A Developer’s Guide to Using Website Caching to Improve Performance

Try to remember who your kindergarten teacher was. It probably took you a little bit of time to remember the name. Now, try to remember it again.

Obviously, you were able to remember your kindergarten teacher’s name a lot faster the second time you tried to remember it. 

Website caching is similar to this. It is a way of temporarily saving the contents of a webpage in places that are closer to the user. This is similar to how our memory works.

It then speeds content downloads and helps provide a quicker and more enjoyable user experience. It’s not a surprise that it is one of the most popular performance optimization techniques on the web that is used during the holiday season. 

If you’d like to learn more, then keep on reading and we will take you through our developer’s guide to using website caching to improve performance. 

Browser and Server Side Caching

There are two primary kinds of caching. There is server side caching and there is browser side caching. Server side caching utilizes a cache server that is placed geographically between site visitors and an origin server.

Browser side caching takes place on site visitors’ computers via browser caches.

Browser Caching

When a person goes onto a website for the first time, the browser will store certain things like logos, images, and CSS files for a certain amount of time. Browser caching utilizes these saved items to be served immediately upon the person’s next visit instead of requiring new requests to be sent back to the origin server.

This reduces the number of requests that are sent. This results in faster Web page load times. When you accomplish this, you are able to improve the user experience. 

Server Side Caching

Server side caching is a little different from browser catching. This is because it serves a lot of users from the same cache. It does not require individual first-time site visitors in order to make requests to the origin server.

This can help to lower the stress on the origin server and quicken the webpage load for all of the site users. This kind of cache is considered a reverse proxy. That is because it acts on behalf of the site server.

It also influences the visitor experience by serving and intercepting visitors before they get to the origin.

How Caching Works

An HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) headers director is used for caching. If a request is able to cache, then pages are going to save a version of the webpage for a certain amount of time.  

The Benefits and Challenges

As a web developer, you will need to provide users with a reliable and fast experience. Let’s go over some of the benefits and challenges and caching so that you can make the most of this system. 

Reduced Latency

A common problem that users tend to have with the websites that they visit is that the sites are slow to load. We can all recall a time when we needed to go to a certain page and were incredibly frustrated because of how long it took to load. 

Caching can help speed up the time it takes for a page to load. This is because it retrieves content that is closer to the location of the visitor. 

By retrieving the content in a more efficient manner, caching can lower the overall latency. 

Content Availability

One thing that plays an important role in the visitor experience is the availability of site content. No matter where the users are, they expect to be able to access all of the content that is on the website they are visiting.

Caching is able to provide some insurance when it comes to this. You don’t need to rely so much on systems that rely on data centers. 

Mitigated Network Congestion

If traffic is not managed properly, bandwidth issues can really harm major networks. Caching can significantly lower network congestion. It can do this by cutting short the path that is traveled in the fetching process. 

Challenges

Caching can definitely help to make a visitor’s experience better. However, it is not perfect. 

First off, if you don’t set up a cache correctly, the browser will not be able to validate the content. This might lead to outdated information being loaded. Obviously, your user won’t be happy about this.

Also, caching platforms tend to make use of third-party proxy servers. These servers are vulnerable because a lot of users have access to them.  

The Importance of Using This Developer’s Guide to Using Website Caching to Improve Performance

Hopefully, after reading the above developer’s guide, you now have a better idea of how you can use web caching to improve performance. As we can see, website caching can help developers provide better experiences to their users. 

Now, you should be able to understand how caching works and how it can benefit your web content. Of course, caching won’t be the perfect solution for all of your web problems. However, it can help you out through all kinds of trouble.

Either way, you need to make sure that you are regularly evaluating your cache policies. You can also use CDN monitoring to detect cache issues before they turn into serious problems. 

Are you interested in reading other educational and interesting tech articles like this one? If you are, then you should make to check out the rest of our blog today for even more fun content!  

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