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Are you looking for guidelines for caching a website in the right way? Then you are on the right page. This comprehensive guide will discuss caching a website in a detailed manner to solve all your queries. Stop here for all your solutions, and thank us later when you get what you were looking for.
In this guide, you will be able to understand the meaning of website caching in the right way, how you can take advantage of the same for maximum benefits. It will also cover a few of the techniques for website caching and the subcategories of caching. By the end of the guide, you will be well familiarised with the key areas of website caching and will be ready to implement the same into your own created websites.
So, let’s begin without any further delay.
Brief Introduction for Caching A Website
We know that there are hundreds and thousands of visitors on a single website during a day. The number reaches millions per month for a few of the websites too. When the browser sends a bunch of viewing such websites, it takes a lot of effort and process to bring the final results. However, we also notice that few of the websites are fast and loads quickly. Ever wondered how did that happen?
Yes, you guessed it right! The developers of these websites use a strong cache system for their speed and performance. It is a highly effective and efficient tool to maximize visitors to your websites.
When you create a website through WordPress, the one thing which you always keep in mind is the speed of loading and the overall performance. A WordPress is incomplete without handling the speed, similar to the situation of the presence of ice in a hot cup of tea. It is obvious that ice will ruin the taste and essence of your cup of tea, nobody would want that to happen. Similarly, no developer would want to create a website without speed as no one can afford that to happen.
But if you really want to develop an interesting, warm, and welcoming environment for your Wordpress site, it must be fast in speed and overall performance without any ifs and buts. In the absence of fast-loading content and pages, there are higher chances of losing potential visitors. The facts state that visitors do not prefer to stay for a long duration, especially when they have to wait for a page or content to load. They do not have the patience nor enough time to spend on a website that isn’t worth it for them.
Here is when the role of caching a website comes into play. By caching a website, you can get away with all such constraints.
To begin with, you will need a sound web hosting plan. To increase its capabilities, you can also add CDN, which will act as a good measure. The third important thing is to optimize images before inserting and after inserting into a WordPress website.
Then the next question is, what is the actual meaning of caching a website? What is leveraging WordPress browser caching and server caching? How can it improve the loading time of your website?
To answer this briefly, caching a website means the difference between a frustrated and a happy visitor.
Let us have a look at the answers to the above questions in detail.
What Is The Meaning Of Caching A Website?
Let us answer the question – what is caching a website mean?
When you have done all you can to optimize the loading speed and taking care of the security, but still finds that your website is lagging in terms of speed. What will you do?
You will probably check the speed of your website from an authorized tool such as Google Page Speed Insights, which will give you suggestions like –
- Reduce your server response
- Optimize images
- Leverage browser caching
This creates more concern for your website, and then you look up search engines to rectify the errors. Here is when you come across caching a website. Let us see what exactly is caching a website all about.
When any user wants to visit your domain, the website will need to undergo various stages to be able to come up with the notice of that user. All the pieces of work and efforts taken up to create the website are required to be compiled together. Then the structured website will be transmitted to the browser of users, after which they will be able to see your website.
Meaning? This means that images, content, scripts, stylesheets, etc. are the random pieces of your website, which needs to be transmitted from your server to the browser of users whenever called upon. This process looks like this –
- The visitor will search your URL in their browser.
- The browser will then send a request to your server, stating the interest of the user to view your website now. This is termed as an HTTP request.
- The server will gather and compile all the materials which are requested and will then send them over. This is the main stage where the slowdown often occurs. This can get worse if nothing has been done to reduce Gzip files, scripts, or optimization of images, etc.
- After the successful transmission of files from your server to the browser, the website is now being seen by the user. This process will again be repeated whenever the visitor switches to another page. It can be observed that all these servers and transmission requests can put a heavy load on the servers and can stress the system. This can hamper the performance of the website and can result in the lag of speed.
Now, you can understand the concern of developers as to why they care so much about the speed while developing a WordPress website. A single visit can decide the functionality of your website.
This is the major reason to learn about caching a website. To put it in the most simple terms, here is the procedure of the working of caching a website –
- The visitor will load the URL of your website in their browser.
- The browser will then send a request to your server, asking for permission to view your website now.
