SEO Glossary: Browser Caching




In a nutshell: What is browser caching?

Fast page loading is very important nowadays. On the one hand, a high loading speed is a ranking criterion, on the other hand it is important for a positive user experience. Browser caching makes it possible to make a website faster.


What does browser caching mean?

A cache is used as a temporary memory to store data. With browser caching, the cache is located directly in the internet browser. It does not matter whether users visit a website with a computer, smartphone or tablet. If caching is activated, certain applications and data do not have to be reloaded each time. As a result, the loading speed of websites increases significantly.


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How does browser caching work?

With caching, a basic distinction is made between server-side caching and browser caching. If browser caching is activated, data and information are cached directly on the user's internet browser.


A look at the frequently cached files shows that these are always static data. They are rarely or never changed, such as JavaScript or CSS files.



Among other things, the following elements are stored temporarily:


  • Videos
  • Layouts
  • Forms
  • Cookies


Each time a browser returns to the website, the static elements do not have to be reloaded and are available directly in the browser. This ensures a faster loading time, while at the same time conserving server resources. Browser caching is also an advantage when users call up many URLs for a domain.



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How is browser caching set up?

If webmasters want to use browser caching, there are several options. Depending on the system, plug-ins are available for CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS are available. Alternatively, the .htaccess can also be configured on the server. This is where the administrator specifies which file types are to be cached.


Browser caching in CMS


Numerous extensions and plug-ins are available for classic CMS such as WordPress or store systems. These include the well-known plug-ins WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache. After the one-off setup and configuration, the extensions independently ensure that browser caching runs fully automatically for users.


Browser caching via .htaccess file


To configure browser caching via .htaccess, a web server with Apache is required. First, two modules must be activated, then the configuration is carried out directly in the .htaccess file.


Example of a .htaccess configuration:



<IfModule mod_headers.c>
<FilesMatch „.(gif|ico|jpeg|jpg|png|css|js)$“>
Header set Cache-Control „max-age=604800, public“



In this case, all file types that are set in brackets are cached. The "max-age" value is also important. It stands for the maximum time in seconds that a browser should cache.



Which files can a browser cache during browser caching?


All supported file types for browser caching are listed below:


  • Static resources such as CSS or JavaScript
  • Image files such as JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF
  • Media files such as videos, PDF files



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Conclusion on the topic of browser caching

Browser caching is quick and easy to set up and ensures that users enjoy faster loading times. At the same time, the load on the server is reduced, which is particularly beneficial during busy periods. But also in terms of search engine optimization the cache is almost indispensable, as loading speed is an important ranking factor for search engines such as Google.


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