In an increasingly connected world, a website is a must for a company looking to reach out to its potential customers. It is the company’s face as well as an effective communication tool for a direct connection with its customers. Two primary measures of a website’s success are seamless performance and uninterrupted availability, which are a sum total of a number of factors. However, the website’s hosting platform plays an important role in both.
A website itself can be optimized even further to deliver better performance. A clean code, compressed images, and clearing unnecessary clutter go a long way in helping a website perform to its full potential. But there’s more. Caching is one way you can improve your website’s response time. The need for cache memory is higher if your website is a content-heavy portal that receives heavy traffic. Having the best caching solution will better your page load times to an appreciable degree. It results in much better user experience and will also garner improved SEO scores.
Here’s all that you need to know about caching to create a better experience for your website users. But first, let us understand why a website needs caching.
The need for caching in web hosting
A website is viewed hundreds, even thousands of times in a day. Every time a website is visited, a request for website data such as the media and other content is sent to the server. All this data is then sent to the visitor’s browser where it is loaded individually before being displayed to the user. Every new visit raises a new request, and the data has to be assembled anew for each request. If a website starts receiving heavy traffic, it will start affecting the server’s performance, which will have a direct impact on the website’s load times.
With caching, a snapshot of your website’s data is stored at different locations. Whenever a new request is received, it is redirected to the location nearest to the user, which cuts down response time significantly. It also reduces the load on the server and keeps it running smoothly at optimum performance levels. Thus, caching has a direct impact on your website’s performance. There are various caching types that can be implemented on a website.
Different Types of Caching Solutions
Caching can be achieved in a number of ways that differ in how they work, but achieve the same result in the end. It can be implemented on the hosting server or on the client-side depending on the requirement. What you need is a caching type that fits your website’s needs while boosting its performance at the same time.
1. Server Caching
In server caching, the data is cached on the hosting server itself. It involves putting a caching mechanism between your server and the user’s browser that will generate the cached pages. Server-side caching is really useful if your website does a lot of computing with heavy files and complex processes. So, you should cache your media files, stylesheets, HTML files, API calls, scripts and content to speed up your website’s page loads. With server caching you can choose to do ‘Object Caching’ or ‘Full Page Caching’. Object caching stores bits and pieces of data and takes up less space, whereas full page caching stores the entire page and delivers faster speeds. Both have their uses depending on the scenario.
2. Browser Caching
Browser caching happens at the user’s end in the web browser. When a user visits your website for the first time, a cache of all large files is created in the user’s browser. Once a browser cache is created, it doesn’t have to go back to the server every time the website is loaded. This saves your bandwidth and also lessens the load on your server. The files that are stored in a browser cache are those files that are not updated frequently, such as your logo, stylesheets, and so on. While server caching gives you more control over the process, browser cache has one crucial advantage. It can speed up your website even over a slower internet connection.
3. Caching Plug-ins
Most web hosting platforms and Content Management Systems like WordPress support caching through plugins. In fact, most CMS already bundle a caching system of their own. Once implemented, it streamlines your website data and makes it more efficient.
4. CDN Caching
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a global network of content servers that will store your website data and serve it based on the location of the user. A CDN selects the closest server to the user and serves their request from that server, cutting down the response time and page load speed of your website.
How to select the best caching for your website
There are a number of ways of implementing caching on your website. The type of caching that you should implement for your website depends on your use case. If your website works with a lot of data and media files, a CDN would be the best caching solution for it. Not only will it keep your website performing faster and better, but it will also take the load off your hosting server. For a mostly static website that does not update its data frequently, browser caching will be enough.
Cloud Hosting and Caching
Cloud Hosting is a hosting service that utilizes Cloud-based storage cluster to host your website across multiple servers. As the hosting resources are spread across multiple servers, hosting over the Cloud network guarantees high data redundancy and high uptime, along with seamless scalability. When caching is implemented on a Cloud-Hosted website, it improves the performance, bettering response times and page load speeds. Caching in Cloud Hosting also negates the effects of a slow internet connection which could otherwise hamper performance.
The Cloud Hosting services from HostGator bundle NGINX Plus caching with your hosting to deliver 2X more speed. Coupled with a powerful SSD storage and an intuitive cPanel, you can really take control of your website and tune it for maximum performance.
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