- Then the server will start its processing of “I sent this page to another visitor, and nothing has changed since then, so I can send the same page to this visitor.” This is what is meant by caching a website. All the scripts, content, text, and images are transformed into an HTML file and then sent to the visitor whenever asked for. Your server will retain the copy of that file and will use it again for another user when they demand the same browsing material. This spares the server from performing the same set of browsing and transmission request, again and again, thus improving the speed and overall performance of your website created on WordPress.
- When the files are finally transmitted, the browser of the user will then display your website on their screen.
- And what the caches? Well, they get dumped when the time limit for cache expires or when the page is updated. The transmission process and the HTTP process starts again once the page is in any of the situations.
Hence, it can be seen that the use of caching a website can largely impact the speed and loading time of your website. It cuts down the processing time taken up by your server for requesting back and forth queries. This is also helpful when you do not update your website on a frequent basis.
Caching a website can provide you with more benefits that are useful for the creation of an effective and efficient website. Read on to know them.
What Are The Advantages Of Caching A Website?
There are many benefits that can be availed by caching a website. The several advantages include the following –
- Quick loading of pages, which contributes to a greater experience of visiting a website. Your users are satisfied with the overall performance of your website and can thus turn a wary visitor into a paying client.
- The faster your website gets, the more is your score, which will impact your rank in search engines as well.
- Caching a website is the key instrument for WordPress websites that are facing the issues of terrible spikes of traffic.
- The lesser the time spent on processing an HTTP request, the more storage capacity is on your server. It will create space for more memory storage, add extra computing powers, and save your client as well as you from paying money for web hosting services.
Now that you are familiar with the meaning of caching a website and its useful advantages let us look in more detail to have a deeper understanding.
Browser Caching Versus Server Caching
A Wordpress website developer will focus on the server-side caching option. This will mean that you wish to put the mechanism in place which perfectly fits in between the browsers of your visitors and your web server. It will generate cached web pages suitable for your websites.
In general, situations, when there is a discussion about the process of website caching, the above-mentioned information is what is referred to. It is the most comprehensive yet simple, effective process to understand. Also, there is a wide range of options available by which you can apply this caching system. For instance, updating headers on the Apache servers is one of the options, using Wordpress plugins are the other, using CDN is another way of putting the caching system into place as per your needs.
Several kinds of server intermediaries can also be a good option for caching your website. The random pieces which you want to be cached may include images, media files, stylesheets, content, scripts, or API calls to a third-party system. It is also recommended to cache your HTML documents along with these pieces.
The basic idea is to get everything cached, which requires a lot of input of hard work and effort to process a cumbersome procedure or to give support to the servers, which are heavily loaded with multiple tasks.
On the other hand, browser-side caching tackles a similar situation from the viewpoint of an end user’s browser.
When you face any kind of trouble while reviewing the updates made to your website from your computer or your visitors have faced such issues, the first and foremost solution which comes to your mind is of clearing the cached data through an interface. The basic idea is to notify the browser of the user to discard the saved cached copy of your webpage so that you are able to view the recent updates and new versions made by you.
Browser caching is quite different from server caching. All the random pieces which are generally cached, like text, media files, scripts, stylesheets, etc. are stored in the browser’s memory and not in the server’s memory. But, everything else has to be managed by the server.
However, the process of both options is similar. A new layer of cached webpage comes into existence between the server and the browser, which saves a copy of the website’s webpage. The process is repeated when the user manually clears the cached data, or the cache limit gets expire. This is when the browser notifies the warning to users saying, “Some websites may work slowly on your next visit.” Therefore, when the cache data is cleared, the server will have to request the HTML processing again, which might consume more time than before.
It is time now to read about the techniques of website caching so that you can imply them into your own websites.
What Are The Techniques Of Website Caching?
Object caching versus full page caching –
Both object caching and full-page website caching are a method of server-side caching. Let us look into both of these in more specific terms.
It is defined as the specific caching of an object instead of caching the full page. As the name suggests, it lets you cache only a part of the webpage which you want to be saved for future use. It can be programmed to be more persistent, can be utilized in a more diverse manner as visitors transfer from one page to the other when the same object is present on every page. This method is beneficial when you have the same resource-heavy and cumbersome elements and codes used throughout the website.
