Clear the Cache on a WordPress Website
If you run a WordPress website, you most likely store a lot of digital content in the form of images, audio, and video files. The content is often accessed more frequently by visitors than the text that you actually published on your website. To make sure that everyone can always access the content when they want it, WordPress caches the content in a variety of ways. One way is the W3 Total Cache plugin. However, not all caches are created equal, and you might want to consider clearing some of them from time to time.
Why Clear the Cache?
The first and foremost reason for clearing the cache is simply because it’s a vital part of website optimization. Every time someone accesses a web page on your site, the web server searches for the page in question in its cache first and serves it from there if it exists. This can speed up page loads by avoiding additional requests to the web server. If you have a WordPress website with over a million visits per month, having a properly tuned cache is a must.
The image cache stores the images that you’ve uploaded to your website. Because images are one of the most popular ways to access content on a WordPress website, having a properly tuned image cache is very important. Instead of reloading the same image over and over again, the WordPress image cache stores images in a way that allows the website visitor to access them faster. The type of image caching that I recommend is called “proxy image caching” because it caches images via a proxy server. When someone visits your site and clicks on an image, the browser first contacts the proxy server instead of the web server. From there, the proxy server decides whether to serve the requested image from its own cache or to request the image from the web server.
A properly tuned image cache in WordPress will speed up your website by ensuring that images are served faster from the cache than from the web server. To do this, you’ll want to make sure that all of your images are at least the size of 150 x 150 pixels. Even though the image will be downloaded repeatedly from your website, at least 150 x 150 pixels is the bare minimum size to make sure that it will always be served from the cache.
Another important factor to keep in mind when optimizing your image cache is the expiry date. Because images are data and digital information grows stale over time, it’s a good idea to set an expiry date for your images. When an image’s expiry date arrives, it will be removed from the image cache. This prevents the image from being stored too long, which could cause it to become larger than the minimum size requirement. You can use the cache tag to set an expiry date for your images. For example, you can use the WordPress built-in function ‘expire_cache_tag’ to set an expiry date of three months for all of the images on your site. This ensures that you’ll always have the latest version of any given image.
Like images, videos are also a popular way to access content on a WordPress website. The difference is that videos are a little more complex because they usually consist of several different files. One of the most important things to do for a video cache in WordPress is specify the MIME types for each of the files. The MIME types determine the types of content that the video can contain, such as:
- .mp4 – for video in the MPEG-4 format
- .webm – for video in the WebM format (formerly known as the Ogg format)
- .ogg – for video in the Ogg format (formerly known as the Theora format)
- .mov – for video in the QuickTime format
- .3gp – for video in the 3gp format (used in India)
- .flv – for video in the FLAC format (Free Lossless Audio codec)
Once you’ve uploaded your video or placed it on your website, you can use the MIME types for each of the files to specify the type of content contained in the video. To do this, visit the Settings tab in WordPress and click on the Media button. From here, you can click on the MIME types for each of the file types that you’ve uploaded in the past. The easiest way to find the MIME types for a given file type is to simply go to the file itself and look for the MIME type in the Property tab.
Once you’ve specified the MIME types for your video files, you can use the Settings tab in WordPress to control whether or not to cache the videos. The best setting for caching videos is “Always”. To do this, go to the Settings tab in WordPress and click on the Media button. From there, you can click on Always for the Videos option.
You can also use a video player that supports caching. For example, the JW Player is a video player that can cache videos in a variety of ways, including:
- Embedded (e.g., if the video is hosted on your site)
- Manually (e.g., if the video is hosted on a third party site)
The best way to ensure that your video loads quickly is to use an advanced video player that supports caching. This ensures that visitors will get the best experience whenever they access a video on your site.
The text cache, as the name suggests, caches the text content that you’ve uploaded to your site in a variety of ways. The two primary types of text caches in WordPress are the global text cache and the database cache. The best setting for the global text cache is “All Posts”. To activate this cache, go to the Settings tab in WordPress and click on the Media button. From there, you can click on the Globe icon to activate the WordPress global text cache.
Every time someone visits your site and clicks on a link or an image, the text behind it is retrieved from the text cache. This can speed up page loads by avoiding additional requests to the web server. If you have a lot of traffic, having a properly tuned text cache will speed up your website.
The database cache caches the content that you retrieve from the WordPress database. The better the setting, the more will be cached. For the best performance, you should use a solid state drive (SSD). An SSD will improve the performance of your WordPress site by avoiding the extra wait time that comes with traditional hard drives. To do this, visit the Settings tab in WordPress and click on the Media button.
From here, you can click on the “My Computer” icon to see all of your devices. Click on the SSD in question to see the settings for that storage device. Once you’ve determined that it’s the best option available, click on the Change button to make the necessary adjustments. Changing the database cache from the default setting of “Post-Archive” to “All Posts” will speed up your site.
To further improve the performance of your WordPress site, consider using the “Wisdom of the Crowd” (WOOC) plugin. With the WOOC plugin, you can leverage the collective knowledge of thousands of people to provide the best possible answer to any given question. For example, you can ask the WOOC plugin to find the best video tutorials for WordPress users. Because videos are such a vital part of the WordPress ecosystem, having the best video tutorials will certainly improve your site’s performance.
The file cache stores files that you’ve uploaded to your website either directly or through a third party. Like the previous caches, the best setting for the file cache is “Always”. However, not all file caches are created equal, and you might want to consider clearing some of them from time to time.
The type of file cache that I recommend is called the “proxy file cache”. This type of cache is especially helpful for websites with a lot of documents and media files because it allows you to easily cache any file that you might want to. You can use the proxy file cache to improve the performance of your WordPress site by caching frequently accessed files like images and videos. In addition, you can use the proxy file cache to cache files that you’ve obtained through a third party. For example, the proxy file cache allows you to cache the XML feeds that you obtain from major news websites.
Each time that a file is accessed, it will be cached. This ensures that visitors can always access the files that they need from the file cache rather than having to re-download them from the web server each time. The problem with most caches is that they expire after a certain period of time. This means that if you don’t access the file again soon after you’ve cached it, the file will be lost.