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Manual Reference Pages  -  SSI (8)


ssi - server-side-includes CGI program






This is an external CGI program that gives you the same functionality as the built-in server-side-includes feature in some HTTP daemons. It is written for use with thttpd(8), but should be easy to adapt to other systems.

To use this program, first make sure it is installed in your server’s CGI area, and that CGI is enabled. Then set up your URLs with the path to the document you want parsed as the "pathinfo". That’s the part of the URL that comes after the CGI program name. For example, if the URL to this program is:

and the url for your document is:

then the compound URL that gives you the document filtered through the program would be:

The format description below is adapted from


All directives are formatted as SGML comments within the document. This is in case the document should ever find itself in the client’s hands unparsed. Each directive has the following format:

  <!--#command tag1="value1" tag2="value2" -->

Each command takes different arguments, most only accept one tag at a time. Here is a breakdown of the commands and their associated tags:
* config: The config directive controls various aspects of the file parsing. There are two valid tags:
o timefmt: gives the server a new format to use when providing dates. This is a string compatible with the strftime library call.
o sizefmt: determines the formatting to be used when displaying the size of a file. Valid choices are bytes, for a formatted byte count (formatted as 1,234,567), or abbrev for an abbreviated version displaying the number of kilobytes or megabytes the file occupies.
* include: Inserts the text of another document into the parsed document. The inserted file is parsed recursively, so it can contain server-side-include directives too. This command accepts two tags:
o virtual: Gives a virtual path to a document on the server.
o file: Gives a pathname relative to the current directory. ../ cannot be used in this pathname, nor can absolute paths be used.
* echo: Prints the value of one of the include variables (defined below). Any dates are printed subject to the currently configured timefmt. The only valid tag to this command is var, whose value is the name of the variable you wish to echo.
* fsize: prints the size of the specified file, subject to the sizefmt parameter to the config command. Valid tags are the same as with the include command.
* flastmod: prints the last modification date of the specified file, subject to the formatting preference given by the timefmt parameter to config. Valid tags are the same as with the include command.


A number of variables are made available to parsed documents. In addition to the CGI variable set, the following variables are made available:
* DOCUMENT_NAME: The current filename.
* DOCUMENT_URI: The virtual path to this document (such as /~robm/foo.shtml).
* QUERY_STRING_UNESCAPED: The unescaped version of any search query the client sent.
* DATE_LOCAL: The current date, local time zone. Subject to the timefmt parameter to the config command.
* DATE_GMT: Same as DATE_LOCAL but in Greenwich mean time.
* LAST_MODIFIED: The last modification date of the current document. Subject to timefmt like the others.


Does not implement the "exec" directive. Actually, I consider this neither a bug nor a deficiency, but some may.


thttpd(8), strftime(3)


Copyright � 1995 by Jef Poskanzer <>. All rights reserved.
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--> SSI (8) 18 October 1995

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