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A cache is a location that temporarily stores data and files for quick access at any point in time. All web interactions that users have will involve using a cache at some point in time, and most use several caches before they are complete.
For instance, you are most likely reading this from your browser, which caches certain content from this website so that it loads quickly the next time you visit Hostwinds. Before you arrived at this page, a DNS server cached it so that the page would load as soon as possible for you.
Caching content is a method of temporarily storing web content so it can be displayed to visitors quickly. In use, cached content is copied, optimized, and customarily stored on multiple servers. Content can then load from server locations closer to the visitor to increase a site's loading speed. In addition, if a server is showing low performance or poor bandwidth availability, a different server containing the cached content can be called upon to ensure a quick loading speed.
Caching solutions are available from multiple avenues depending on your application.
Services like CloudFlare, Akamai, or MaxCDN are popular, reputable, third-party services that increase page load times. CDN caching services like these have servers that run in different locations, storing content, including images, video, audio, and text. CDN caching is the process of copying and caching the entirety of a website and distributing them on servers globally. When visitors come to a site from any location worldwide, it delivers content from the closest cache.
We recommend using CDN caching whenever possible to make your content immediately available for all users around the globe.
WordPress can be prone to slower loading times due to several processes under the hood. However, the CMS platform provides access to several plugins that can decrease these loading times, either by clearing your server's cache or connecting to the CDN services, as mentioned earlier.
WP SuperCache: Something as simple as adding a plugin like WP SuperCache may improve your site's speed. WP SuperCache is a robust plugin that serves cached static HTML files in place of full WordPress PHP scripts. It can preload pages of a website for a user to ensure quick loading times as users move through a site.
Cloudflare Plugin: Cloudflare offers a plugin that provides tailored support for WordPress users. It can work in tandem with Cloudflare's CDN offering but does not stop there. The plugin provides automatic platform optimization using proprietary networks, offers one-click WordPress optimization to resize images and inline CSS files. It can be set to automatically purge an old server cache making sure all current site content distributes effectively.
If you already use any of Cloudflare's paid plans, they provide additional firewall rulesets built to protect from WordPress-specific threats and vulnerabilities.
Note that the amount of traffic on a site at any given time will affect how smoothly your site runs, and the goal of most websites is to gain more traffic. If your site is growing and your traffic is increasing, that may be wonderful for business – but it could also mean taking additional measures to speed up load times even more. If your servers are slowing with a growing traffic load, you may want to upgrade your hosting plan.
Written by Hostwinds Team / December 13, 2016