What Is SSI Scripting?


Angela Bailey

SSI (Server Side Includes) scripting is a powerful tool that allows you to include dynamic content in your web pages. It enables you to insert snippets of code or text into your HTML documents, which are then processed by the web server before being sent to the client’s browser. This can be incredibly useful for tasks such as including common header and footer sections, dynamically generating content based on user input, or executing server-side scripts.

What can SSI do for you?

SSI provides several benefits that make it a valuable tool for web developers. Here are some of its key features:

  • Simplicity: SSI is easy to implement and requires no additional software or plugins. It is supported by most web servers, including Apache and Nginx.
  • Code Reusability: With SSI, you can create reusable code snippets that can be included in multiple pages, making it easier to maintain and update your website.
  • Dynamic Content: SSI allows you to display dynamic content on your web pages.

    For example, you can include the current date and time or display a random quote each time the page is loaded.

  • File Inclusion: You can use SSI to include the contents of external files within your HTML documents. This is particularly useful for including common elements like headers, footers, navigation menus, or sidebars across multiple pages.

Using SSI in HTML

To use SSI in your HTML documents, you need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Create an .shtml file: To enable SSI on your server, save your HTML file with a .shtml extension instead of .html.
  2. Enable SSI: Instruct the server to process SSI directives by adding the following line of code at the top of your HTML file: <!--#include virtual="ssi-config.shtml" -->. Replace “ssi-config.shtml” with the path to your server-side configuration file.
  3. Add SSI directives: Insert SSI directives within your HTML code using the following syntax: <!--#directive parameter="value" -->.

    For example, to include an external file, use <!--#include virtual="header.html" -->.

  4. Upload and test: Upload your .shtml file to your server and test it in a browser. The server will process the SSI directives and include the dynamic content before sending it to the client.

Common SSI Directives

SSI supports various directives that enable you to perform different tasks. Here are some commonly used directives:

  • <!–#include virtual=”file” –>: Includes an external file within your HTML document.
  • <!–#echo var=”variable_name” –>: Displays the value of a server variable, such as the current date, time, or user’s IP address.
  • <!–#set var=”variable_name” value=”new_value” –>: Sets the value of a server variable for later use in the document.
  • <!–#if expr=”expression” –>: Executes a block of code conditionally based on the specified expression.
  • <!–#exec cmd=”command” –>: Executes a server-side command or script and includes its output in the document.


SSI scripting is a powerful tool that allows you to enhance your HTML documents with dynamic content. It offers simplicity, code reusability, and the ability to include external files, making it an essential tool for web developers. By incorporating SSI directives into your HTML code, you can create more interactive and engaging web pages.

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