You may have seen the term “purge from cache” in your WordPress dashboard and wondered what this does. WordPress has a ton of features and if you are new to WordPress, you may not know what all of them do. So, what does purge from cache mean in WordPress?
Generally, when you see the term “purge from cache” in WordPress it means you have a caching plugin installed. Purging the cache clears all the stored (or cached) content from WordPress.
If you’re confused, don’t worry. I was confused about this too when I first started learning how to use WordPress. Let me explain what caching is and how WordPress stores cached content.
If you’ve ever cleared the cache on your internet browser, you may have the gist of what caching does. When your browser caches a page, it stores a copy of the static elements of the page in a temporary file on your computer. This way when you return to a web page you’ve visited before, it will load faster because your computer already has a stored copy of most elements on the page.
What is WordPress Caching?
Essentially, WordPress caching does the same thing that browser caching does, but instead of the cached files being stored in a temporary file on your computer, the files are stored in a folder within WordPress. Caching is a great way to improve the speed and performance of your website.
If you’re looking for this feature in your WordPress dashboard, you might not find it. That’s because WordPress doesn’t come with caching built-in. If you see the option to “purge from cache” in your dashboard, you have either installed a caching plugin yourself, or your hosting company preinstalled one. Bluehost, Siteground, and a few others include a caching plugin with their WordPress installation.
Why Caching improves site speed
If you understand how WordPress works, it will help you to understand why caching improves your site speed. WordPress is a content management system that works with a database to dynamically generate HTML pages. Ordinarily, when someone visits a page of your website, WordPress generates the HTML page dynamically by using PHP code, a MySQL database, and a WordPress theme’s CSS files.
WordPress retrieves all the design elements of the page and wraps them around the content that’s stored in the database. While this is what makes WordPress so amazing, it also takes longer for a browser to display a dynamically created HTML page than a static HTML page.
WordPress caching plugins allow you to save a copy of the HTML pages each time someone loads a page. This way when the next person visits the site, there is already an HTML page in the cache. WordPress will display this cached page instead of going through all the dynamic steps of creating the page. This makes your website pages and posts load much faster.
The benefits of using a WordPress cache plugin make a lot of sense. It’s also why WordPress cache plugins are used on millions of websites. If you don’t have a WordPress cache plugin installed on your website, they are really easy to install and use.