Handler: Server Side Includes

Server Side Includes, also known as SSI, are directives placed in HTML pages meant to be evaluated on the web server while the requests are being delivered. The intended use is adding some dynamic content to existing HTML pages without having to serve the whole content dynamically (be it through CGI, SCGI, FastCGI, etc.).

SSI are very useful to add small pieces of information, but are not the way to go if the majority of the content has to be generated at the time it is served. Traditionally the web server was notified that it should apply SSI when it processed files ending with the .shtml extension.

Although this will be the majority of cases where this can be of usefulness, Cherokee is not limited to just one file extension. The SSI handler applies to whatever is matched by the rule where it has been configured.

Currently Cherokee supports the following SSI directives:

  • include: this tag inserts the contents of a file. Both virtual and file includes can be performed. The former uses paths beginning at the Document Root, and the latter uses paths relative to the current directory.

  • fsize: inserts the size of a given file.

  • flastmod: inserts the last modification date of a given file.

In any of the above cases, the specified data is inserted into the HTML page at the location of the token.


A typical use would be using and include file for header and footer, allowing for an easy and fast way of updating the whole theme of a website. Only one header and footer file would have to be created, and that could be inserted through SSI in the rest of the pages with SSI directives like the following ones:

   <!--#include virtual="/header.html" -->
   <!--#include virtual="/footer.html" -->

Note that the include element can determine what file to include based on the virtual or file attributes, which have the behavior specified above. In any case, despite specifying absolute or relative paths containing .., the SSI handler will not include any files outside the webserver document root.