What is Server Side Includes and its Benefits?

Posted by: WH13 Administrator on March 27, 2013 Under: Articles

SSI

What is Server Side Includes?

Server Side Includes or simply SSI is a server-side scripting programming language that is exclusively developed to be used for the web. It facilitates easy maintenance of files for every website in a web server and thus easy access to any information is facilitated. There are also other applications of SSI other than preserving and managing files, it may also be used to manage so many items in a website.

Server Side Includes
Picture 1 : Illustrate How Server Side Includes (SSI) Works

What is Server Side Includes for?

As mentioned, Server Side Includes has only one use which is scripting to create websites. But stemming from this use there are incredible tasks that may be performed when a website developer uses SSI to create sites. SSI is applied to a document in HTML to create real-time features for a site like displaying the current time, sending an email, updating a database without programming or CGI scripts and so on.

One major drawback in using SSI is that it is a Linux/Apache feature; Mac users can readily use it while people who use Windows on their PC have to find an equivalent version of Server Side Includes. You also need to test if your server accommodates SSI by running a simple server test.

Other important information about Server Side Includes:

Aside from managing your files from your webpage to your server, SSI also allows you to add a page header, footer or a navigation pane in your site. You may also add menus and optimized navigation in your site by following directives in SSI.

Server Side Includes only support texts and compared to other programming tools, it has a simple and uncluttered design. There are only several web servers that support SSI: Apache, Lighttpd, IIS and nginx.

It is necessary to learn by heart all common and control directives that are used in SSI. You will learn new terms in programming like tokens and sub tokens as well as echo, F size and so on.

If you are new to using Server Side Includes, there are so many sites that offer free tutorial lessons on how to begin using SSI. Usually it begins with determining if your server supports SSI and then initially managing files before you proceed to other trickier lessons like echoing IP addresses, displaying current date and submitting emails from your site.

Configuring your server is one of the most important things that an SSI user has to do to be able to use Server Side Includes. This is not actually a huge deal that will mess up all your files but will only make small changes from your system’s configuration files. And if this does not work since your host do not support SSI then you may want to consider looking for one that does so you can take advantage of these features for your site. You may also consider tutorials on manually enabling Server Side Includes on your server; this will only work when you are using a Linux or Apache server that supports this programming tool but currently do not have it enabled on your system.

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