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What is SSI?

What is SSI

The larger your website grows, the more difficult it becomes to manage. Just imagine trying to keep a 200 page site up to date with consistent content and navigation elements. When it comes to freehand coding, even 10 pages is often enough to give you the blues. It can be a hair-raising experience, but there are development tools able to simplify the process. One such is tool is SSI.

Server-side includes or SSI, is a more simplistic version of server-side scripting. The name says it all – SSI’s provide a way for an HTML server to insert one file inside another before delivering a web page to the browser. It can be described as using the server like a cut and paste editor as the process is simple and fast. When the information requires an update, all you have to do is edit the included file and any web pages referencing it will immediately reflect the changes.

The Benefits of SSI

SSI’s offer numerous benefits for website development including the following:

Seamless Integration: When using the proper syntax, SSI’s offer a seamless process completely transparent to the end-user. Because they are executed on the server-side, their use isn’t revealed when viewing the document source.

Easy to Use and Cost Effective: SSI’s make a great alternative to complex CGI scripting. Offering ease of use and the ability to code faster, they can dramatically reduce development time and ongoing maintenance costs.

Site Management: There is often a lot of information included into HTML documents whether it’s a copyright notice or a company’s name. This information usually needs to be inserted repeatedly which results in a heavy workload for large websites. Inserting the information page by page could also result in errors that take even more time to fix. SSI’s automate various tasks such as easily making changes to corresponding web pages, thus considerably reducing errors. All you have to do is change a single text file and all of your web pages are automatically updated.

Common Uses for Server-Side Includes

SSI’s are most commonly used to generate header, footer and navigation files for a website. The include file may consists of various elements such as text, graphics, Javascript or even active links. Headers usually contain information like a company logo or standard banner, name of a certain department or a search bar. A footer may contain something like a copyright notice or contact email address while the navigation menus normally contain your site’s top-level links which allows visitors to navigate easily through each page.

More developers are saving time on web creation and management thanks to SSI’s. This feature really comes in handy if you have a medium to large sized website that requires frequent updates. Server-side includes work seamlessly with popular development programs such Microsoft FrontPage and Dreamweaver – simply open the text file, make the needed edits, save it and you’re done. Keep in mind that in order to enjoy all the benefits, your web hosting provider must have server-side includes installed and enabled on their server.

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    15th January 2009
    Posted by Web Hosting Consultant in Best Web Hosting Tips

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