You may have heard of clearing your browser cache, but what about your WordPress cache?
Since WordPress is a dynamic system, it continuously reloads webpages so your visitors always view the most up-to-date content. The process is relatively complex and involves pulling info from your site’s database. Queries are sent back and forth to render the pages that visitors see.
But what if the page’s content hasn’t changed since the last visit? Is there a way to:
- Save page loading time?
- Skip all the back-and-forth processing?
- Just show the visitor a copy of what the last visitor saw?
The answer to each, of course, is yes, and that’s where caching comes into play.
Caching creates static copies of your posts and pages so WordPress doesn’t need to continuously pull information from the database. These static copies are like “snapshots” of a page’s history which take much less time to load and put less strain on your server. This can be especially important when a lot of traffic is requesting the page.
These static copies are held in your WordPress cache until the cache expires, you clear it, or you update your content.
How Does WordPress Cache Differ From Browser Cache?
The WordPress cache is a type of server cache, managed and stored by your hosting provider (in this case, WordPress.com). In contrast, a browser cache is saved to each visitor’s hard drive. With browser caching, site speed is enhanced only if someone has been to your site before, in that specific browser. WordPress caching works to improve your website’s speed for both new and returning visitors.
Here’s how the WordPress cache works:
- Someone comes to your site and ends up on a specific page.
- An HTTPS request is sent to your server to collect files to display all the elements of that page.
- The server will see that you’ve made no changes since the last visitor accessed your site. It will pull a static version from storage, eliminating the server’s need to compile all files from scratch and significantly reducing delivery time.
Why Would You Need To Clear Your Cache?
The simple answer is — you’ve made changes, or you’re troubleshooting.
For example, you may add a new collection of product photos monthly or publish a blog post weekly or even daily. These changes are crucial when creating a positive experience for recurring visitors or updating your online shop. However, modifications may not always be included in older cache files. If you’re not seeing the updates you made on the front end of your site, you may need to clear your cache.
Or, perhaps you’re using a third-party plugin and are working with their support team to troubleshoot an issue. They may advise you to clear your website cache to help fix the problem.
Please note: Clearing your cache should not be used as a strategy to improve site speed and performance. If this is your goal, please refer to this WordPress.com support guide.
How To Clear the WordPress Cache for Your Site
Clearing your cache is relatively simple. The following steps apply to those with a WordPress.com Pro plan:
- First, contact WordPress.com’s Happiness Engineers. These individuals provide technical support to site owners via live chat, forums, and tickets. This step will allow you to enable the option to clear your cache.
- Once this option is enabled, you’ll see a new section in your dashboard’s Settings → Hosting Configuration tab.
- Click the Clear Cache button and provide a reason that you’re taking this step. Your site cache will then be cleared.
If you’re wondering why you need to contact Happiness Engineers to enable the option, it’s because WordPress.com provides fast, performant pages by default, and clearing the cache could degrade that performance. Happiness Engineers will enable this on a case-by-case basis to ensure the step is necessary.
Likewise, WordPress.com asks why you’re clearing your cache to support its community of developers who may benefit from improving their products so clearing cache will no longer be necessary. For more information, see the support documentation.
What About WordPress Caching Plugins?
If you’re new to caching, you may encounter a number of popular plugins like WP Cache and W3 Total Cache. Although these are great options for self-hosted sites, they’re not necessary for WordPress.com users.
WordPress.com takes the heavy lifting out of many website performance and management tasks, saving you time and hassle — caching is one of these. This speed functionality is already included, and enabling plugins that do the same thing isn’t just unnecessary, it can actually interfere with the default caching tools.
Now You Know: How to Clear Your WordPress.com Cache
Clearing your WordPress cache doesn’t need to be difficult or intimidating. Knowing how to approach this process and when it’s necessary can make troubleshooting faster and your most recent site changes appear right away.
Are you still in need of help? Contact WordPress.com Support.
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