WordPress Cache

An Ultimate Guide to Website CACHING (2019)

What is  Cache?

As we all are technology users from day till night, we come across the term Cache a lot. What is a Cache and Why does it come up a lot?

Well, it’s actually the technical term for the set of items of the same type stored somewhere hidden or a place which is inaccessible. We see many times when we are making space or getting rid of unnecessary items from our cell phones, the first thing it clears is the Cache memory. Why is that? The reason behind is that many Android apps can take GB’s of space just because of their ‘cached’ data.

This is why when you delete cached data. Having said that, take a look at the following list on website caching and take your pick:

  1. Web Cache (HTTP cache)
  2. Advantages Of Website Caching
  3. Types Of Website Caching
  4. WordPress Website Caching
  5. WordPress Cache Plugins
  6. CDNs
  7. WordPress Hosting Cache
  8. Leverage Browser Caching Code Writing (Manually)

Web Cache (HTTP Cache)

With an idea delivered above, now you have a slight insight on caching. But what is web cache? How can we understand caching when it comes to a website?

The basic concept of website caching is stated as temporary storage of website documents such as pictures, videos, pages or any form of website multimedia for the reduction of server lag.

How Does Web Cache Happen?

The practical display of website caching can be explained as:

  1. A visitor wants access to your website by sending a request.
  2. Your server receives the request of visitor and allows them to access the website. Its processing creates a relation that it just sent the same page to this visitor before and no variations happened after that, so, why not send the same page result to this visitor as before without processing this time? This is website caching.

All the content, images, scripts and text files are converted into a static HTML file and are sent to the visitor. It saves time for the next time when a visitor tries to access the website as the server will not have to repeat the process over and over again, unless or until the cached files expire or website gets updated.

Why Should You Use Web Cache?

When you access a website or click on a link to visit a certain website page, the server that is going to produce the page on the visitor’s browser will do a certain number of calculations. Those calculations may include retrieving the updated content, setting the headers or footers, placing the widgets, etc. In most of the cases or in majority cases the results are unchanged, this is when caching steps in. Instead of processing each request separately, caching makes the server remember the final result by storing the information temporarily and sending that to the visitor’s browser.

What If, Website Caching is Ignored?

If that does not happen, and the server takes each request separately then it can stress out the processor and directly have a negative impact on the speed of your website if it is not properly optimized. That’s why website performance is such a major concern for WordPress website developers. This is why you need website caching. Instead of forward and backward queries from the visitor’s browser to your server, website caching speeds up that process and makes it efficient.

Where Does a Web Cache Actually Exist?

Web cache sits in between the web server and the visitor’s browser. Instead of time taking process of individual requests solving, cache produces the required source efficiently and saves time.

Advantages Of Website Caching

You might know this fact that if your website is properly coded and its load time is as less as 2 seconds then you ask the question, “do you really need web caching?” The answer is YES! You need website caching, following are a few resounding reasons on why web caching solutions is a necessary element:

  1. Reduction In Network Traffic: Caching helps in effective bandwidth management when it comes to network traffic. As resources are used, again and again, there is no need to fetch the same requests freshly every time. Caching will reduce the bandwidth used by the client and thus would result in the reduction of network traffic.
  2. Reduction In Latency (Discontinuation): When a cache is embedded in between a server and a browser, whenever, a request is made, the required request is responded by the nearby proxy cache available. It takes less time for the resource to reach the client and this makes the website more responsive.
  3. Retrieving Un-Cached Documents: Considering when web caching is in play, a request is made of a document that is not cached (because of its new addition in the web content). The new resource requested gets retrieved faster due to less congestion along the way and less workload on the server.
  4. Web Server Work-Load Reduction: When the data is widely spread among the proxy caches over the WAN, caching reduces the workload of the remote web server. Since all the (or most of the) data is already present in the form of ‘full cache’ over the browser of the visitor, the existing HTTP file reduces the workload over the server and thus will result in very fewer requests to be processed if any.
  5. Speed Boost: Your SEO gets boosted and increases the performance of your website with a speed increase. Less loading time because of already available HTTP files on your browser’s computer takes less processing time. Website caching is a very useful/helpful tool for your WordPress website if your site has a lot of traffic spikes.

Types Of Website Caching

Now, that we have established that web caching is very helpful and have an understanding of its advantages, let’s take a look at two MAJOR kinds of caching and difference in between them:

  1. Server Caching
  2. Browser Caching

Server Caching

Server Caching is the work of the WordPress site developer and only covers the server-side caching protocols. What a server caching does is that the server will take all the requests from the visitor’s and then process these requests only once and then stores them. The next time when the same visitor requests the page, it will give them the result instead of processing the entire request one by one again. Thus increasing the speed of your website and giving it a performance boost.

