This is something that I’ve resisted for some time, simply because I felt that it didn’t work well. As a proof in point, I recently had to fix a customer’s website that had caching issues.
But going through the fix made me think, should I be relooking at this option within WordPress? I do have some sites that are seeing some serious traffic and I’d like to make sure that I’m ahead of the curve instead of behind!
Let me first explain caching 101.
WordPress Caching 101
WordPress is actually a very complex framework of calls and procedures that composes a fixed web page to the web surfer when it is requested.
Before the web surfer arrives on the scene to see your page, the web page is composed as some web programming code, a bit of html code and finally data settings that are sitting in a database.
You can aliken it to a baker who has all the ingredients to make a cake ready for the soon to arrive customer. Once the customer arrives and places his or her order, the baker quickly whips together the cake mix, bakes it lightning fast and serves it to the customer ready to go.
Now, you and I both know that preparing a cake takes time. So the smart baker wakes up extra early to bake all the goods he believes he’ll need for the day beforehand.
Truly that only makes sense. Now the baker can satisfy the customer order, literally in seconds.
When you use WordPress Caching, it’s much the same idea. The caching plugin will premake the web pages for the prospective web server and when they arrive to your site, the page is already prepared, thus just needs to be presented to the surfer.
Sounds pretty logical so far, right?
WordPress Cache – Fly In The Ointment
There always has to be a fly in the ointment, of course. WordPress caching is no exception.
Let’s think on the baker example for a moment. Let’s say the baker wants to have the cake 100% ready for the customer. But in reality the baker gets stuck at some point.
Is the cake going to be a birthday cake for some name Sam, Sue or Jim? He just doesn’t know?
So, the baker will still have the customer waiting for the final preparations, like filling out the writing on the to be purchased cake. He just cannot guess what the cake must say.
The same occurs with WordPress. For example, if someone wants to leave a comment, then the caching program must then tear down the ‘cached page’ and replace it with new content.
Now, this isn’t a biggie, but for some other features and functions, caching can cause ruin to the website.
So, where do I sit on caching?
I’m still not sure, just yet. WordPress has matured significantly since I last looked at caching and this site is currently working with caching in place, so we will see. I don’t know if I’d roll it out to an e-store operated by WordPress just yet.
If you to are not sure, the better option, in my opinion, is to get better hosting. Caching has it’s place but it cannot fix slow or poor web server hosting. Making sure that you have enough time on the server you are renting time on is probably the #1 fix you should investigate first.
What do you think about WordPress caching? Please tell me with your comments below.
Filed under: Learn Wordpress
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