Three Types of Caching at InetSolution
(and everywhere else on the Internet too.)
When handling support cases at InetSolution, I often butt heads with caching. The client who has submitted a support case sees one thing, their customers or members see something else, and I see something completely different. This is usually the result of caching either at the CMS level, the server level, or the browser level.
When your CMS is serving an older, cached copy of your content.
We build the majority of our sites on Kentico CMS, but host and support Wordpress and other flavors of CMS as well. All of the CMSs we host offer built-in (or plug-in based) caching to reduce server load.
Unfortunately, most of the time, the control to clear the cache is only given to Super Admins. When a CMS editor makes a change to the page, it should be configured to correctly clear the cache and immediately start serving the updated content. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and the result is CMS caching preventing you from seeing your change immediately.
We generally set the CMS caching to 30 minutes, so without intervention from us, the website should reflect your new changes within a half hour.
When the server(s) between (and including the one that hosts your) website are serving an older, cached copy of your content.
It’s usually not your hosting server that is serving a cached copy, but there are many other servers between you, your customers or members, and your website. A service like Cloudflare or Sucuri may be configured to serve a cached version of your website to reduce server load and speed up site loading.
The ability to clear this cache is possibly available to your web host but, even then, they are at the mercy of other servers that make up the Internet that they have no control over. We at InetSolution have built in buttons or triggers within our CMS deployments that clear this type of caching in several instances.
Caching like this could take hours to resolve itself and can be the most frustrating to hosts like InetSolution and the businesses we support.
When your own web browser loads a cached copy of your content.
There are a few methods to help clear your local browser cache.
- You may try opening a new Incognito or Private window for your browser and loading the site there. This isn’t always foolproof however and cached content has still appeared in our experience.
- You can turn on Developer Tools in your browser which can give you some control over disabling caching entirely. This is usually too advanced for some of our clients or potentially your customers or members.
- Holding shift and clicking the refresh button (several times) seems to be a silver bullet that most people can figure out – and it works the vast majority of the time!
Hopefully these descriptions give you a better understanding of caching to help you identify where the issue lies, to better initiate support, and get your website displaying as intended quickly.