Caching helps make the Internet faster. Actually, this is not entirely true. The purpose of it is to make the internet look faster to the end user. This is a system that enhances the user experience.
Defined, Caching is:
“an area of a computer’s memory devoted to temporarily storing recently used information. The content, which includes HTML pages, images, files and Web objects, is stored on the local hard drive in order to make it faster for the user to access it, which helps improve the efficiency of the computer and its overall performance.” – Citrix
What it does is provide content in a more local area. The result is faster viewing. This occurs in your Internet browser and in a Content Delivery Network (CDN). It provides the user with a faster recall of content, resulting in a better user experience.
Caching and Your Web Browser
The web browsing experience is enhanced by utilizing caching. Allowing your web browser to download frequently viewed content makes future loads faster. This decreases page load times, which makes the user experience better.
Caching is most known for this use, but there is a larger context for caching. The use of it within a CDN. This has wider implications and provides more efficient distribution of content globally.
The Content Delivery Network
The CDN is a globally distributed system, which utilizes the caching of content. This places the content geographically closer to the end user. The result is faster page load times. This is whether it is an Internet page, PDF, or a video.
Although this system has been around for many years, as more users are becoming connected to the Internet, the use of content delivery network caching is becoming more common.
Also, a driving force is the desire for higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates. Slow page load times contribute to these factors. This makes it all the more necessary to lower geographical latency.
When referencing the use of content delivery network caching for dynamic content, the system struggles. Dynamic content and caching becomes an issue, as caching is saving a copy of an existing document. As the document changes, it needs to be replaced. Dynamic content, unlike static content, is continually being updated. Thus, it needs to be replaced.
This is the point where the caching system of a CDN struggles. It has a difficult time in reducing latency and page load times.
Caching has been one of the better systems to lower latency to the end user. This system has been developed with static content in mind. The Internet is moving more information to dynamic content. The cause is more activity on the Internet is happening in real-time. Caching is no longer the only solution to lower latency. Traffic optimization is now the solution to many latency issues.
Traffic optimization can deliver content faster to end users, as well as the CDN. This means it is optimizing dynamic content to the current caching systems.
Caching has been one of the more efficient ways to improve the user experience. As content becomes more dynamic, it is no longer the only latency improvement tool.