Why don't the SSI (Server Side Includes) I have set up on my web pages work?
SSI is a very useful feature of the Apache web server but there
are some common problems encountered in getting it to work. Problems
are usually caused by one of the following scenarios:
- Web pages not being accessed through the web server.
Problem: SSI is a feature of the web server and consequently
any SSI directives included in a web page only work when the page is
served up by the web server. For example if you are designing your web
pages in your home directory and viewing them by opening the HTML file
directory via your browsers "File/Open file..." menu option then the
includes will not do anything
Solution: Always upload your web pages to the web server when
using SSI directives.
- SSI not enabled in web server configuration file.
Problem: By default most Apache installations are not configured to
support SSI directives in web pages.
Solution: Edit your httpd.conf file to enable Includes. You
will typically find
this file in /etc/httpd/conf. The directive that needs to be set is as
- Web server not configured for
required file types.
Problem: In order to prevent every web page being scanned for the
presence of SSI directives (considered to be an unnecessary performance
overhead) the server must be configured so that it knows which filename
extensions typically require SSI processing.
Solution: Configure the server
to look for particular files that will include SSI directives. This can
be achieved in a number of ways:
- Apache can be configured to parse any file with a particular file
extension, such as
.shtml, with the following directives
in the http.conf file:
AddType text/html .shtml
AddHandler server-parsed .shtml
This is a great approach when you know in advance whether a page
needs to use server side includes or not but can be a problem if you
need to change an existing page since you would have to rename the page
to use the new filename extension and also change any links that point
to this file.
- Use the
XBitHack directive in the httpd.conf file:
XBitHack tells the Apache server to parse files for SSI
directives if they have the execute bit set. In other words, to add SSI
directives to an existing page, you simply need to make the file
executable using the
chmod command. For example:
chmod +x mypage.html
More detailed information on SSI and Apache can be found in the
Linuxtopia How to enable SSI
(Server Side Include) support on an Apache web server
How To Guide.