SSI

The abbreviation SSI stands for the Server Side Includes function, which can be used to display information dynamically within an HTML document. In addition, CGI programs can be started and integrated into the page. Thus, server side includes can increase the functionality of a website by running the program on the web server before the file is routed to the browser.

Background

SSI was initially introduced as a module for the Apache HTTP Server to provide sites with more features. Today, the function is often part of modern web design and can also be used by numerous other server types. Before you use SSI, however, you should ensure that the server concerned, supports this function to avoid malfunctions.

Functions

Using SSI, various information can be dynamically integrated into a website. A few examples are given below. It is important for the implementation of SSI that the provider also supports this function and the corresponding files have the suffixes .shtml, .shtm or .sht and not .htm or .html. Otherwise, websites will be displayed incorrectly because the server cannot read the instructions.

The basic form of SSI commands looks like this:

<!--#command parametername1="value" parametername2="value" -->

In these examples, the command is already implemented:

  • Inserting dates: This can be used to show that a website is up to date.
Example:
<!--#order parametername1="value" parametername2="value" -->


  • Copyright and dynamic date: Once inserted, this data does not need not be permanently updated.
Example:
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 


  • Notes on updates: For users, such as bots it is a useful function that shows how current the page in question is.
Example:
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 


  • Referrer: In this case, a “back” function can be inserted with SSI, with which the user can return to the previous page.
Example:
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 


  • Counter: Using the exec command, a counter can be inserted into the HTML document via SSI.
Example:
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 


  • Inserting of the web address when an HTML document is saved as a website.
URL:
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 


  • Inserting text blocks, for example for navigation
 <! - # command parametername1 = "value" parametername2 = "value" -> 

Benefits for SEO

SSI functions have neither a positive nor a negative effect on search engine optimization. Due to ever-increasing server speed, crawlers can now easily deal with SSI. However, it should be noted that the document transmission changes when data for SSI is stored. To avoid loss of link juice, the old files should be redirected to the new ones using the htaccess file.

An advantage, however, that can be achieved with SSI is the simple dynamic updating of website content. It is also possible to show with SSI that a website is up to date. Since the Freshness Update, both elements can be important for ranking in the SERPs, making SSI in this case a positive factor for SEO.

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