Introduction to WordPress Cache
Have you ever made changes to how your WordPress site looks only to find out later that the changes were not showing up on your live site, once you logged out of the admin? Did you clear your WordPress cache? Maybe you had been working on design changes, i.e., colors, different font sizes, and so on? This is because you need to clear your WordPress cache.
Well your are not along with this. Often, I have been making changes to websites, or a client will be making changes and it looks fine, as long as they are logged in, but once they check their site in their favorite browser, the changes have not taken affect.
This is most often the case due to caching. Once you clear your cache you will see the changes you made. What is caching? I am glad you asked, as this is what I am going to talk about in this article and also when you need to clear you WordPress cache.
What is Cache and Why do you need to clear it.
What makes WordPress such a powerful and poplar platform is its ease of use in updating the content and adding features on your site without having to hire a developer to do it for you.This makes WordPress a very dynamic platform and each time you visit a WordPress site with your browser and click on a page, post or image, this tells WordPress to fetch this information from a database.
Your browser then takes this information and builds the page you requested. This cycle repeats each time you click other parts of the website. It repeats even if click on the same area again. Now this is done very quickly, but still could be faster. Caching systems store a static version, snapshot, if you will, of your website. This allows WordPress to skip pulling information from the database, and use the stored, snapshot version, which improves your website speed.
This is different with a non-WordPress static HTML site. These sites are often build by developers and are not easy for a basic user to update. They are however faster, as they are using content that never changes and no database is required, which requires less resources to use. Basically, with WordPress caching, you are converting the dynamic WordPress site, back to a static HTML site.
There are different types of caching solutions out there and I am only going to mention a few of them here but hopefully you will get the idea of what caching is and why you need to clear it when you make changes to your WordPress site.
The two most important caching Plugins is WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. Now, I highly recommend WP Super Cache, as I feel it is the easiest to setup and you will see an immediate increase in website speed. This is not taking anything away from W3 Total Cache as it is a good caching plugin as well, I just feel that it has a steeper learning curve to setup it up properly. I am not going to show you had to setup these plugins here. That’s an article for another day, but I will show you how clear the cache in both.
WP Super Cache
If you have WP Super Cache installed on your WordPress site then here is how you want to clear the cache.
When you are logged into the Word Admin on your site, you will see in the bottom left a menu option for Settings. Click on that then you will see a pop out menu and then see WP Super Cache. All you do is click on the Delete Cache button and that’s it!
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is another poplar caching plugin for WordPress. You can also clear the cache with a one click button. Head over to the Performance dashboard page and click on “empty all caches” button.
Managed WordPress Hosting uses own Caching technics
You may also be with a Managed WordPress hosting provider which has their own caching solution. WPEngine is one of these companies that provides their own customized caching plugins. There are other managed hosting options out there, but I am going to show how to clear the cache with WPEngine and this method is similar with other managed hosting providers.
If you are with WPEngine, just click on the WPEngine menu in the admin area of your site, then click on general settings and then click on the purge all caches button.
WordPress Browser Caching
Sometimes clearing the cache with the plugins with still not let you see the changes you made. This could be because the browser you are using is also caching the pages. I will show you next how to clear the cache in a few of the most poplar web browsers.
Here is how you will clean your browser cache in Google Chrome. First you need to click on the menu icon, the 3 vertical dots, and then select More Tools » Clear Browsing Data.
This will bring up a popup where you can select the content you want to remove. Make sure that cached images and files is checked and then click on ‘Clear browsing data’ button.
You have now successfully cleared your browser cache in Chrome, and you can now try visiting your website to see if the changes have taken place. Most of time this will work.
To clear you cache in Safari, click on Safari in the upper left hand corner.
Click on Preferences/Manage Website Data
Click Remove All and then Done. This will remove all your browsing history and clear the cache.
Firefox is another poplar browser so here is how to clear the cache in this browser.
From the history menu, select Clear Recent History
From the time range to clear: drop down menu, select the desired range; to clear your entire cache, select Everything.
Next to details, click the down arrow to choose which elements of the history to clear; to clear your entire cache select all items.
Be careful when you clear your browser cache. You may not want to clear it completely. What I mean by that is that in most browsers, clearing the cache means clearing your history, where you have been, sites you have visited. This history is a good thing as it makes your browsing experience faster. Maybe only clear the last few weeks, and not everything completely. This should be enough to see the changes on your site.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it. I hope your take away from this article is what WordPress cache is and when and how to clear it. This will enable you to see the changes you made to your site.
Did this article help you clearing your WordPress cache? I would love to hear any comments or questions in the comments below.
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