What You Need to Know About Caching

2019-12-18T14:54:10+00:00December 16th, 2019|
  • caching

Spending a significant amount of time waiting for a website to load is one of the things that annoy many internet users. Because many of us are in a hurry, it can be very frustrating to wait for a long time just to obtain the information we need. 

This is why many website owners are doing everything they can to speed up the page loading times of their website. By improving their site’s page loading times, they can satisfy the needs of their visitors and at the same time make their website more search engine-friendly. 

If you’re wondering how you can improve the speed with which your website is being shown to your visitors, this article will discuss a simple yet effective method to help you reach your goal. This method is called ‘caching’. 

What is caching?

Caching refers to the process of storing file copies in a temporary storage location or cache. This allows you to access and reuse previously retrieved data more quickly and efficiently. 

How it works

To cache data, a portion of the computer’s random access memory (RAM) is set aside to be used as the cache. When an application attempts to read data from a storage system, such as a database for example, it will check if the required information has been already recorded in the cache. If the data is already there, the application will use it immediately. As a result, the application won’t have to access the database, which is slower, to get the data it needs.

On the other hand, when there’s no data saved on the cache, the application will read and retrieve the data it needs from the main source and record it into the cache. When the application is run again and it requires the same data, it can easily obtain it from the cache.

Where it is used

Caching can be used in many different ways. It can be applied in various computing technology and applications, including operating systems, content delivery networks (CDNs) and domain name servers (DNSs), web applications, gaming and databases. It can also be used in media sharing and social networking. 

Why use caching?

As a website owner, there are many reasons why you should utilise caching. Here are some of them:

  • It helps reduce bandwidth consumption, which helps reduce network traffic and congestion.
  • It minimises access latency.
  • It reduces the workload of the remote web server.
  • It allows web visitors to access your site even when the remote server is unavailable by providing a cached copy of your site. 

Types of web caching

As discussed earlier, caching can be utilised in many different applications. However, we’re going to focus on web caching so that you’ll know how to improve the loading time of your website. There are two types of web caching: browser caching and server caching. 

1. Browser caching

When you visit a website for the first time, your web browser will download various resources; not just the content of the page you’re seeing. These include stylesheets, images, fonts and JavaScript files. This way, your browser doesn’t have to retrieve the same resources the next time you visit the same website. 

2. Server Caching

With server caching, instead of processing every request, a website server stores the results of each page request and serves them when the same request is made. There are two types of server caching methods: object caches and full page caches. Object caches store only a small amount of data, whereas full page caches store the contents of an entire page for faster page loading and viewing. 

WordPress caching best practices

If you’re using WordPress to manage the content of your website, here’s how you can use caching to your full advantage. 

1. Using plug-ins

Don’t use more than one caching plug-in with your WordPress website. Instead of speeding your site up, it could make it much slower. There are several caching plug-ins available for WordPress but the one we highly recommend is WP Rocket. 

Tests show that WP Rocket can improve page loading speeds by up to 69 per cent. In addition, this plug-in is also user-friendly. It features an easy-to-use dashboard and provides users with enough options and settings so that they can cache their websites however they want to. Also, it will start caching your website once you activate it. 

Another advantage of using WP Rocket is that it is compatible with most CDN providers.

Whether you’re using a CDN service that is bundled with your hosting plan or you choose a specific CDN on your own, you can be sure that you’ll be able to make the most of this plug-in to speed up your website. 

WP Rocket can also help prevent large media files from slowing down your site. With its LazyLoading feature, videos and images won’t load until a web visitor has scrolled down to the part where these media files are located on the page. In addition, it has the optional ‘minification’ feature that allows you to reduce the size of not only image files but also JavaScript, CSS and HTML files. 

2. Using your host’s caching

If your website runs on managed WordPress hosting environments, you can use your host’s caching system to improve your site’s loading times. Caching systems used by hosting companies are very effective because they run at a much lower level. They are also particularly efficient because they are specifically designed to work with WordPress. 

3. Efficient coding

Always write efficient code every time. Apart from knowing how WordPress works internally before writing code, you should know how to use transients properly. Transients are an object caching mechanism that expires after a certain amount of time. You can use transients to cache parts of your website that don’t change very much such as your header and footer. 

Conclusion

Because internet users these days can be very impatient, you should try to reduce the amount of time your website needs to load properly. Caching is a technology that helps with this. What’s good about caching is that it helps speed up your site without needing many resources. 

When used properly, caching can significantly help improve the performance of your website. Not only will it speed up page loading times but it can also reduce the strain on your server. As such, if you’re not caching your web pages, now is a great time to start.