Understanding Caching

If you’ve interacted with the internet in any capacity you’ve seen the word cache or caching. But what is caching and why are people telling you to clear your cache? This article will explain caching and why it’s an important piece of your internet experience. 

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What is Caching?

A cache is temporary storage for copies of files or data, and caching is the process of storing copies of files or data in a cache. Basically, cache is the storage location and caching is the act of storing particular files and data. Storing files in a cache allow the data to be accessed more quickly than if the request was forced to be downloaded directly from the server each time you navigate to a webpage. 

For example, web browsers will cache files and data from the web sites you visit so they load faster the next time you pull them up. This decreases load time as copies of the website files are already saved on your browser and don’t have to be re-downloaded each time you visit the website. In addition, DNS records are cached by DNS servers so they are pulled faster when they are searched, and Content Delivery Network (CDN) cache content to reduce latency. 

Clearing Your Cache

If you’re building or updating a website, caching may keep you and your visitors from seeing the changes made to your site. WordPress optimized servers come with the powerful Cache Manager tool. This tool will allow you to purge the cache for single pages, enter developer mode so you can see the changes immediately, change the default cache refresh time — which tells caching systems how often to check for updates to your website, and more. You can also simply clear the cache in your browser to see your changes if the website isn’t live or if the changes aren’t major as end user browsers will update the cached files after an allotted time. 

If you’re using WordPress, learn how you can use WordPress cache to increase the speed of your website

Stormy Scott
Stormy Scott Content Marketing Writer

Stormy is a Content Marketing Writer at InMotion Hosting. Her content focus is WordPress, web design, and help articles for small businesses.

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