Caching is a method of storing and accessing data to enhance an application’s or website’s performance. When a regular user visits a certain website for the first time, they may notice that it loads slowly. However, on subsequent visits, it loads more quickly. This is because the browser downloads all the website content during the first visit, so the next time the user visits the same website the content is ready and waiting, which speeds up page load times.
This is just one of the ways in which caching enhances the web browsing experience. Whether you’re an end user or a business owner, understanding caching can help you gain insights into its importance. If you own a business, caching can reveal ways to optimize your online presence and improve customer experience.
In this article we will explore what caching is, how a website is cached, look at its various types, and understand how and why it’s being used across different industries. By the end of this article, you’ll understand how caching can boost your online activities, benefiting you in multiple ways.
Caching is the process of storing copies of data or files in a temporary location known as a cache. A cache is a high-speed data storage layer that computers or devices use to quickly access frequently used data. The cached data is stored temporarily in memory or on disk to improve performance and reduce server load. Various software applications and systems use caching to enhance their performance.
If a user requests data that has already been stored in the cache, the cache can immediately provide the data without having to retrieve it from the original source. This results in a significant improvement in performance, particularly for frequently accessed data.
There are many different types of caching, but some of the most common include:
Caching offers numerous advantages to individual users, network systems, and businesses, enhancing the overall digital experience. Let’s dive into the major advantages.
Now that we have covered what caching is and explored its advantages, let’s turn to how it operates.
We have already discussed what caching is, looked at examples of how it works, and understood its benefits. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at how caching works behind the scenes.
While there may be some differences between providers, the overall procedure is fundamentally the same for most caching scenarios.
To fully understand the advantages of caching, we also need to delve into DNS and CDN caching. DNS, or Domain Name System, serves as the backbone of the internet, enabling users to enter a domain name (like www.example.com) into their browser and access their desired website via an IP address, which is a string of numbers or numbers and letters. A CDN, or content delivery network, is a geographically distributed network of servers that bring service physically closer to end users. CDN is a crucial web solution for business owners to ensure fast and optimal performance of their website or applications. Let’s look at how they relate to caching.
DNS caching permits a server or client to store DNS records locally and utilize them again in the future if necessary. To accomplish this, a time-to-live (TTL) value is used for each DNS record. This value specifies for how long (in seconds) a DNS client or server can cache a record. Different applications have different policies for caching DNS data. For example, Chrome caches up to 1,000 records for one minute.
The DNS system involves several steps that must be completed before the website appears on the user’s screen. To learn about this process in depth, check out our comprehensive guide to DNS. Here’s a simplified version of how DNS works from the user’s perspective to help understand how DNS caching works.
Now that we understand the significance of DNS caching in the functioning of the internet, it’s important to shift our attention to another crucial factor: the content delivery network (CDN). CDN plays a vital role in making the internet faster and more dependable.
CDNs use caching servers to enhance the delivery of content to different locations across the globe. Imagine a network of servers spread worldwide that store website content. These servers are called Points of Presence (PoPs) or edge servers. By duplicating frequently requested content, CDNs can deliver content faster and reduce the load on websites and applications by serving content from nearby PoPs. To learn about CDN in more detail, check out our article about CDN.
Here is a simplified step-by-step process of how CDN caching works:
CDN caching offers two huge benefits. Firstly, the CDN’s PoP/edge server handles a significant portion of web traffic by retrieving content from its cache. Hence, the origin server is not burdened by many requests. Secondly, if the origin server experiences problems, the content stored in the CDN’s cache will still be available to users. This enables website owners to troubleshoot issues with the origin server while the CDN seamlessly delivers content from its cache.
Let’s review some typical applications of caching in various industries, along with examples and benefits.
|Industry/Field||Use case||Real Life Scenario||Benefits|
|E-commerce||Product pages||An e-commerce website caches product pages that receive high traffic to reduce server load and improve page load times for users.||Increased conversion rates, reduced server costs|
|Media Streaming||Video content||A media streaming service caches frequently watched videos to reduce buffering times and improve user experience.||Faster video playback, reduced server load, improved user retention|
|Finance||Financial data||A financial services firm caches frequently accessed financial data to reduce the time it takes for employees or users to access information such as stock prices, news, and market data.||Increased productivity, reduced server costs, improved data security|
|Gaming||Game assets||A gaming company can store frequently accessed game assets, such as textures, models, and levels.||Faster game load times, reduced server load, improved user experience|
|Healthcare||Patient records||A healthcare provider caches patient records such as frequently accessed medical data, patient records, test results, and imaging data.||Improved patient care, increased productivity, reduced server costs|
|Education||Educational content||An online education platform caches frequently accessed educational content such as course materials, lecture notes, and assignments.||Enhanced website speed, improved engagement of professors and students, reduced server costs|
We leverage caching to enhance online businesses across industries. Our solutions, including DNS hosting and CDN, offer global, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that enable our clients to enjoy fast websites, applications, and downloads. Let’s explore the features of Gcore’s DNS and CDN services and see how they can benefit website and business owners.
Ensuring fast and reliable DNS hosting is a top priority for us. As we discussed above, DNS caching plays a crucial role in optimizing application and browsing speeds. At Gcore DNS Hosting, we focus on three key priorities:
Gcore DNS Hosting is feature-rich, including the following benefits:
Learn more about Gcore DNS hosting.
We’re all about speed and flexibility. With Gcore CDN, we make sure that your website performs lightning fast and reaches a global audience. To accelerate the speed of your website, applications, and downloads, our CDN offers:
Earlier in this article, we discussed how CDN caching works and the importance of Point of Presence (PoP)/edge servers. At Gcore, we understand the significance of this, so we have invested in our global network to relieve you from the burden of purchasing expensive infrastructure. Here are some of our impressive statistics:
Caching stores frequently used data temporarily, reducing retrieval time from the source and improving website speed, application performance, and user experience. DNS and CDN are among the primary examples of this technology enabling fast online content access. DNS and CDN caching can help business owners increase website performance and reduce bounce rates, allowing regular users to enjoy faster website load times and a better browsing experience.
At Gcore, we understand that caching is crucial to performance. Gcore Next-Gen CDN and DNS Hosting leverage caching to improve website and application performance by reducing website load times and DNS lookup times. If you have questions or need a helping hand to get started, feel free to contact our experts; we’ll be happy to assist you.