The UNIX Finger service can be used to provide a form of user directory service. After you have installed the finger service, remote users will have the ability to query user profiles on your Virtual Private Server. User profiles include information such as full name, login name, home directory, as well as the contents of the .plan, .project, or .forward files. The .plan, .project, and .forward files (if they exist) must be located in each of your users home directories.


To install the finger CGI on your Virtual Private Server you will need to do the following:

  1. Download the Finger Form
    You will need to download the Finger Remote User on Remote Host form HTML source and store it somewhere in your ~/www/htdocs directory structure. Feel free to customize the form, add graphics, etc. But be sure that the variable name for each input field is not altered.

  2. Install the CGI
    Connect to your Virtual Private Server via Telnet or SSH and run this command:

    % tar xvf /usr/local/contrib/finger.tar

    This will install the and files into your www/cgi-bin/library/finger directory.

  3. Customize the Appearance of the CGI
    Two subroutines in the file are used to print out header and footer information. These functions are print_header_info and print_footer_info. Feel free to modify these functions such that the CGI outputs pages that are in synch with the motifs of the rest of your site.


Once you have completed the installation successfully, you will have a finger form like the one shown below (simulated).


Please note: the information on this page applies to ITS web hosting plans. It may or may not apply to other environments. If you are looking for a feature described here, or better support from your hosting provider, please consider hosting your site with ITS!

1555 N Naperville/Wheaton Road, Suite 107
Naperville, IL 60563
phone 630.420.2550
fax 630.420.2771