WordPress websites have the potential to run very fast — they just need the right approach to speed optimization. Alongside the use of WordPress image optimization plugins, JS and CSS file minification, and other techniques, caching plays a vital role here.
In terms of website caching, one of the most popular questions is: how to clear cache in WordPress? We answer this today in our blog post, as well as discussing the fundamentals of what caching is, what it is for, what the main types are, and more.
This post should be interesting to you if you are an owner or admin of a WordPress website, or if you just want to learn more about a helpful speed-boosting approach like caching.
What is caching and how does it work?
Website caching is the technique of storing copies of web pages so they can be served to the user’s browser much faster.
The first time someone accesses a web page, their request is fully processed by the server. But the next time this or another user requests the same page, and caching is on, the server just sends the saved page copy to the browser. The generated results are the same for most cases, especially with the unchanging page elements like the logo, header, footer, etc.
This approach allows the website’s server to avoid a bunch of cumbersome operations each time a browser requests the same web page. This significantly reduces the page loading time, which, in turn, is vital for customer satisfaction, SEO rankings, conversion rate, etc.
Of course, speed starts with properly-coded pages that are able to load in a few seconds. But caching is an extra performance booster, including when your website has to handle sudden traffic spikes.
Key types of caching
We should mention the key types of caching such as browser caching and server caching:
- Browser caching is done by the user’s browser so it does not have to retrieve the web page files every time. Every user can clear the cache in the browser. Every major browser offers a dashboard for this.
- Server caching takes place on your website, and this is what we are discussing today. The clearing can be configured to be performed at regular intervals, according to how often your content is updated or in response to certain events. You can also perform it on-demand, and your server will immediately know it needs the latest versions of the web page files. CMSs, including WordPress, offer an interface for this purpose through useful plugins. Read on to discover more!
When do you need to clear the cache?
If you have made some changes on your WordPress website (updated a logo, published an article, changed the design, etc.) to keep your website fresh, it may not immediately be available to you and your visitors on the frontend. This is because the old page version is still shown.
This can definitely cause inconveniences. So if you want the changes to be displayed faster, you will need to clear the cache. You can do it instead of waiting for it to get cleared in accordance with the preconfigured intervals (although there are also smart mechanisms to detect when changes appear). Clearing it is also the most common advice for troubleshooting a website.
How to clear the cache in WordPress?
When it comes to WordPress, you can do the clearing with the help of a WordPress caching plugin that is used on your website. If you are using a managed WordPress hosting environment from your hosting provider, you can use its built-in tools, and the use of WordPress plugins is not recommended.
WordPress caching plugins are meant for multiple uses. They are very feature-rich and take care of all aspects of caching, as well as provide user-friendly interfaces. The general recommendation is to rely on just one such plugin for your WordPress website.
Let’s take a look at a list of the most popular plugins, as well as follow the cache clearing process on the example on one of them.
WordPress caching plugins
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Super Cache
- WP Fastest Cache
- Hyper Cache
- WP Rocket
- Comet Cache
- Simple Cache
- Sucuri Firewall
- Cache Enabler
Clear the cache with the WP Super Cache plugin
This plugin offers smart approaches to caching — it generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress pages. The server will deliver these files to browsers instead of processing WordPress PHP scripts every time. This will work for most of your users — those who have not logged in or left a comment on your blog, etc. Others will receive custom files.
The cache clearing process provided by this plugin is very easy. Visit the plugin’s settings page that is available under the main “Settings” tab of your WordPress admin. At the bottom of it, there is the “Delete Cache” button.
It will take you seconds to clear the cache. If you have a lot of data to clear, this may take longer. It will redirect you to the page with Cache Contents. This click is enough, however, and if you want to double check everything is cleared, you can also click the “Delete expired” and the “Delete cache” buttons.
Need help with your WordPress caching?
Caching is a powerful technique in the right hands. We have given a glimpse of how to clear the cache in WordPress, which is just one aspect of caching. Our WordPress web development and support team is ready to help you with the proper caching setup. Let your website performance skyrocket and bring you more leads thanks to using the best web practices!