We enable caching (and other optimisation) on the majority of our client’s websites. We often get asked, but why? And what exactly is caching? In this article, we’ll cover those questions and more.
Side note: this is a simplified overview, rather than an in-depth dive.
Why is caching used? #
The answer is simple, because it drastically improves the speed and performance of websites.
Read on to find out how.
What is caching? #
Caching is a form of website optimisation where static versions of your website’s pages are generated, stored and severed to the clients browser when needed.
Let’s break that down.
As you can imagine, this takes time. Enter caching.
Caching pre-gathers all the content for a web page and keeps a copy of the file. This ‘cached’ file can then be served to a browser instantly, without having to fetch all the assets.
Where is that file stored? Sometimes it’s stored directly on the website itself. However, most of the time caching is combined with a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
We’re going to be writing an article on CDNs in the near future, but here’s an overview…
Content Delivery Network (CDN) #
Caching goes hand in hand with Content Delivery Networks.
CDNs are a collection of servers (often called nodes), dotted around the world that store content, namely web pages in our case… that is cached web pages.
This means that users in other countries can access servers (nodes) of the stored content in a closer physical location. Ultimately, this should mean the data (web pages) have less distance to travel.
For example #
The original web server is based in the UK. The hosting makes use of a CDN with nodes all around the world, including the US. When an end-user from the US visits the website, rather than connecting to the original server in the UK, it connects to the node in the US.
Are there any downsides of caching? #
There can be issues of seeing out of date content. Whilst there are solutions and redundancies in place to minimise this, it can happen.
If you are experiencing any issues, please get in touch with us.