Crafting a Simple Website with C++ as Your Server-Side Language

When you think of web development, C++ may not be the first language that springs to mind. However, for educational or experimental purposes, you can indeed create a straightforward website using C++ as the server-side language. In this blog post, we're embarking on a journey to build a basic website with C++, employing the FastCGI library.

Why Choose C++ for Web Development?

Before we delve into the technical intricacies, you might be wondering why anyone would opt for C++ in web development when there are more popular and specialized languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, and JavaScript. Well, there are several compelling reasons:

  1. Educational Purposes: Utilizing C++ for web development can serve as a fantastic educational endeavor, offering insights into the inner workings of web servers and HTTP protocols at a low level.

  2. Experimentation: If you happen to be a C++ enthusiast, embarking on the journey of building a web server in C++ can be a delightfully challenging and enjoyable project.

  3. Specific Use Cases: In certain scenarios, C++ might be the ideal choice. This is especially true when you need to seamlessly integrate existing C++ codebases with web interfaces.

Setting Up Your Environment

Before we begin, ensure that you have FastCGI installed on your system. Typically, you can install it with a package manager like apt or yum on Linux.

Project Structure

Let's start with a quick look at the basic structure of our project:

├── webserver.cpp
├── index.html
└── CMakeLists.txt

Writing the C++ Code

Now, let's delve into the C++ code (webserver.cpp):

#include <iostream>
#include <fcgiapp.h>

int main() {
    while (FCGI_Accept() >= 0) {
        // Print HTTP headers
        std::cout << "Content-type: text/html\r\n\r\n";

        // Your HTML content
        std::cout << "<html><head><title>My C++ Web Server</title></head><body>";
        std::cout << "<h1>Hello from C++ Web Server!</h1>";
        std::cout << "<p>This is a basic example of a C++ web server.</p>";
        std::cout << "</body></html>";

    return 0;

Creating an HTML File

Next, we need to craft an HTML file (index.html) that our C++ web server will serve:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>My C++ Web Server</title>
    <h1>Welcome to My C++ Web Server</h1>
    <p>This is the homepage of our C++ web server.</p>

Building the Project

To compile the project, we'll employ CMake. Create a CMakeLists.txt file:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.0)

add_executable(webserver webserver.cpp)

# Link against the FastCGI library
target_link_libraries(webserver fcgi)

To compile the project, open your terminal, navigate to the project directory, and run these commands:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

Running the Web Server

Finally, it's time to set your C++ web server in motion:


Now, open your web browser and navigate to localhost:8080 (or the port you specified in your code). Voila! You should behold the simple HTML content served by your C++ web server.


C++ may not be the conventional choice for web development, but it certainly can play the role of a web server in the realm of education and experimentation. In this blog post, we've illustrated the journey of crafting a modest website with C++ as the server-side language, employing the FastCGI library. While this project serves as a rudimentary starting point, real-world web development typically leans toward more specialized languages and frameworks. Nevertheless, delving into web development with C++ is an enlightening voyage into the inner workings of web servers and HTTP protocols.