The conjunction used with object caching quite often is ‘fragmented caching’. The basic idea of fragmented caching is to store actual contents from a webpage like images, widgets, etc. in opposition to object caching, which involves caching of a targeted piece of data or content from your server.
Ideally, if you wish to use object caching, you must focus on working on your targets, which do not often change in longer duration, yet be a cause of the problem when called on by each new visitor to visit your webpage.
On the other hand, we also have the option of full-page caching under the server-side caching techniques. It is the standard caching techniques used by many developers. It caches the entire content on a webpage and is delivered as a single HTML document to the browser of your visitors. It is useful for some of the websites which are engaged in content publishing on a regular basis. However, your server will still process the HTTP requests for the first time of use, or when a new blog or article goes live. For the visitors who moves to other pages that are in existence for a few time, full-page caching can reduce the burden from your server and will take the responsibility of saving the webpage. It streamlines every process required at different stages of transmission of files from your server to the browser of users.
Now, there will be a doubt raised in your mind, ‘How to leverage browser caching in Wordpress websites?’ So, let us discuss this and try to answer the problem.
What Are The Ways To Leverage Browser Caching?
The next target is to tackle implementation and leveraging the different types of caching techniques in WordPress. Let us begin with browser caching –
Remember, we discussed browser caching before as the end-users based caching system. While it is true to a certain extent, browser caching can also be enabled in your WordPress accounts as well. In fact, you must try this to ensure that the browsers of visitors receive a message saying that it is fine to cache content from your website, especially when the websites have a lot of images that require fast speeding to load.
WordPress Codex is the guide that gives various suggestions to leverage browser caching. Few of them which can be taken into use, are as follows –
1. Expire headers:-
This update can be used to dictate the time of the expiry of the cached data. However, this may seem quite redundant, but certain browsers look for a mix of max-age and expire directives. So it is recommended to consider both of these here.
You do not require to use multiple expire lines if your website does not include the type of script or content. However, if you wish to stay on the safer side, just leave the codes as it is and later update the access allowances according to your appropriations, which are best suited for your Wordpress website.
2. HTTP cache-control :-
Another updating tool that can be used is the HTTP cache control. This lest you set a max-age directive for your files. The basic idea is to tell the browsers about the duration time of storing a copy or cached file of your data of a particular webpage. To apply this method, you need to open the .htaccess file, which is at the root of your website. You can also enter the code after # End WordPress, as suggested by Kinsta. This will tell the browsers of your visitors that any file or media can be shared with them as cached for 84,600 seconds. There is also an option to adjust this number according to your convenience if you wish to shorten or extend the time frame.
ETags must be switched off during this process. ETag stands for an entity-tag that permits browsers to cache webpage as per their suitability. However, when you turn off these tags in the .htaccess file, you send a piece of information to the browsers regarding the disregard of rules and to follow the ones which you have specified in the Expires headers directives or Cache-control technique. After you have saved all the changes made to your file, you are ready to leverage browser cache in WordPress.
Now, what about the leveraging techniques of server cache?
Let us take up this aspect as well, in the next section.
What Are The Techniques To Leverage Server Caching In WordPress?
Talking about server caching techniques to leverage its benefits in WordPress, you will require to employ third-party tools for implementing the same in the WordPress website.
Plugins for WordPress for Caching A Website
This is the most popular option for leveraging severe caching into WordPress. Though not all plugins are supported by WordPress, many of them are highly useful. You must abide by the following rules to use a plugin for your server –
- Use only one cache plugin at a particular point of time
- Assess the plugin properly before finalizing it. If you are not careful about the quality, the cache plugin can also slow down the speed of your website even further.
- Review the host list of websites of disallowed plugins. For some users, the plugin is disallowed due to the performance of your website. For other remaining users, it is because the web hosting plan comes along with the server caching already. So, do not forget to check properly.
- Prefer to use a caching plugin that allows the use of the right types of controls and features you need. So, if you wish to implement object caching, the plugin must enable you to perform the same.
- Remember to review the results of the updates you make on your WordPress website once the plugin is installed. It must be able to answer about the speed when tested via a testing tool, the loading speed, and leverage caching suggestion if any.
