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Have you ever been told to “clear your cache” but you had no idea what that meant?
Even if you somewhat understand web caching, pronounced “cashing,” would you be able to explain to someone else what it is, why it matters, or even how to clear it? If not—you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’ll explain all of the above, but especially how it can improve website loading speed and overall website performance.
What Is Website Caching?
Website caching is the process of storing the HTML file of a page on your computer’s random-access memory drive (RAM) so the next time you visit that page, the server doesn’t have to re-generate all of the information.
Think of your cache as a photocopier that’s scanning the information you need and keeping it until you come back. That way, you don’t have to wait for the photocopier to re-read the document and use more ink, paper, and time to give you the same information you already looked at it.
Your cache essentially takes a “screenshot” of the page and then updates that screenshot periodically. For example, WP Engine Page Cache™ updates the stored content every ten minutes. This saves time, drastically increasing site speed and therefore, user experience. We’ll talk more about this in a little bit, but keep this in mind because these are two very important ranking factors for Google.
What Happens If the Stored Page Is Updated?
Great question! Have you ever made updates and then checked the page, only to find that your work didn’t appear to save? That’s because you’re looking at the cached version of that page.
One way to get around this is to perform what’s called a “hard refresh.” You can do so by holding down Ctrl + Enter and waiting for the page to refresh. That will update the cached page, showing you the most updated version.
However, if you’ve updated a blog post, for example, in between visitors, the serving cache will alert the server that changes were made to the stored content.
If a hard refresh doesn’t do the trick, you will have to clear your cache. This will force your browser to find the most recent version of the page you want. This can also be an efficient remedy for unexplained 404 errors. While clearing your cache is very easy, it can be slightly confusing because of the varying terminology across different browsers.
How to Clear Your Cache
When clearing your cache on Google Chrome, you go to the top right corner and click the three dots. When the dropdown menu comes up, click History.
A new page will come up and on the left-hand side of the screen, click Clear browsing data.
A box will then pop up with some options. You want to clear Cached images and files from the beginning of time. Make sure no other boxes are checked and then click Clear browsing data.
When clearing your cache on Mozilla Firefox, you go to the top right corner and click the three horizontal lines. When the dropdown menu comes up, click History.
Then you’ll select Clear Recent History.
A box will then pop up with some options. You want to edit both the Time range to clear and the Details.
You want to select Everything and check only the box beside Cache. Then click Clear Now.
When clearing your cache on Internet Explorer, you go to the top right corner and click the gear icon. When the drop down menu comes up, click Safety and then Delete browsing history.
A box will then pop up with some options. You want to only select Temporary Internet files and website files and then click Delete.
Why Is Website Caching Important?
You might be thinking, “why would I want to enable website caching if I will have to clear it to see changes made to the website?” Because, as I briefly mentioned earlier, website caching can improve website loading speed and user experience. This is especially important for mobile users, where every second matters.
When trying to figure out how to speed up web page loading time, website caching should be at the top of your website performance optimization techniques list. By using a hosting platform that offers caching, or allows for caching plugins, you’re relieving stress from the server and providing faster results for users.
With a higher SEO score, you will gain more visibility on the search results page (SERP), and hopefully more clicks, conversions, and profitability!
Cache Really Is King
You may have heard the saying that “cash is king,” meaning cash flow is incredibly important for a business to thrive. Similarly, cache is king if you want people to find your website and stick around long enough to see what’s on it.
While the difference of a few seconds might not seem substantial, it really is. The longer it takes your website to load, the less likely the user will be to spend a lot of time on it, and the less attractive it will be to Google crawlers.
By enabling website caching, you’re saving A LOT of time and increasing your chances of actually putting your website in front of someone who might fill out a contact form, sign up for an e-mail newsletter, schedule a service, or order a product.
At Blue Corona, we offer hosting that utilizes the many benefits of website caching because we know how important site speed optimization and user experience is to Google. We want our clients to rank as high as possible on the SERP to increase impressions, clicks, and conversion rates.
If you’re ready to improve your website loading speed, contact us today to learn more about how our hosting services incorporate website caching!
About The Author: Mackenzie is a Videographer at Blue Corona. A former local news reporter, Mackenzie loves to meet new people and tell stories. She also enjoys playing tennis, exploring local coffee shops, and singing karaoke.
View more blogs by Mackenzie Roberts