If you have set up a great website and it has a good amount of traffic, you have put in a lot of hard work to get more people to browse your website. However, if your website is slow, it is going to ruin all your efforts. One of the very useful ways of enhancing your website speed is by implementing a caching solution.
When your website loads at a slow speed, you lose the probability of converting a potential customer into a real customer and thereby there is a loss of revenue. Even if people are interested in your website and offerings, they will soon move on if your website loads with a slow pace. Almost all the people who visit your website expect your website to be fast very few of them are ready to wait for your website to load completely and the ones who wait will not put up with a slow website again.
If you have detected that your website is slow, it is important to take action in time. The action plan is to implement a caching solution for your website.
What Is A Web Cache?
Caching is the process where data is stored temporarily in a computing environment which is known as a cache. When customers access any page of your website, the respective files are stored in the hard disk automatically. These files are present in a cache sub-directory on the browser. When the users want to look at the same page again, the browser gets those files from the cache that was created instead of returning to the server for fetching the web page data again.
In Absence Of Caching : When a user visits your website, the browser sends a request to your hosting server for site data like media, content, code etc. The data is then sent to the user’s browser. Every part of the content is loaded independently before it is displayed. Delays are caused while displaying the web page because the transfer process is taking place and along with this there are many other factors that can delay the process. For instance, if the user’s location is far from the server’s location it can have an adverse effect on the loading time of the web page.
With Caching : The data is stored at a location that is close to the user. The web page is quickly served and the loading time is reduced. For instance, the web browser stores data at the user’s end when the web page is loaded for the first time. This cuts down the page loading speed to a great extent for the user.
How Does Caching Work If Your Website Content Changes?
What if you are using caching and you publish a new post? Wont it be outside the cached content? And then wont it be invisible to the visitors? The answer to these questions is that if a caching system is perfectly set up, it can deal with such situations. A caching system does not only comprise of a mechanism to store the HTML files that were created, It also consists of a mechanism to empty the cache and then generate it again and the conditions like taking in the newly published content is fulfilled.
A cache that is configured for a WordPress website deletes the cached version of the website home page and archived pages even when a single new post is published. It will not touch other pages like about us page and contact us page as these pages will not be updated regularly.
There are clear benefits of implementing caching. It is important for you to select a caching system that works best for your website. The main methods of caching include:
Browser Caching : Reducing the server load is an effective way of optimizing the speed of your website and this is what browser caching does. It cuts down the number of requests created for every page and thus your website pages are served faster.
Server Caching : Utilized by the websites that have big traffic spikes. In server caching, data is cached on the server itself thus helping with the loading revisions and increasing the website loading speed.
What Can Be Cached?
Certain type of content gives itself more easily for caching that includes:
- Brand images and logos
- Non-rotating images like navigation icons
- Style sheets
- Content that is downloadable
- Media files
These files do not change more frequently, therefore they can benefit by being cached for a long span of time.
Some things that you should be careful about caching include:
- HTML pages
- Images that are rotating
- Content requests that include authentication cookies
Some items that are never cached include:
- Assets related to critical data like banking information etc.
- User-specific content that is frequently changed
Along with the rules mentioned above, it is possible to determine the policies that enable you to cache different types of content properly. For instance, if the same view of your website is seen by all the authenticated users of your website, it is possible to cache that view anywhere.
If you have a WordPress website, you can implement caching for your website with the following plugins:
- W3 Total Cache
- LiteSpeed Cache
- WP Faster Cache
- WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache
- SG Optimizer
- Leverage Browser Caching
- WP Super Cache
- Cache Enabler – WordPress Cache
- Breeze – WordPress Cache Plugin
- Speed Up – Browser Caching
What Are The Overall Benefits Of Caching?
No Overloading Of The Network : Data can be cached at many points between your content and your customer. With server caching, web pages are efficiently stored and served to your customers.
Increased Performance : When you select caching as an option, it clears up a lot of resources on the original server and this improves the overall performance of the website.
Website Ranking : Website speed is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to securing a good website ranking. Websites that are faster are preferred by the search engines; therefore implementing a caching system is going to be beneficial for you.
User Experience : You would want your customers to have a good experience on your website. If your website is fast, your customers will be served and a profound browsing experience will be ensured.
Availability Of Content During Network Failures : Caching can be used for delivering the content to your customers in case there is a failure or any interruption in the network. During the short phases of network issues, this is a great way to tell your customers that your website content is still available.
You can implement browser caching or server caching to make your website faster. Caching or temporary storing the content from the earlier customer requests will help in reducing the burden on the server and will serve your website faster. Caching helps you in cutting down the cost of bandwidth that is used for serving the same web pages repeatedly. Your server will be able to manage a greater amount of web traffic with the same hardware if caching is enabled. Most importantly, your users and customers will have a great browsing experience on your website as it will work faster.