Methods Of Server Caching

In server caching, methods such as object cache or full-page cache are used. These are the methods used by the server to cache the data.

  1. Object Cache: The object cache is actually the storage of data on a selective basis. It stores pieces of information in the liking of the developer, creating persistency. This means that caching can still be utilized of the same ‘object’ that exists in various locations such as the navigation menu on each page. Once the visitor moves from page to page, that particular object will not process, again and again, thus saving time. Mostly during code writing for complex operations, it is preferred to use object caching.
  2. Full-Page Cache: Full-Page Cache means that the server will create an HTML file for the entire website page and will produce the result once anyone wants to access it. With the enabling of full page caching, the server will fully generate the page of WordPress website without running blocks of codes to retrieve it. It will store the images, stylesheets, content, scripts and all the things that are needed to transfer from the server to the browser. This is called a ‘cached web page’.

Server Intermediaries

The process of website caching can be implemented in a number of ways. You can update headers on your Apache server, usage of WordPress plugins is another way and using CDN can also be done. They are given the technical term of ‘server intermediaries’.

What To Cache Definitely?

The images, scripts, stylesheets, content, media files and API calls to third-party systems. One should also cache their HTML documents as well. In other words, anything from top to bottom that takes some time to process should be cached as in this fast-moving world, results should not lag.

Browser Caching

Every time you visit a site your browser store the files that the server is feeding. You not only receive the content of the website but also Javascript files, stylesheets, fonts and other related things. The browser will download these elements and will store them. So, next time when you go to the same web page again, the entire process is no longer needed for accessing that particular web page.

Also, one thing you will notice is that the loading time of your desired page will increase (maybe by a second or two) once you open the same page the second time.

Clearing Browser’s Cache

You might have also noticed that when a page that you want to access is showing issues then mostly it is because at the server side some changes had been down by the developer. This is the reason you first try is clearing browser’s cache. This means what? This shows that you are deleting the already existing copy of your desired web page so that next time you get the updated version of it.

Difference! Server Cache VS Browser Cache

Where does the difference lie in between browser caching and server caching? Well, they are almost similar in processes but the browser cache does not store as many files as the server. Images, CSS files, content or maybe favicons are stored by the browser, other than those, the server will handle the rest.

This is the reason when you clear cached files from your browser it shows the warning of ‘some websites may load slower on your next visit’. Once you will try to access it again, then a new HTML file will be made again which will take more time than before. After that, it will be smooth running because of web cache.

Let’s take a look at how you can manage to cache on your WordPress website.

WordPress Website Caching

WordPress is the biggest open-source content management system out there, it is used by many big names in the WORLD. Caching is an essential part that no one overlooks, so shouldn’t you.

Let us guide you how can you manage your WordPress website caching to enhance your site’s performance along with its speed. There are four major things that you can do:

  1. WordPress Cache Plugins
  2. CDNs
  3. WordPress Hosting Cache
  4. Leverage Browser Caching Code Writing (Manually)

All the major league players of WordPress use these three essentials for caching purposes.

WordPress Cache Plugins

Selecting The Plugin As a beginner or one man army, the most practical option and the most user-friendly choice is a WordPress plugin. But, like before using everything, some points should be kept in mind in selecting the plugin. Keep in view the following aspects while choosing the plugins:

  1. Always use one caching plugin at a time.
  2. Have a look at all the features and abilities that the plugin has to offer. Then compare it with the objects you need to cache and whether that plugin will allow you to do what you want to achieve.
  3. Select and use wisely. If you choose a plugin that is not compatible with your website then it will have a direct hit on your website’s quality. Speed will be heavily affected.
  4. One thing also! After a plugin has been installed, take a look at what is its impact on your website regarding the speed and loading time. Do check instantly that if your website has become faster or slower.

