Have you ever gone to Google, searched something, and seen the little “Cached” word in blue next to the link? Well, that has to do with web content caching. Web content caching is a feature that isn’t really part of a network, or part of an application. Rather, it sits between those two. To understand web content caching, it’s important to know just what a content cache is, first.
What’s a Content Cache?
A content cache is something known as a software piece or appliance that sits inside an application server. The content cache takes requests and responds for the application, reducing the amount of hits that are sent to backend servers. Caches store these “responses”, since most requests have already been seen before, and can simply pull up the old response when requested.
In the layman’s terms, content caches are a mechanism for the temporary storing, or caching, of a web page. Doing this will prevent things like server lag, bandwidth usage, and help users to surf the web faster.
Benefits of A Content Cache
The main idea behind a content cache is that web servers work a lot less since the cache is able to serve most of the content. This will depend on the setup, the application, and the content. The main benefits of a content cache include:
- Reducing the content load on the web (it’s saved on the application server via the content cache instead, reducing hardware and licensing costs)
- Serving the content out faster (web caches are very fast most of the time)
- Reducing the load on middleware
- Caching web content that is closer to the user. Caches don’t have to be in the same location as everything else is.
Should You Use A Web Content Cache?
If you think you may need a cache, the biggest headache is deciding what content to cache, and how long you want to do it. Failure in these areas may sound simple to avoid, but a network manager who hasn’t done these steps right can have a huge fear of caching due to some account balances that were unexpected. Here are the main things you should know about using a content cache.
- Decide what you’d like to cache, and the time frame. For example: I want to cache all images for 24 hours.
- Make sure you test out these rules till they work for you.
- Configure your cache as needed.