How to Update Multiple Web Pages Using Server Side Includes

SSI (Server Side Include) is a simple and robust way to include common content in multiple pages. In a similar way to the client-side JavaScript method, SSI involves having a separate file which contains the content you wish to appear on multiple pages. To update the content, you only need to edit a single file.

Pros:

  1. Server-side is safer than client-side (it doesn't rely on any browser settings).
  2. Updates are very fast and easy.

Cons:

  1. Slight performance overhead at the server end (every SSI page needs to be processed by the server before it is served to the user).
  2. You usually need to use a special extension for web pages, e.g. .shtml.
  3. The server must support Server Side Includes (most Apache servers do).

Step 1: Create the SSI File

Create a plain text document and name it with a .txt extension, for example navigation.txt. Save this file in a folder which is accessible from your whole website. You may want to make a special folder for this type of file, e.g. /includes/.

Into this file, enter the content you want to be displayed on every page, for example:

<div style='color:blue; font-size:12pt;'>
<a href="page1.shtml">Page 1</a> | <a href="page2.shtml">Page 2</a> | <a href="page3.shtml">Page 3</a>
</div>

Step 2: Insert the SSI Code into Your Pages

On each page, at the point where you want to the content to appear, place the following code:

<!--#include virtual="/includes/navigation.txt" -->

To update the content, simply edit the main SSI file and all pages will automatically update.


Notes:

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