Web Design Best Practices

What is Website Caching and Why is it so Important These Days?

Some decades ago, when websites used to show more text and fewer images, the speed of loading the page wasn’t priority number one for the user. In today’s technological world, however, the webspace is more dynamic than ever. There is more generated information, the servers are dealing with more tasks than before, there are scripts, databases, etc. As a result, the size and complexity of the web information are constantly growing, which leads to slower loading of pages. To only load one page of the website, the server has to go through many steps. So what can you do about making it easier? To provide smoother navigation, you can turn to website caching – a technology that increases the speed of loading the pages. It can also improve your SEO scores, better your conversion, and grow the revenues from your products or services.

What exactly is website caching?

Every time the browser wants to load a web page, the server has to complete many time-consuming and complex calculations which may lead to unexpected delays. After the request is received, the website caching technology helps the server to remember the final result. When there is a similar request, the server provides the same result to the browser without making the calculations for the second time. In fact, caching is one of the most effective technologies – if you add it to your website, you will make it faster (up to 300%) and more resistant to high traffic.

What is the technology behind caching?

To find out how website caching is working, first, let’s explain how the customer receives the content of a web page thanks to the server. When someone visits your page for the first time, let’s say your homepage, he sends a request to the server. Then the server receives the signal and starts processing it. To send it back, the server sends an HTLM file to the browser of the user. If caching is on, the server saves this file, usually in the RAM. Next time someone wants to open the homepage, it will no longer need to process the same request. Instead, the server will send the ready HTML file to the browser.

The different types of caching

There are two types of website caching – via server or browser. To obtain maximum user experience and better speed performance, you need to use both. Here are the differences between them. Before opening a web page, the browser needs to download many files like Javascript, stylesheets, fonts, and other elements. If the browser caches these files, it won’t be necessary to download them every time the website is loaded. Before caching, the page will need some seconds but soon after that – the speed will get higher. Server caching is the mechanism that saves the HTML file when there is a request. It’s also responsible for the re-sending of the existing HTML to the following request. This is also called full-page cache. Another type of server caching is object cache – it only caches certain parts of information.

But what happens if the content on the page changes? If you publish a new post today, will it stay out of the cached information? Will the visitors see it? Thankfully, every caching technology can deal with this case. If the settings are correct, the cache is cleaned and regenerated. As a result, all the technologies are working together to provide optimal loading speed to the customer. Web caching reduces the waiting time, makes the traffic lighter, and information processing easier. It also prevents the server from overloading.

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