A fast-loading website can either make or break your business. There are a variety of steps you can take to speed up page load times, but it’s important not to neglect web caching memory . This is a vital strategy for improving page speed, but it’s only effective if you’re using the right type.
There are several types of web caching, each of which is useful in different circumstances. It’s important to understand the types of data they store, as well as the levels of control they offer you and end users.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of web caching. We’ll then look at four different types of web caching, when they’re used, and how to set them up. Let’s get started!
Understanding the Importance of Web caching memory
When a visitor lands on your website, their browser requests data from your site’s server. They must then wait for the server to retrieve the necessary data before they can view your content.
Web caching is website data that a computer has temporarily stored for quick and easy access in the future. Without web caching, browsers would have to send new requests every time visitors arrive at your site. If your content is cached, the server or visitors’ browsers can send a static copy of your content instead.
This reduces the number of requests sent to your server, which takes longer to process than cached responses. This is the primary purpose of caching and how it can increase page speed.
While increasing load speeds is important, caching also reduces network costs. It’s possible to cache your website’s content in different points between users’ browsers and your server. When stored in web cache memory, the content can be quickly retrieved without requiring additional data transfer, saving bandwidth and network resources.
Types of web caching and when to use them:
There are various points within your website’s network where you can temporarily store data. To make the most of it, there are four different types of web caching you might consider using. Here’s a summary of each:
1. Site Cache
The site cache, or page cache, stores a website’s data the first time a web page is loaded. Every time the user returns to your website, the saved items are quickly accessed and displayed to visitors.
This is a client-side caching type, meaning the end-user controls all stored items. As a website owner, the only say you have is how long the content remains in cache. If the page contains items that never change, you can set the cache expiration date far into the future. However, items that change regularly should have shorter expiration periods to be regularly updated. Otherwise, your site will keep displaying outdated content to users who load it from their site cache, even after updates have been published.
For this reason, site caching is ideal for websites that contain a lot of static content. Since your site rarely changes, users will be able to quickly load your pages while still seeing the latest version of your site. On the other hand, sites that include many dynamic features may benefit more from other caching types.
To take advantage of site caching, consider using a WordPress plugin. There are many features that offer this, including WP Super Cache and WP Rocket. You’ll need to install and activate the plugin you’ve chosen via the WordPress dashboard…
After activation, most plugins will automatically enable page caching. You can then go to the plugin’s settings and configure it to suit your content.
2. Browser cache
Browser caching is a type of website caching built into the end user’s web browser.
Website elements are stored by the browser on your visitor’s computer and are grouped with other files associated with your content.
The browser cache can contain HTML pages, CSS style sheets, images, and other multimedia content.
Browser caching overlaps with site caching because they are both client-side systems.
The primary difference is that the browser, not the end user, controls the cache.
All browsers have a cache that clears out old files without requiring user interaction.
The plug-ins we mentioned in the previous section can also be used to increase browser caching.
Alternatively, you can launch it manually.
To do this, access your site’s .htaccess file. You will need to use FTP and an FTP client such as FileZilla to access your server.
Then, right-click on .htaccess and select View/Edit. This opens the file in a text editor such as Notepad.
Copy and paste the following code into the file :
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/webp "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType video/mp4 "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType video/mpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"
You can update the expiry time as needed based on your needs.
If you have more dynamic features than static ones, the expiration should be short to avoid serving outdated content to your visitors.
3. server cache
Server cache is an umbrella term that covers a number of different types of cache.
This includes Content Delivery Network (CDN) caching, object caching, and opcode caching.
Each stores different content on your website’s server.
This type of caching is managed by website owners without any input from end users. Server caching is one of the best ways to reduce server loads.
When a request is made, the server checks whether the necessary content is cached before processing the entire request.
If the requested content is available in the server’s cache, it will be returned to the browser immediately.
This allows your server to handle more traffic and return your web pages faster.
The methods used to set up server caching vary depending on the type of cache you want to implement.
Cloudflare is a popular CDN for WordPress users.
If you want to activate object caching, WordPress has a built-in system that you can use.
To cache the opcode, you will need a WordPress plugin like WP Rocket. After installing and activating it, the opcode caching should start automatically.
You can update or clear cache in plugin settings.
4. Micro Cash
Another type of caching that many website owners may not be aware of is micro-caching.
This method stores content for very short periods of time.
Generally saves static versions of dynamic objects for up to 10 seconds.
Since this is a type of site cache, it is controlled by end users with limited input from website owners.
Small cache is not a popular type of cache because of the short storage time. Sites that take advantage of this type of caching also fit into a small profile.
They are usually high traffic and are characterized by rapidly changing content, such as frequently updated charts on currency exchange and stock sites.
To use small caching memory , you need to open your server configuration file.
You’ll need root server access to do this, which may not be possible with certain types of hosting.
If you have access to this file, add the following code :
proxy_cache_path /tmp/cache keys_zone=cache:10m levels=1:2 inactive=600s max_size=100m ;
proxy_cache_valid 200 1s;
You can adjust the parameters to suit your website needs.
Before adding this code, remember to create a backup of your website.
Conclusion Both client and server side caching have their benefits. They also have different implementation methods. Choosing the right type of web caching memory can increase your page load speeds and improve the user experience (UX) of your site.
To choose the correct type of web cache, there are four options that you may want to know about :
- For Website : Ideal for static content.
- For the browser : A popular and effective client-side cache option.
- For Server : Best for high-traffic websites that need to reduce server fatigue.
- Micro cache : A targeted option for very dynamic websites.
Do you have any questions about web caching memory and its benefits ?
Follow our latest and most recent articles