What Does FormMail Mean?

FormMail is a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script primarily written in the Perl programming language. It is an open-source Web server CGI script that can be used to capture and process form data and then mail the processed data to one or more set recipients. FormMail is available in many variants. The original FormMail script was written in Perl and created by Matt Wright. FormMail is generic and has many options for formatting and other operations. It is often used as a system-wide solution for giving users access to form data without any risk of free CGI access.


Techopedia Explains FormMail

FormMail is a CGI script that is used to process form data submitted via the ACTION tag of the HTML form element. The script retrieves the form data and constructs an email with the form data as content, and then sends it to a list of recipients set by the user.

The script makes use of many hidden fields to control the operation of the script. These hidden fields determine the recipients of the email and also set the subject and other meta information related to the email.

The basic functionalities of FormMail include:

  • Reading all form fields
  • Creating an email with the form fields as the content
  • Allowing the user to specify the recipient details in hidden fields
  • Allowing the user to specify the subject for the email using hidden fields
  • Allowing user to add CC, BCC and other mail-related details in the email and forward the mail to more than one recipient if needed

Some FormMail variants also provide the ability to add email attachments, spam prevention and many more features like CAPTCHA validation and saving the email to a database.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…