Useful Scripts

One of the fun parts of having a website is making it interactive, which also serves to attract repeat visitors. Below are some of the most useful CGI and PHP scripts, and all of them are free. Before trying any of them out, especially the CGI ones, take a look at this script tips tutorial.

Include
Not exactly a downloadable script, like the rest on this list, but a very time-saving way to use PHP or SSI yourself. Instead of having a dozen pages all with the same HTML headers and footers, updating each one every time you make a change, have just one header and footer linked seamlessly to each page. You'll only need to edit one file and the changes will be reflected on every page.

FormMail
Probably the most popular script of them all, Matt Wright's FormMail collects information via a form on your website, and sends it to your email account. The reason I am not providing a link to it is because it has several security issues, and many hosts have banned it from their servers altogether, so I don't really recommend it.

PHP Mail Form
This script does the same thing as the one above, collects information via a form and sends it to your email account, but it is a PHP script, rather than CGI, and is without the security holes of FormMail. I recommend it as an alternative.

Greymatter
A popular journal/weblogging CGI script. GreyMatter is very simple to set up, customize and use. It is more often than not preferred over Blogger because it runs off your own server. Outsourcing your scripts can be notoriously unreliable.

b2
Another weblog script, one that uses PHP and MySQL. b2 runs a little faster than Greymatter, and doesn't use up all the resources of the server it's on. Greymatter can sometimes use a bit much of the server's processing power, so b2 is a good alternative to consider. It's just as easy to use.

MegaBook
One of the best guestbooks out there. It's a breeze to set up and customize, even if you've never used CGI before, and is very versatile with lots of admin options.

phpMyAdmin
This script is a must have if you're going to be using MySQL databases with your scripts. It is a PHP script that handles the administration of one or more MySQL servers over the web. Unless your script handles the creation of MySQL data tables itself, or you know how to do it via Telnet, check it out.

Forums
If you're looking for a fast and friendly forum/bulletin board script and can't afford vBulletin or UBB, try out phpBB, which is free. It uses PHP and MySQL. Another pretty good free forum is Ikonboard, a CGI based forum that supports MySQL, so runs faster and better than most CGI forums.