A telnet program will allow you to open a text-only window into a UNIX machine on the internet. Of course, the machine must be configured to allow outside access, and you need an account on that machine. Once you open an telnet connection to a machine, your keyboard and telnet window become the keyboard and monitor of that computer, even if it is thousands of miles away. You can then type commands to move files, run programs, and edit files (with a keyboard only editor) on that machine.
You will need a telnet program.
In most telnet programs you will find an option called CONNECT (usually under the FILE menu). Simply choose that option, and enter the URL of your server. After a moment, a login prompt should appear.
If you cannot connect to your server, you may not have privileges. Most of the large internet providers do not allow telnet access for security and system stability reasons. You should e-mail your system administrator and ask if telnet access is allowed, and if so, what address should you connect to?
If you do not have telnet access to your provider you will not be able to create CGI scripts on that server. Fortunately, you can rent space for telnet-only access on another server for relatively little. The best deal I have found so far is at http://www.hardlink.com . They charge $100 for a year, which includes 15 MB of disk space, and full CGI access. Also, I use hardlink to host all of the webteacher.com pages, so all of the examples are sure to work on that server.
In general, if your career is in any way related to web mastering, you will need CGI privileges sooner or later. $100/year is very little when compared to the value of your increased skills once you learn to write CGIs. Think of it as school supplies, this is something you need in order to learn.
NOTE: I do not work for Hardlink, I just really want to see my readers