Client-Side Caching Vs. Server-Side Caching – Which One to Choose?

A cache is where temporary data is stored to deliver the information faster next time it is requested. Caching is a common technique to improve performance and scalability by decreasing the page load time of your site. It works effectively when a client repeatedly reads the same data.

There are two most common ways caching is performed, and these are client-side caching and server-side caching. But are both of them all the same thing?

Well, I’ll discuss the differences between client-side caching vs server-side caching in detail in this guide to help you understand these better. Are you ready to know more? Then, without any further ado, let’s get into it.

What Are the Necessities of Web Caching?

What Are the Necessities of Web Caching

When visitors visit your site, their browser requests data from your site’s server. At that time, the users have to wait for the server to return the necessary data before viewing content.

Here, a website cache helps you to show the content further much faster by storing the temporary website data. Otherwise, the browsers have to send new requests every time visitors land up on your site. So, here is why you should use cache on your site.

  • It reduces the number of requests sent to your server.
  • Can faster page loading speed.
  • It also reduces network costs.
  • Makes it possible to cache your website content at different points between users’ browsers and your server.
  • Reduces the impact on your server and helps to save money on network costs.

Client-Side Caching Vs Server Side Caching

Client-Side Caching Vs Server Side Caching

There are several points where you can cache data within your website. Therefore, to make the most use of them here, I’m going to share the two most popular caching that you should consider using. So, here’s all about client-side caching vs server-side caching that you need to know.

Client-Side Cache

A client-side cache is a kind of browser cache, which is a cache system built into a browser. With this cache, the files, data, and content are stored on your computer. That means it saves the same types of content on your browser, through your browser, and even is controlled by your browser.

This way, you don’t need to request or download the information every time you visit a page. Besides that, client-side caches are best to avoid transferring the same data over the network repeatedly.

It temporarily saves the following type of content-

  • HTML pages
  • CSS stylesheets
  • JavaScript scripts
  • Images
  • Other types of multimedia content

The benefit of this is that it saves much loading time, reduces network traffic, and helps users save money, especially when paying for data. Every browser consists of some form of browser cache, in fact, some of them include a more comprehensive system.

Because of the client-side cache, websites can communicate with the user’s browsers. Therefore, whenever a site makes any update, the browser flushes out the old content stored in the cache and saves the updates in its place. If the end-user wants, they can manually clear out their browser’s cache whenever they feel like it.

To take advantage of client-side caching, there are several plunges that you can use, such as WP Super Cache and WP Rocket. Alternatively, you can turn this cache on manually. The procedure for manually activating client-side cache is as follows-

  • You’ll require using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and an FTP client such as FileZilla to access your server.
  • Then access your site’s .htaccess file and right-click to select View/Edit.
  • After that, you’ll see a text editor. Here, you need to copy and paste the following code.
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On

# Images
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/webp "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"

# Video
ExpiresByType video/mp4 "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType video/mpeg "access plus 1 year"

# CSS, JavaScript
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 month"

# Others
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"

Based on your needs, you can update the expiration time.

Server-Side Cache

A server cache is related to site caching, but instead of saving the content on the client-side, it stores them on the site’s server. It is fully handled and administered by the site owners on the server without any involvement of a browser or the end-user. When server cache is used for temporary storage, it is called server-side caching.

It stores content, queries, similar data on multiple server codes and is controlled by the server itself. Following are the types of server caching-

  • Object Caching- Stores database queries for quick retrieval on subsequent page loads in a server-side cache. If you want to activate object caching, you can use the built-in system of WordPress.
  • CDN Caching- A CDN is a cluster of servers that are geographically located worldwide. For a faster loading time, CDN cache content, those are loaded using the server closest to the end-user. For WordPress users, Cloudflare is a popular CDN.
  • Opcode Caching- The PHP code is compiled into each request, then saved in a cache so that it can be executed quickly on repeated page loads. For opcode caching, you can use the WP Rocket WordPress plugin.

It is one of the best ways to reduce server loads. Whenever a request is made, the server checks its temporary storage for the necessary content to see if the requested content is already available in the server cache or not before processing the request.

This way, it enables your server to handle more traffic and faster web page speed.

Final Verdict

A fast-loading website can make or break your business site. Users always want faster communication with more security, and the correct caching is what works best to ensure this. The truth is, there are several permutations of caching solutions. Therefore, choosing the optimum one is crucial for every site owner.

Client-side and server-side caching both come with several advantages and different implementations of methods to boost your loading speed and UX. Now, you’ve got the basic knowledge of client-side caching vs server-side caching. So, choose the correct one and make the best use of it.

So, what types of caching do you use? Do you have any questions about web caching and its benefits? Let me know in the comment section below.

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