Page load speed is an essential factor for your website’s user experience. Website pages that take more than three seconds to load lose up to 40% of visitors.
One of the best ways to boost your website speed is to cache your website pages.
Using a WordPress cache plugin to cache your pages can help speed up your website, but you also need to clear your WordPress cache now and then.
Clearing your cache helps ensure all your changes and updates go into effect, and your website runs smoothly.
Keep reading to learn:
- How caching works and when to clear your WordPress cache
- How to clear WordPress cache
- What the best WordPress cache plugins are
WordPress Cache and How It Works
Websites use caching to reduce the number of data requests and speed up page load time. The first time a user visits a website, WordPress needs to make requests to the database using PHP. Then, it combines the information and uses it to generate the HTML page your visitor sees.
It takes a lot of time to request and reformat data from the primary database.
If WordPress needed to communicate with the central database every time a user returned to the website, pages would take too long to load.
So, how does caching help?
After WordPress requests website pages for the first time, it stores the static HTML pages in a high-speed data layer known as a cache.
The next time someone requests a website page, WordPress displays the saved page instead of querying the central database.
Displaying a static HTML file from the cache requires fewer steps and increases page load time.
However, since the cached pages are static, they don’t include updates or edits made after the first visit. A stored copy is often referred to as the cached version of a website page.
Types of Web Caches
There are several types of web caches. Each cache has benefits and works with a specific data type.
These different caches work simultaneously to reduce the number of data requests needed to load your website. This, in turn, increases your overall website speed.
- Site cache: The site cache stores old copies of your website pages to increase load speed. As a website owner, you can manually clear your site cache or set cache expiration dates for your website pages.
- Browser cache: Web browsers store HTML pages, CSS files, and various media in the browser cache. End-users (as opposed to website owners) can clear a browser cache. Many browsers also have schedules to flush out cached data.
- Server cache: Server cache refers to cached data stored on your website server. It includes the use of content delivery networks (CDNs) plus object and opcode caching.
Each type of cache must be cleared separately. Learning how to do so will help you ensure your website changes and updates take effect.
What Does Clear Cache Mean?
When you clear your website’s cache, you’re erasing the temporarily saved files in your cache data layer. Once you clear your cache, browsers will load the most recent version of your website pages and use those to create new cache data.
Clearing your cache files does not delete your website’s permanent data. Only the snapshots of your website pages that were previously saved get cleared.
When You Need a Clear WordPress Cache
By now, you might be thinking, “If my WordPress cache increases my page load speed, why would I want to clear it?”
Regularly clearing your WordPress cache is part of good website hygiene. Below are some specific scenarios where you should reset and have a clear WordPress cache.
Likewise, if you’ve made changes to your website, but you don’t see them, check the last time you cleared your cache.
You Changed Your Website Design or Content
As mentioned before, when you use a cache, you show your visitors saved (or cached) versions of your website pages.
If you’ve made changes to your design or content, returning visitors won’t see the difference. So, after you publish any significant changes, it’s best to have a clear WordPress cache.
You Updated Your WordPress Theme or Plugins
Any time you update your theme or plugin on WordPress, it’s recommended to clear your WordPress cache. Without a clear WordPress cache, the changes made in the update might not go into effect.
You Recently Migrated Your Website
People migrate websites for various reasons, including to change a domain name or look for a better web hosting service.
Whatever your reason, if you migrate your website, you should clear out your cache if you use caching plugins.
Changes to your server and database can result in weird website behavior and poor user experience if you forget to clear your cache.
You Installed a Plugin To Compress Your Images
However, if you don’t clear your cache, your website will show the old previously cached images.
So, clearing out the cache after you install an image compression plugin ensures your website displays the optimized version of each image.
How To Clear a WordPress Cache
If you’ve made changes to your website, but they aren’t showing up, it might be time to clear your cache.
Here’s how to get a clear WordPress cache and ensure your website is operating properly.
1. Clear Your Browser Cache
If you can’t see the changes you made to your website, your personal browser cache might be the culprit.
Your browser cache stores data such as HTML pages, and it might show you old copies of your website.
If you use Google Chrome, you can clear your browser cache by going to your browser menu (three dots in the top right corner) and select More tools followed by Clear browsing data.
You can find a step-by-step guide online to clear browsing data for all other major web browsers, including Firefox and Safari.
2. Clear WordPress Caching Plugin Cache
To speed up your WordPress website with caching, you’ll need a WordPress cache plugin.
Several WordPress caching solution plugins are available, and most of them have a “delete cache” option or clear cache button on the settings page. You can also check to see if your plugin provider offers tutorials for clearing out the cache.
Keep reading to compare the top three WordPress Cache plugins.
3. Clear Bluehost Cache (or Server Cache)
Finally, clear your server cache. You can clear your cache on Bluehost by using your WordPress dashboard.
Click on caching in your WordPress admin menu and select Purge All to purge all caches.
Best WordPress Cache Plugins
If you want to use caching to speed up your WordPress website, you need to install a caching plugin. Finding the right plugin for your website depends on your budget and needs.
There are several free and premium options available. Here are three popular caching plugins.
W3 Total Cache
More than one million WordPress users use W3 Total Cache. It offers ten times speed improvements, easy setup features, and mobile support. Advanced users can opt for
Total Cache Pro, which includes features like fragment caching and rest API caching.
W3 Total Cache key features:
- Page caching
- CDN integration
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) support
- SSL support
- Caching of pages, post, and search engine results
Best WP cache plugin for: Mobile-optimized websites
Price: Free version available or $99/year for Total Cache Pro
W3 Super Cache
W3 Super Cache offers straightforward and effective caching options for your WordPress website. Users can choose simple or expert mode caching based on their technical knowledge.
W3 Super Cache key features:
- Page caching
- CDN support
- Compressed pages
- Cache rebuild
- Homepage checks
Best WP cache plugin for: Beginners
WP Rocket (Premium)
WP Rocket is a premium WordPress cache plugin with a comprehensive set of tools to help speed up your website. With WP Rocket, you can set up page caching as well as browser caching and database optimization.
WP Rocket key features:
- Page caching
- Browser caching
- Cloudflare compatibility
- CDN support
- Minified pages
Best WP cache plugin for: All-around website speed enhancement
Price: $49/year for one website
Using a caching plugin can help you speed up your website, improve user experience, and increase your SEO performance.
But, sometimes, you need to flush out old data, so website updates go through. Learning when to clear your WordPress cache is an essential part of effective website maintenance.
Ultimately, your website speed and performance depend on several factors, including your web hosting provider. For more information about the number one recommended WordPress hosting provider, explore Bluehost today.