Includes killing my page load time

I’ve used various sorts of includes in the past…and I don’t recall having this issue then (though maybe I did and that’s why I went the tedious route).

I have a site where the header, top navigation, a side bar, and the footer are the same on all pages. And, like most people, I would like to make a change to one file when something changes in one of those rather than to All The Files.

I have pretty much no coding knowledge outside of HTML and CSS. (I just use google and what understanding I have of coding in general–cos I have played with BASIC and with VB in the past for fun and I handcode all my pages because I consider that fun and easier to keep the code clean–to figure out how to make things happen if necessary.)

If I don’t use any sort of includes and use the .html file extension, the pages load just fine.

If I don’t use any sort of includes (seriously, I took them out, one at a time, to see if it had to do with quantity of includes) but use the .php file extension, the pages load really slowly.

If I use either SSI (with the .shtml extension) or php includes (with the .php extension), the load time is so slow that it makes me want to cry.

I’ve tried all methods via Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Opera with the same results.

I’ve put the index page to straightforward HTML, no includes, so that there’s at least that running well whilst I sleep tonight.

I’ve left the rest of the pages as php includes with .php extensions (because I should sleep/find an answer before I undo all my work). So you can click any link from the index page to have the fun experience of waiting.

I’ve created one page (that has been my SSI sandbox tonight and that currently has only one include) at

Is there a best way to do this (that I can google and sort out?)

Is there something I’m missing in terms of how to make this go? (I’ve googled like crazy to try to confirm that the issue isn’t me writing code badly…used the W3C markup validation service on pages…so I think my code is at least correct.)

Is there maybe some DH issue that I’m running up against?

Everything I’m finding online tells me that:
Both the include methods I’ve tried should work with HTML5 and in general.
Neither of the methods should be so much slower.

Thanks in advance for help on this :slight_smile:
I’m just bummed that, for once, I couldn’t solve the puzzle without asking for help.