Postcard Direct FAQ

Last updated: 13 May 2003


How to Questions
Configuration Issues
Mail Issues
Administration Issues
General Issues

How To Questions

Q. How do I specify more than one image for the postcard?

You can use the object parameter for this purpose. You would specify something like:


Then in your templates, you specify the second image using the object tag, eg:

<img src="<pd_object>" alt="This is the second image">

In PD version 5.3.0 and above, there are four free form fields that can be used. So to specify three images for a postcard, you can do something like:


Then in your templates, you specify other the images using the field tag, eg:

<img src="<pd_field1>" alt="This is the second image">
<img src="<pd_field2>" alt="This is the third image">

Q. If I'm only using one Postcard design, can I remove the design option from the Postcard form?

Short answer, yes.

You can either use the form-basic.html template, or remove the following lines from the postcard form:

 <td><b>Postcard Design:<b><td>
  <select name="design">

Q. Where do I need to place my postcard images?

PD can use any image on your website as a postcard, so you don't need to place them in any special location.

Q. How do I change the colours in the postcard design and/or form?

The colours are all defined in the stylesheet pd.css. This default stylesheet used whenever the templates include the special tag <pd_stylesheet>.

Alternatively, you can remove the <pd_stylesheet> tag, and specify the colours through HTML,
eg: <body bgcolor="#ffee00">.

Configuration Issues

Q. I get an error message telling me a configuration file or image is not found.

The main cause is an incorrect path defined for $TopLevel in the default.txt configuration file and/or $pdroot in the pdglobal.txt configuration file.

Quite often this is due to getting URL's and directory paths confused. Please make sure you read through the definitions to make sure you are specifying the correct values.

Also, please read the entry below.

Q. What is my full directory path?

The diagnostics section of the error message will display the full path to the script. If you need to display this, just use a dummy parameter to the script, eg:


The diagnostics section will have an entry for "Full Directory path to this script", for example:

Full Directory path to this script: /home/users/peter/web/cgi-bin/pd 

Using the above example, you would need to update /cgi-bin/pd/pdglobal.txt with:


and edit /cgi-bin/pd/configs/default.txt and set:


Note that you cgi-bin directory maybe located outside the directory where your web documents are stored, in which case you will need to add the directory name to the end of the path, eg: public_html, www, htdocs etc.

Remember that directory paths do not start with http://

Q. Why does the script tell me that the image I specified can not be found when I know it exists?

Make sure that you don't specify relative paths for your images, eg: ../images/photo.jpg or images/photo.jpg.
Always use the full path, eg: /pd/images/photo.jpg to save any confusion.

Make sure that you use absolute paths for everything, ie: all paths and URL's should start with a /. If the postcard appears with a broken image link, you can be almost certain it is because a relative path is being used.

Q. Why do my images appear as broken images or I can't hear the midi files?

Have you put your images and midi files in the cgi-bin directory? In 99% of cases, web servers are configured so that no files are viewable in the cgi-bin (or equivalent) directory.

Q. What does the message "Maybe you didn't strip carriage returns after a network transfer" mean?

The end of line character varies between Unix, Windows and Macintosh systems. If a text file is being transfered (usually by FTP), from one system to another, it is important that the end of line character is converted. Most of the time this is done automatically by your FTP client when you transfer text files in ASCII mode. However, some FTP clients like CuteFTP seem to have problems if you upload/download the file a few times and multiple end of line characters get added. In these cases, the option is to extract the file from the source and try uploading again.

Using the Administration Interface eliminates these problems, and is recommended particularly for editing the configuration files.

Mail Issues

Q. Why does the SMTP server I've specified say it can't relay mail?

If you can only send postcards to email addresses within your domain, it means that your SMTP server is not set up to relay mail from your server. Contact your administrator and ask them to add your webserver into the list of hosts allowed to relay mail.

Q. I'm using the sendmail option and everything seems to be sending fine, but I never receive the postcard. What could be causing this?

There are too many areas to list here, but narrowing down the problem is very useful. Try using SMTP as this will give you much better error/diagnostic messages.

Postcard Administration Issues

Q. Why do I get the message "Looks like cookies are disabled" or "Not Authorised or session has timed out" when I do have them enabled and I try to login?

The most likely cause is that the time difference between your webserver and PC is out by more than one hour. If you can not correct the time, then increase the cookie timeout by editing pdglobal.txt and changing $expiry (Default is 1 hour).

Q. How do I reset the username/password for the admin interface?

The Admin menu has an option to change the password. However, if you have forgotten the password, or want to change the admin user, you will need to manually edit cgi-bin/pd/admin/auth to read:


The next time you access the admin page, you will be prompted to specify the username and password you want to use.

General Issues

Q. What should the permissions be set to?

If you haven't used the Auto-installer, see the section Setting Permissions in the PD documentation for a list of permissions.

Note that in a very small number of cases, the Auto-installer can't set the permissions on Unix servers and you will have to do it manually. Permissions on Windows servers need to be set by the Administrator.

Q. When I try to run PD, I get the message %1 is not a valid Win32 application.. What does this mean?

This means your server is running Microsoft IIS webserver and has not been configured to allow CGI scripts that end in .cgi. Either get your service provider to update the server configuration, or in a lot of cases, renaming the .cgi scripts to have a .pl extention.

Q. Everything seems to be working fine, but I am getting warning/error messages displayed. How do I supress these?

You can supress the errors by editing pd.cgi and commenting out the line:

use CGI::Carp qw(carpout fatalsToBrowser);

Q. What could be causing a "500 internal server error" when I try to run the script?

You should look in your web server error log to see what the error is (if you have access to it). This error can be caused by some of the following:

  1. No execute permission on the script.
  2. The script is in the wrong directory for CGI scripts to run.
  3. Your web server doesn't support CGI scripts.
  4. The script being corrupted.
  5. Incorrect path to perl.
  6. The script has been FTPed in the wrong mode. Some FTP clients like WS-FTP have an Auto mode which is supposed to automatically select ASCII or BINARY mode. Note that this is not always reliable, so any scripts and non binary files should be uploaded in ASCII mode.


Q. Where can I get support for Postcard Direct?

Use the Support Forums

Q. What if the information I send/request is of a confidential nature (eg: FTP username/password)?

In these instances, send the information by email to

Return to documentation