how can I get my CGI script to run with my own userid?

Posted on 1998-09-30
Last Modified: 2013-12-25
I've just moved my web site from one server to another.  They're both redhat linux boxes.  One the old server, when a visitor to my page caused my CGI script to run, it ran with my own userid, so the script was able to update log files and such like, but on the new server the script always runs as the 'nobody' user (which is the user who is running the httpd processes).  So how can I change it to run as myself?  I've been told that maybe using a .htaccess file would do it, but I've tried and failed.  The root user on the server is willing to change the server configuration if that's necessary, too.
Question by:Zwaxy
  • 3

Author Comment

ID: 1828887
This is my first question on expert exchange, so please be gentle with me.

Author Comment

ID: 1828888
This is my first question on expert exchange, so please be gentle with me.

Accepted Solution

jconde earned 60 total points
ID: 1828889

In order to run the cgi script with your user ID you must change the cgi's permissions:


chmod 755 cgi_script
chmod u+s cgi_script

the permissions should look like
-rwsrwxr-x   1 jorge    jorge      736061 Sep 24 15:51 buscar.cgi*

Now, if after doing that it fails, tell the sysadmin you have problems, and to check the httpd.conf file.

If you need a copy of my httpd.conf file, please email me to


Author Comment

ID: 1828890
I'm sorry.  I should have said I've already tried the setuid approach.  It doesn't seem to have any affect on the machine.  I don't have the ability to log on as 'nobody', but here are a couple of scripts I've made which are setuid to the 'nobody' account:

$ ls -l user[35].cgi
-rwsr-xr-x   1 nobody   nobody         53 Oct  1 05:29 user3.cgi
-rwsr-xr-x   1 nobody   nobody         52 Oct  1 05:34 user5.cgi
$ cat user3.cgi

echo 'Content-Type: text/html'
echo ''
$ ./user3.cgi
Content-Type: text/html

uid=513(marp) gid=514(marp) groups=514(marp)
$ cat user5.cgi

import posix

$ ./user5.cgi
uid=513(marp) gid=514(marp) groups=514(marp)

You'll notice that even when I run them from an interactive shell, the output of the 'id' command shows that the euid hasn't changed.  (The 'id' man page says: "By default, it prints the real user ID, real group ID, effective user ID if different from the real user ID,  effective  group ID if different  from the real group ID, and supplemental group IDs."

So I take it that setuid is disabled on this machine, and that this isn't anything to do with the httpd.conf.

Anyway, on the previous server I was using, I didn't have the scripts setuid, and they still ran as my own uid, even though the server was running as 'nobody'.  (And this probably *is* to do with the configuration of the server)...

I just looked in httpd.conf, and saw a reference to Apache docs on the web, which lead me to, which begins thusly: "The suEXEC feature -- introduced in Apache 1.2 -- provides Apache users the ability to run CGI and SSI programs under user IDs different from the user ID of the calling web-server."

So I guess I've found what I was looking for.  Now - what happens about the points here?  Your answer kindof helped, in that it lead me to find what I was looking for - so what grade would be fair?  Like I said, I'm new at this...

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