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Now, whenever anyone views pages containing those directives, server will place contents of text files in appropriate place and viewer will see header and footer. Whenever a change is needed within header or footer, only ONE file needs to be edited, text file. All of pages using that file will be "automatically" updated. Changing copyright date or address or phone number on every page of your web site will now take only 30 seconds because only one file has to be edited!
The easiest way to do this is to create a web page with everything you'd like to have on it. Those parts that will recur on every other page are where you will use SSI. All you have to do is "cut & paste" all of html that will be used on each page, pasting it into a text file. Where you "cut" html, replace it with directive, such as:
Do same thing for footer, if needed. Save HTML files using SSI with extension ".shtml". Also, depending on how your server is set up with your host, you may have to make sure text file is in same directory as .shtml file.
This also makes initial design and development of web sites go much smoother. You can now have a "template" for each page using header and footer directive, then simply add content in between for each page.
I guarantee that this little trick will save you hours and hours of tedious work. As I stated at beginning, if you've been through these "simple" edits before, you will need very little convincing!
Steve Wood provides web site design and hosting for small businesses. Visit Wood Interactive at http://www.personalkey.com and request a FREE analysis of your web site. Questions pertaining to the use of SSI as described in the above article can be directed to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.