Each time you use a plugin for WordPress, you must be careful in ensuring the installation of another tool on the website which do not detract from the performance. So, you should choose a plugin which must exactly match your needs.
Some of the suggested plugins which you can use are as follows –
1. Cache Enabler
It has its roots from the KeyCDN system and gives the users the benefit of the full page caching option. You simply need to turn it on and allow a plugin to generate a static HTML version for the webpage of your website. In addition to it, you can also reduce CSS and HTML and can also use the convertibility feature, which turns images into webP whenever possible. All those methods which are used to accelerate the speed and performance can be used in the plugins for WordPress websites. This plugin can also be paired with Autoptimize.
It is used as the full page caching of website plugin in WordPress. It has a specialization in handling the stylesheets and scripts of a site, in opposition to content and media. It is also helpful in streamlining the way in which styles or scripts are to be communicated to the browsers of the visitors. They are placed as a footer on the websites and are a nice option to add a fast speeding process and optimization power included in the plugin.
3. Litespeed cache
For the ones who are looking for a suitable WordPress plugin, you can use this tool to implement browser and object caching. It allows performing some nifty speed optimization activities like lazy loading images, minification, or CDN integration.
4. Hummingbird Page Speed Optimization
This is not a page caching plugin, but a Gravatar and browser caching servicing also. If you are running a news website or a heavy comment website, then you must try using Gravatar caching. In addition to it, it lets you do everything that is expected from a WordPress optimization support plugin, like Gzip compression, minification, image optimization, etc.
5. W3 total cache
It is one of the most preferred plugins for WordPress websites to cache different items of your webpage. The first thing it does is the minification of scripts, files, or content on your server. The management is improved with the integration of CDN with theme files and media files for faster delivery. There are several other options available to cache a website post, page, scripts, feeds, fragments, and database objects.
6. WP super cache
It is also the most preferred plugin option for caching a WordPress website. It is a downloadable plugin that gives various features for starters as well. The three modes offered are – simple, WP cache, and expert, as per your level of comfort. The best thing is the facility of the configuration of the proper caching system. It all depends upon you to choose the best suitable option as per your requirements and domain of the website.
7. WP fastest cache
It stands for Content Delivery Network, which is a highly suggested plugin if you really wish to add any WordPress plugin for caching. It permits to store a copy of any text, file, image, etc. from your webpage on the servers and speeds up the entire transmission process. This reflects the increased speed and overall performance of the website created on WordPress. Cloudflare, Amazon Cloud front, KeyCDN, Incapsula, etc. are some of the CDN tools available for visitors across the globe. You can avail of the powerful features of the CDN plugin to upgrade your website.
9. Varnish for server caching
If you opt for a server caching system, then you may consider Varnish for server caching of your WordPress websites. It is an open-source web application that accelerates the working of WordPress functions. All you need is to download the files from the website and install the same. Once they start functioning, Varnish keeps up the promise to speed up the website performance ranging from 300 to 1000 times as compared to the usual rate of delivery.
Now that you have answers to the questions of the meaning of website caching, its advantages, the difference between a browser and serving caching and techniques to leverage both of them, you are well acquainted with the drills of website caching in a right way. Website caching systems and plugins for WordPress are the helping hand to lend you support to make the websites more powerful and thus receive a higher rank in search engines.
You can also consider speedy plans or white label programs offered by various platforms to enable the booster for the website speed. In the end, it is the speed that is all which matters the most. And everything is decided upon the criteria of speed and loading time.
Therefore, optimize your website to its full capability and take maximum advantage of the available resources to give your visitors a great experience.
Caching a WordPress WordPress FAQ
When you have done all you can to optimise the loading speed and taking care of the security, but still finds that your website is lagging in terms of speed.
1. Reduce your server response
3. Optimise images
4. Leverage browser caching
A WordPress website developer will focus on the server-side caching option. This will mean that you wish to put the mechanism in place which perfectly fits in between the browsers of your visitors and your web server. It will generate cached web pages suitable for your websites. READ MORE in our indepth Article.
1. Object Website Caching
2. Full Page
1. Cache Enabler
2. Auto Optimize
3. Lite Speed
4. Hummingbird Page Speed Optimization
5. W3 Total Cache
6. WP Super Cache
7. WP Fastest Cache
9. Varnish for Server Caching