Understanding Cached Data: Why Do We Need It and How to Clear It

Understanding Cached Data: Why Do We Need It and How to Clear It
Want your website to work faster? Don't forget caching!

If you’ve spent more than one day on the internet, you’ve probably heard of the term “cached data”. But do you actually know what it means? Let’s talk about cached data – what it is, how it works, and how to clear it when necessary.

What is cached data?

Cached data is information stored on your computer, server or browser for easier access and better performance.

Why do we need this? Because most users expect websites to open within 2-3 seconds and are unwilling to wait any longer – similar requirements apply to applications and other software. Internet users don’t like waiting.

Once you open a website page some information from it gets cached in your browser in case you revisit that page later again. This way, the browser won’t have to send a request to the server and download the data all over again when you reopen that page.

For similar purposes, files and their copies are stored on a server or on a particular device. Overall cached data helps improve the performance and make things faster on the internet.

How does it work?

As mentioned above, the main purpose of caching data is to make things faster for users. To work properly, caching process needs an appropriate configuration and setup. Here’s how it works.

Are there pages on your website that load too long because of all the media on them? There are four basic steps you can take to improve its performance.

  1. Downloading images of smaller size by using compression formats
  2. Enabling a Content Delivery Network that will cache your website’s content
  3. Set files to be cached in the user’s browser
  4. Hiring a managed hosting provider who will do all the above for you, as well as troubleshoot your website and configure caching in the most efficient way.

As you can see, most three out of four steps relate to caching. Besides, speeding up the loading time is not the only advantage. Here are some important side benefits of well-configured caching:

Optimizing your website for search engines

Google algorithm loves websites that load faster. Spending up the loading time of your pages is a very important part of SEO.

Reduce the amount of traffic on your server

Caching will help to unload your server as more users will open the website pages faster. This is especially important for those who work in a bandwidth-constrained environment.

Minimize the CPU usage and database access by the server

and use that power for more important things.

Do you need to always clear cache?

Clearing cache is one of the steps in the troubleshooting process when something goes wrong with a website. If your browser starts acting weird and websites don’t look how they are supposed to, or you’re noticing HTTP errors when trying to access it, clearing cache might work.

Clearing cache can be appropriate when making major changes on the websites – adding new features, changing themes, and uploading a bunch of new products.

How and where do you clear cache?

Clearing cached data from the browser or mobile applications is very easy. Each browser has its own process of clearing cache, and none of them requires more than 2-3 clicks in the Privacy and Security section.

Clearing the server’s or CDN’s cache is a bit trickier. Depending on your hosting provider, you can either do that on your control panel or simply ask the tech support to do that for you.

At Scalesta, we take care of all the technical stuff for our clients and if there’s anything slowing down their websites, we quickly take measures.

Scalesta is a high-end managed web hosting provider for CMS projects. We guarantee top performance, security, and expert support to a business of any size. Managed hosting providers handle all basic administrative tasks for you: install updates, set up automatic backups, take care of network infrastructure and equipment, implement basic security measures, ensure protection against viruses and spam as well as monitor and eliminate all the factors that can affect server performance.