Install GeneWeb on a shared hosting account

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A shared hosting account have some restrictions :

  • Daemon mode is forbidden, or cannot be activated. So you must use CGI mode.
  • You must fit in the server environment : OS version, libraries, installed packages.
  • The OS version is generally a stable version, but not the latest version.

Download a GeneWeb package

Directories and files

The following applies to 1&1 hosting, and may differ on other hostings: Under the root directory where CGI scripts may run, we have : !File:captur477.jpg

The directories :

? Beside the CGI-root directory
mybases The bases directory
? In the CGI-root directory
basesxg An alternative bases directory
css A copy of the gw/css directory. This directory is used by the Apache server.
gw The gw directory of the Geneweb distribution

No change, except give the "exec" permission on the files gw/gwd, gw/gwsetup, and files used by gwsetup (gw/gwc*, gw/gwu,gw/consang, gw/update_nldb) The gwd.arg file is *empty*.

gwenv The gw directory of the Geneweb-5 distribution

On this web site, we can easily switch between the 2 last versions of GeneWeb.

igw The images directory for Geneweb-5
images A directory where copies of gw/images/gwback.jpg, gw/images/gwlogo_bas.png
pub A directory where are readable copies of the CGI scripts (this website is a demo site) :

launch Geneweb-5 launch Geneweb-6 check if Geneweb-6 can be launched

And the files :

issue6.cgi A test script which

- displays information about the environment in the server - checks the gwd binary file : size and md5sum

issue5.cgi The same script, but for the GeneWeb-5 version
gw6.cgi The CGI script which launches GenWeb-6
gw5.cgi The CGI script which launches GenWeb-5

Parameters of the CGI script


Main settings :

  • 1 get the CGI working directory
  • 2-7 set the main parameters
  • 5 $GENEWEBDB does not need to be accessed by the HTTP server.

It must be protected either by a .htaccess file, either by a location out of the HTTP server scope.

  • 7 a log file is useful when there are problems, but do not forget to delete it after downloading.
OPTIONS="-blang -robot_xcl 40,70 -max_clients 15 -conn_tmout 120 -min_disp_req 30 -images_url"
# -allowed_tags $GENEWEBDB/tags.txt

Options and launching

-robot_xcl to protect your data from HTTrack or WebSite Extractor
-conn_tmout for statistics on the bottom line
-images_url icons and images are not sent by GeneWeb, but par your HTTP server (not CGI).
-allowed_tags another useful option, if you use HTML tags not in default_good_tag_list
  • 3 cd $GENEWEBSHARE. I am not sure it is really needed.
  • 4 launch GeneWeb

An alternative installation on 1&1

Some general comments

Installing GeneWeb on a remote shared server is a little bit (but not that much) more complex than on a personal computer. GeneWeb is a totally self contained package, therefore does not depend on additional libraires. On a server, GeneWeb cannot execute in daemon mode (Unix aficionados will understand), and must be launched in CGI mode. To that extent, a server based installation requires prior installation of a (standard) HTTP server (typically Apache), access to the CGI repository of this server and some control over the access rights to the various folders and files. Installing or verifying your HTTP server is not part of this discussion.

A second restriction of GeneWeb on a server is that gwsetup cannot be used (mainly for security reasons). It is therefore necessary to use command lines on the remote server through a ssh window or any other remote access tool of your choice. It is also necessary to have access to a upload mechanism from your personal machine to the server through classical Unix/Linux command lines, or through a ftp client such as Filezilla. A section below will describe in detail a shell script performing upload to the server of a complete fresh copy of a base sitting on your personal computer.

Folders and files

The first important file for your installation is the welcome page of your HTTP server, by default index.html sitting at the root of your server. After personalization of this welcome page, you should verify that you can view it by typing the name (or IP address) of your server in the URL window of your browser.

The second important item is the CGI folder containing the executable files invoqued through URLs. This folder is typically called cgi-bin and also sits at the root of your HTTP server. If this folder contains the following executable file named

echo '<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN"   '
echo '   "">  '
echo '<html xmlns="">  '
echo '<body>'
echo 'This is a test for cgi commands'
echo '</body>'
echo '</html>'

then typing


the text This is a test for cgi commands should appear in your browser window.

You must reach this level of functionality to proceed.

At the root of your server, create two additional folders GeneWeb and Documents.

  • The first folder will contain all GeneWeb related files (binaries, bases, images, ...) and need not or should not be accessible with the HTTP server,
  • The second folder will contain any other documents that you may want to share with the visitors of your site.

At this time, we have the following situation:

(uiserver):u72332903:~ > cd
(uiserver):u72332903:~ > ls -al
total 554088
drwx---r-t 23 u72332903 ftpusers      4096 Oct  7 06:58 .
drwxr-xr-t  7 root      root          4096 Oct 23 00:21 ..
-rw-------  1 u72332903 ftpusers      8319 Oct 10 09:30 .bash_history
drwxr-xr-x  3 u72332903 ftpusers      4096 Sep 24 21:24 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 10 u72332903 ftpusers      4096 Sep 24 21:24 GeneWeb
drwxr-xr-x  3 u72332903 ftpusers      4096 Oct  7 06:58 cgi-bin
-rw-r--r--  1 u72332903 ftpusers      3535 May 22 14:30 index.html
-rw-r--r--  1 u72332903 ftpusers        27 Nov  6  2013 robots.txt
(uiserver):u72332903:~ >