5 Best WordPress Website Caching Plugins

Here’s a list for the 5 Best WordPress Website Caching Plugins available online just for you:

  1. WP Super Cache
  2. W3 Total Cache
  3. WP Fastest Cache
  4. WP Rocket
  5. Comet Cache

1. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache

This plugin will generate a static HTML file for your ever-changing WordPress website/blog. The scripts of WordPress are heavy and they are expensive. What this plugin will do for you is serve 99% of the visitors with the same static file and others with a custom file that is custom-fit to their visit. The presentation of the cached files is done in 3 ways:

  1. Expert
  2. Simple
  3. WP-Cache Caching

The plugin developers at WP Super Cache recommend the following simple mode settings of the plugin if you don’t want to go into the editing of PHP files:

  1. Simple caching
  2. Compress pages
  3. Caching pages for non-users is a no go
  4. Cache rebuild
  5. CDN support
  6. Extra homepage checks

With a great 4.5-star rating, 2+ million downloads and great reviews on WordPress.org, this plugin is good to go.

WP Super Cache Ratings
WP Super Cache Ratings

2. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache

For over a decade this specific plugin is trusted by millions of WordPress users all over the world. They are the only web host agnostic Web Performance Optimization (WPO) framework for WordPress. With its endless features, here are some honorable mentions:

  1. Transparent CDN management
  2. Compatible with shared hosting
  3. Mobile support, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support, SSL support, WP-CLI support
  4. It provides Browser Caching with cache-control, future expires headers and entity tags (ETag) with cache-busting.
  5. Caching statistic for performance insight
  6. A variety of security features
  7. Extension framework for customization or extensibility e.g. New Relic, Cloudflare, WPML and more

They released an official video overview of their plugin also Video link:

The benefits that you will sow in case you use this plugin are very profitable:

  1. SEO rankings will improve
  2.  At full configuration, overall performance will enhance
  3. Optimized progressive render
  4. Reduction in page loading time
  5. Your website will sustain during high traffic periods
  6. Over 80% of bandwidth will be saved

One thing that also makes it a little different from other plugins is that it is available in 7 different languages also. With a 4.5 star rating and a high usage value of 1+ million installations, the recommendation to use this plugin is a definite YES.

W3 Total Cache Rating
W3 Total Cache Rating

3. WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache

As the name suggests of this plugin, it is fast and an easy way out of a jam. The general perspective of this plugin follows the same approach of creating a static HTML file for your dynamic WordPress website/blog, but with a slight change. The access that it offers in comparison to other plugins is that there is no need to modify the .htacces file. Once you will install it, it will modify it automatically. Other than this, the following are the listed features that make this WordPress cache plugin stand out from the others:

  1. The fastest method of mod_rewrite is delivered in this plugin
  2. On posting something new, automatically all the cached files are deleted. You can also make cached files expire/delete after a pre-determined time
  3. As an Admin, you will have the liberty to delete cached files, CSS file, and JS files also
  4. SSL and CDN support
  5. Exclude pages and user-agents

Another perk that you will experience during the use of this WordPress cache plugin is its role in performance optimization. It will help in:

  1. Decrease the size of HTML and CSS files
  2.  Enable Gzip compression
  3. Leverage Browser Caching
  4. Combine CSS
  5. Combine JS
  6. Disable emoji

With its 5 star ratings and 900,000+ downloads, it can very reliable once you install it.

WP Fastest Cache Rating
WP Fastest Cache Rating

4. WP Rocket

WP Rocket
WP Rocket

The people at WP Rocket knows that every WordPress developer is inclined towards a better performance for their website. So, they have mastered one aspect of it and created a plugin that is recognized as the most powerful WordPress website caching plugin by WordPress experts. WP Rocket has kept it simple and upon activation, it launches with its following brilliant features:

  1. Page Caching
  2. Cache Preloading
  3. Static Files Compression
  4. Images On Request
  5. Developer Friendly

With over 728,000+ websites are using this plugin, it offers a complete package with no speed breaker on the road to your success in its economical/affordable plans.

WP Rocket Pricing
WP Rocket Pricing

5. Comet Cache

Comet Cache
Comet Cache

Comet Cache plugin runs completely in the PHP codes and does not hand important decisions off to the mod_rewrite engine or browser cache, this makes it easy to set up and configure. Offering the following features, Comet Cache plugin will help in:

  1. Simple and well-documented configuration upon enabling the plugin
  2. URI exclusion patterns, user-agents exclusion patterns, HTTP referrers exclusion patterns
  3. Automatic deletion/expiration of cached files
  4. Browser caching perks
  5. Caching for 404 requests for reducing the impact of these kinds of requests on your server
  6. It will cache those URLs that contain query strings
  7. Gzip compression

It also accommodates those advanced cache plugin system for themes and developers of plugin out there

The Pro Features can be accessed at the top of Comet Cache options once you install it. For a beginner, there is no need to go for that but if you have a big set up with a lot of traffic, then you should definitely go for that. With its 4.5-star rating and 70,000+ installations, it is going strong and depicting reliability.

