apache tutorial - How to use Server-Side Includes (SSI) Apache - apache - apache web server - apache server - apache2

  • You can use Server-Side Includes to add dynamic content to web pages, reuse HTML code, and more.
  • As the name "Server-Side Includes" implies, content is generated on the server, whereas client-side technologies (such as JavaScript) generate content on users' computers.

Enabling server-side includes

  • On our shared servers, Server-Side Includes are enabled by default for files that have a .shtml extension.
  • However, you may want to use Server-Side Includes with other types of files, such as .html or .htm files.
  • To do this, create an .htaccess file in your account's document root (public_html) directory, or in the subdirectory where you want to use Server-Side Includes.
  • Add the following text to the .htaccess file:
Options +Includes
AddType text/html .html
AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .html
AddType text/html .htm
AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .htm
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  • These directives demonstrate how to enable Server-Side Includes for files that have a .html or .htm extension, but you can easily add other file extension types as well.

Using server-side includes

  • You can use Apache Server-Side Includes in a variety of scenarios.

Displaying a page modification timestamp

  • One of the most common visible uses of SSI is displaying when a page was last modified.
  • The following HTML snippet demonstrates one way to do this:
<em>Page last modified on <!--#echo var="LAST_MODIFIED" --></em>
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Page last modified on Thursday, 20-Feb-2014 12:37:34 EST
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Reusing HTML

  • Another common use of SSI is reusing HTML (such as for a header or footer) in multiple pages.
  • For example, you may have HTML code for a footer that you want to include in every page on your web site.
  • You could copy this HTML manually to each page, but what happens when you want to make a change to the footer? You would have to edit each file individually.
  • SSI provides an easy solution to this problem. Continuing our example, you can create a footer.html page that contains the footer code, and then reference the footer.html file in your web site pages by using the following HTML snippet:
<!--#include virtual="footer.html" -->
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  • Now the footer code is centralized in one location (the footer.html file), and all you have to do is add an SSI include directive to each page.
  • When you modify code in the footer.html file, every page that includes it is updated automatically.

Using conditional expressions

  • You can use conditional expressions in SSI to add basic flow control to your web pages.
  • These conditional expressions work similarly to conditional statements in other programming languages.
  • For example, the following HTML snippet demonstrates how to display different text based on the current date:
<!--#if expr="$DATE_LOCAL = /^Saturday/ || $DATE_LOCAL = /^Sunday/" -->
<p>It's the weekend!</p>
<!--#else -->
<p>It's not the weekend…</p>
<!--#endif -->
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  • If the $DATE_LOCAL variable's value begins with Saturday or Sunday, then the page displays It's the weekend! Otherwise, the page displays It's not the weekend

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