately some very kind people who were trying to make a booking enquiry and received this error decided to call me to enquire about availability, and in the course of the conversation told me of the problem they'd had in using the website.

Fixing the problem took me only a few minutes because I realised that the CGI script that is used to transmit the booking enquiry to me needs to be "executable" and by FTPing to my website hosting provider I could see that it wasn't.
A non-executable script means that the web server couldn't run the script, and you get a really horrible error message if you try (as above).

FileZilla FTP allows you to change the permissions of any file quite easily so I set it to executable* and job done, everything worked perfectly and booking enquiries were coming through again.

In fact not only were booking enquiries coming through again but so was the trickle of spam messages I get from the website as well. It seems that whenever Spammers come across any submittable form on a website they can't resist filling it with rubbish, I guess on the hope that I will click on one of the links and earn them some money.

Within a few hours of fixing the contact us form I started getting spam booking enquiry messages again and I guess I should have realised beforehand that I wasn't getting any spam enquiries and that there was a problem with the form.

* If you are inclined and want to learn more about Unix/Linux file permissions then there are loads of resources out there on the internet. e.g. how linux file permissions work.



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