Comet Cache Rating
Comet Cache Rating

CDNs

The content delivery network or content distribution network is a distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers based on geographical region.

When is a CDN used?

This is mostly used when a WordPress developer doesn’t want to add another plugin to their WordPress website or use an alternate or a backup, so instead, they utilize CDNs. It is a caching server that makes a roof at the top of your already available web server.

What Does a CDN Do?

What a CDN will do is that it will process your website and its content to create a copy of it on its server. Every person who sends a request to your server about the web page, a CDN will intercept and deliver a copy of that website in response to the request. The stress will be taken off of your main server. This will make your website speedy with a higher rate of transmission to every visitor who wants to access your website globally.

The Top Three CDNs available online based on trusted usage of them are:

  1. Cloudflare
  2. Amazon CloudFront
  3. Key CDN 

WordPress Hosting Cache

Once your website gets off the ground and starts to receive recognition, then you mostly get inclined towards the hosting services for your WordPress site. They are an all in all website handling service providers.

Cache Plan

They will not let you use any website caching plugin or add anything as they already have implemented those caching practices on your website in their plan. With their hand tailored caching plans running effectively (in some cases even better than a WordPress plugin), it casts out the worry of caching once you subscribe to them. The best WordPress hosting service providers recommended by us are:

  1. Bluehost
  2. Kinsta
  3. SiteGround
  4. HostGator
  5. WPEngine
  6. DreamHost
  7. InMotion Hosting
  8. iPage
  9. GreenGeeks
  10. A2 Hosting

All of them have an amazing caching system in place for WordPress website owners.

“Leverage Browser Caching” Code Writing (Manually)

Even though! As we have discussed above that browser caching is something related to the visitor’s end, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t do browser caching as a developer. You need to make sure that the browser knows that it is okay to cache files if the content on your website takes time to load. This method is specifically for the coders of WordPress.

As a developer, when you speed test your website on PageSpeed Insight, GTmetrix or any other forum, do you get “leverage browser caching” in the stats? When you get that kind of response, the need to add a plugin is not required. To complete that specific requirement to leverage browser caching in WordPress, follow the following simple steps:

  1. Go to the top of your .htacces file
  2. Copy and paste this code snippet (in plain text)
## Begin EXPIRES CACHING - WpFASTER ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
     ExpiresActive On ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
     ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
     ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
     ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
     ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
     ExpiresByType text/html "access 1 month"
     ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
     ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
     ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
     ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
     ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"
</IfModule>
## End EXPIRES CACHING - WpFASTER ##

If this code doesn’t work, then try this one

## Begin EXPIRES CACHING - WpFASTER ##
<filesMatch ".(css|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|ico|woff|woff2|ttf)$">
     Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000, public"
</filesMatch>
## End EXPIRES CACHING - WpFASTER ##

Leverage browser caching in Cloudflare

If you don’t want to take any risk with your .htacces file, then simply see Cloudflare for this purpose. The ‘Two Page Rule’ for caching in Cloudflare is described below:

wp-content

  1. Put in your domain name with an asterisk (*) in front of it (don’t use www, HTTP, https)
  2. At the end of your URL, Add /wp-content/*
  3. Click on Add a setting and select Browser Cache TTL, select a year
  4. Click on Add a setting and select Edge Cache TTL, select a month
  5. Click on Add a setting and select Cache Level, select Cache Everything
  6. Click on save and deploy
Leverage Caching wp-content
Leverage Caching wp-content

wp-includes

Put in your domain name with an asterisk (*) in front of it (don’t use www, HTTP, https)

  1. At the end of your URL, Add /wp-includes/*
  2. Click on Add a setting and select Browser Cache TTL, select a year
  3. Click on Add a setting and select Edge Cache TTL, select a month
  4. Click on Add a setting and select Cache Level, select Cache Everything
  5. Click on save and deploy
Leverage Caching wp-include
Leverage Caching wp-include

Last Say!

We all need a faster WordPress website which is fully performance enhanced. For that purpose, you go here and there looking for solutions, believe us! Caching is one of the solutions for a speedy website. As you are aware of this that the load time for any website is something that the world looks out for very much. Practices such as implementing caching techniques at both server level and browser level can create a huge difference. Using these tools and methods of website caching can be helpful to you and make all of your worries a little less.

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1 thought on “An Ultimate Guide to Website CACHING (2019)”

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