SEO Glossary: Browser Caching




In a nutshell: What is browser caching?

A fast page load 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. By means of browser caching there is the possibility to make a website faster.


What does browser caching mean?

A cache serves as a temporary storage to store data there. 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 every 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 a user's Internet browser.


A look at the frequently cached files shows that these are always static data. They are rarely if ever changed, for example JavaScript or CSS files.



Among other things, the following elements are cached:


  • 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 resources from the server. Furthermore, browser caching is advantageous when users retrieve many URLs of a domain.



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How is browser caching set up?

If webmasters would like to use browser caching, there are several possibilities. Depending on the system, for example, plug-ins are available for CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS are available. Alternatively, the .htaccess on the server can be configured. Here, the administrator specifies which file types are to be cached.


Browser caching in CMS


There are numerous extensions and plug-ins available for classic CMSs such as WordPress or store systems. Among them are the well-known plug-ins WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache. After the one-time setup and configuration, the extensions independently take care that the browser caching runs fully automated for the users.


Browser caching via .htaccess file


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


Example of .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. In addition, the value "max-age" is important. It stands for the maximum time in seconds that a browser should cache.



What files can a browser cache during browser caching?


Below are all supported file types for browser caching:


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



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Conclusion about 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 from the server is spared, which is especially worthwhile during high visit and peak times. 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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