I was wondering what would be the best method for creating a web end for interfacing with a C++ program on the server. At first I simply thought just using shell execution from the web server side language (like shell_exec() in PHP), but I was wondering if there is a "better" way. Maybe something more native or is this a bad practice for some reason?

  • Should be on stackoverflow not here AFAIK. Might be wrong though.
    – Guillaume
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 4:39
  • 4
    I figured it would be better on programmers.SE because it is more theoretical and doesn't really require a code based answer. This is more based on the ideas surrounding achieving this task, not an exact method of how to do it.
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 4:46

3 Answers 3


Web programming with C++ has pretty much gone out of style. The traditional way to do it was with CGI. See here for a tutorial.

Or you can add an embedded webserver like mongoose

However, I think it's easiest to use PHP's passthru. For example, on one of my sites I have a C++ program that generates images, to display the images I do:


header("content-type: image/png"); 

$temp = $_GET["temp"];
$rain = $_GET["rain"];

passthru("/home/rrabien/marker $temp $rain")

  • This looks pretty good to me, thanks for the passthru function. I had never heard of that one. All in all this is what I had originally had in mind, but its good to know that this is really the best way to achieve what I desired. Thanks FigBug.
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 5:41
  • Do NOT use passthru without correctly escaping input, or you're asking to be hacked. Read this link: acunetix.com/websitesecurity/php-security-1.htm Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 18:18
  • This is how I do it, but I use django. Instead of passing through to the c++ application directly, I have a python wrapper for either launching my c++ app, or communicating through IPC or network with a daemon using some internal api.Works really well. Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 18:57

Wt, the C++ web toolkit is a library with a set of classes that make it much easier to add a web interface of any complexity to a C++ program. It focuses on the web interface aspects only, and is otherwise non-intrusive to your program.


I'm sure there are compilable web framework out there for C/C++. However, I'm not familiar with any.

What I am familiar with is the ease of which you can extend Python with C/C++. I believe it can be made even simpler by using SWiG. Given that Python has a plethora of web frameworks this may be an option for you.

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