WHAT IS CACHING?
Most websites you visit will be saved in the ‘cache’, so that the next time you visit that site, your browser shows you the saved version of that website from your last visit. A very clever way of storing things for later use - BUT it means you don’t always see the current version of the website you are viewing!
Wikipedia offers this extended explanation;
"In computer science, a cache is a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere.
If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparatively faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparatively slower. Hence, the greater the number of requests that can be served from the cache, the faster the overall system performance becomes."
CACHING IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW BECAUSE...
A lot of our clients use our WEP EDIT PRO Content Management System (CMS), which is a system we have developed at Activate Design as an alternative to the many CMS systems publicly available today - specifically created to be user-friendly, as so many of the currently available systems are not. (Most CMS systems are programmer-friendly, not user-friendly.)
Caching is important to know for when you're making changes to your website in the Admin Panel of your site, then viewing your website - and your changes don't show up! This is likely to be because you are viewing the Cache version of your website. This is something that can cause endless frustration unless you know what is happening.
Why do things get Cached?
1. Caching saves time - a site can be loaded very quickly from the cache, rather than from it's source. Very handy if you are looking at the same websites regularly.
2. Caching reduces bandwidth and traffic - reducing congestion on Internet sources by showing viewers the cached version of a site they have previously visited.
Where is the Cache stored?
There are many ways in which a Cache is implemented, and it can depend on the settings of many of your browsing tools, from server to your browser itself. The Cache could be implemented by one of the following;
- Caching in memory
- Caching in files
- Caching in the database
- Caching in cookies
HOW DO I VIEW THE ACTUAL VERSION OF A WEBSITE - NOT THE CACHE VERSION?
To view the current version of a webpage you are visiting do a 'Force Refresh' or 'Hard Refresh' in your browser.
This will tell the browser to pull up the latest version of that website, direct from it's source, rather than just show you it's cache version.
How do I do a hard refresh?
PC : hold down 'shift' and 'F5'.
Mac : hold down 'control' and 'apple' and click refresh.
I hope this has been an interesting and informative look at Caching, both for those who use our WEB EDIT PRO Content Management System, and for anyone learning more about browsing the internet.
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Posted in Graphic Design