Login needed-access restricted pages

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Can someone explain to me or at le3ast point me the right place to look?
Keep in mind though HTML standard stuff I can do, this is all foreign to

I want to have a login page that refers to a list of valid IDs (or however
it is handled) to allow access to a couple of web pages that would be
viewable to only a successful login.  

How is all of this handled?  Would I manually have to put the user's ID or
email address into a list (probably best in this case) or could the
process be automated too, like craigslist does in sending you an email &
you have to click on the link to validate yourself?

Yea I know I am getting into some heavier stuff here, but I've got to
learn this.  

Here is a snipit of code I grabbed from a page that has a login. The part
I have excerpted isn't that long.  Probably draws from a list manually
inputted into by someone.   I don't understand it, so I can't even
copy-paste.  If you have some time, could explain please - how does it
work?  Thanks in advance,.
<!--start login table-->
<table width="200" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3">
<tr><form name=login>
<td class="mainfont"><b>Username:</b></td><td><select name=memlist>
<option value='x'>Select Your Name
<option value='VIP User|39687|MPQHSEGX'>VIP User
<tr><td class="mainfont"><b>Password:</b></td><td><input type=password
size=10 maxlength=8 name=pass>
<tr><td colspan=2 align=center><input type=button value="Login"
<tr><td colspan=2 class="mainfont">Please use the above form to
login.<br><br>If you do not have a user name and password, please us the
<a href="contact.html"><b>Contact</b></a> page to "request a user name and

<script language="JavaScript" src="/js/member_login.js">


Re: Login needed-access restricted pages

...D. wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

You're right, this is beyond the scope of HTML. You're basically asking
about something which requires server-side processing. Depending on what
  your server provides, you could do this in ASP, PHP, Perl, or a few
other alternatives. For simple things like validating against a list of
users, any of these languages would be very easy to pick up assuming you
have some competence with programming languages in general.

e.g. http://www.php.net/manual/en/tutorial.php for a simple PHP tutorial.


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