No-Frames Navigation System
Using Server Side Includes

Server Side Includes are a powerful tool for webmasters hosted by systems using the Apache server software. It allows you to add intelligence to your webpages without having to rely on client-side browser capabilities, but it can also easily be used even by non-prorgammers to insert the content of external files into your webpages.

The contents of the menu seen below on the left is actually stored in a separate HTML file. You can update the navigation on your whole site, just by editing this single external file. Its even easier than using frames because you don't have to worry about the TARGET attribute, and you can add links to pages outside your own site without having to worry about them loading inside your frameset.


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Menu File Examples:

Server Side Includes

External JavaScript


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How To Replace Frames
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To impliment Server Side Includes, you need to be on an Apache-based server. To check which software is running on the server that hosts your site, use my Server Response Header Checker and enter the URL for your website. The information returned by your server will include the name of the server software. If it mentions 'Apache', you're in business. If it mentions Microsoft, you'll need to investigate the tools they make available.

If you are running on an Apache-based server, you can proceed. You just need to make sure that your pages will be pre-scanned by the Apache server software for server directives before they are sent to the user. Ordinarily, Apache will only scan pages that use the '.shtml' file name extension. But you can add an '.htaccess' file to the root directory of your site and include an instruction that will tell Apache to scan other file types. I recommend adding the following lines to your new or existing .htaccess file:

Options +Includes
Options +FollowSymLinks
AddHandler server-parsed .htm .html

This code tells Apache two important things: (1) Enable Server Side Includes, and (2) Scan files ending in either '.htm' or '.html' for server directives.

Then you can add the directive to include your menu file by adding the following code to your HTML pages:

<!--#include virtual="menu.html" -->

That's all. Just change the filename to the one you use for your HTML file that contains the code for your menu and upload it all to your site.

This page was last modified on February 20, 2015

Copyright © 2005-2018 by Richard L. Trethewey - Rainbo Design Minneapolis. It's not that I think this is such an earth-shatteringly great presentation, but if you want to copy it, I'd appreciate it if you would ask for permission. I've been working with computers for over 30 years now, and one phrase keeps popping into my head - "I hate it when it's right!" And laptops and smartphones are no better.

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