You spent the last few hours updating your team page for your business, adding the final finishing touches – images for each new team member, and making sure you have only one space after each period.
Done. Finished. You hit publish.
But wait –
Where is your team page update? Why do you keep seeing the old version?
Lucky for you, this is a method – caching – WordPress uses to speed up your website performance, but that leaves you with having to occasionally clear cache in WordPress.
What is cache and why should you clear cache in WordPress
Not sure what “clearing wp cache” or “delete cache” is? To ensure your website performance is fast, WordPress serves a static version of your website page to visitors to save time loading the entirety of your website to every single visitor.
This takes time and server resources before the website pages are displayed for your visitors. Yes, we’re usually only talking about hundreds of milliseconds, but according to Amazon, every 100 milliseconds spent in page load time equates to 1% of potential lost revenue.
Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard further says,
“For ecommerce sites, a couple of seconds is all the difference you need to make to double or triple conversions.
For media sites, bounce rates increase dramatically as page load times increase. For larger media sites, slow load times can cause the loss of thousands of visitors.
If you’re looking to generate leads, there’s a 20% swing in conversions between the fastest and slowest loading sites.
There’s also a strong correlation between fast loading sites and higher Google rankings. For example, the average site will load in just over 3 seconds. Whereas sites that rank on the first-page of Google will load in around 1.6 seconds.
Bottom line? While there are plenty of ways to improve website performance, caching is one of the easiest ways to improve WordPress performance. There’s no good reason not to use caching.”
Caching is nearly instantaneous and takes almost no server resources, making your website much faster and increasing higher conversions and sales.
It’s a good idea then to clear the cache when you notice changes and or updates to your websites that visitors don’t see.
Think of it like this:
Clearing WordPress (WP) cache is like getting a replacement credit card because of the worn-down magnetic strip. You still have the card, and it’s valid but you need an updated card – a card “refresh.”
Before learning how to clear a website cache, let’s look at different types of WordPress cache.
Different types of cache on WordPress
To keep things running smoothly, WordPress uses various caching mechanisms to store often-used data to be accessed more quickly.
- Object cache: Helps to speed up webpage generation times by storing frequently accessed data in memory. It’s built-in and runs by default automatically, but this isn’t the type of cache most people think of to increase website speed.
- Static file caching: Involves storing a copy of a generated webpage on the server. When the visitor goes to your website, they’re served this copy – the cached version – of your webpage. There are several WordPress plugins that enable static file caching with just a few clicks. I use WP Rocket.
- Cloudflare in WordPress: It’s a revolutionary WordPress caching system that uses the cloud to serve up your website pages to your visitors no matter where they live.
Not sure where the WordPress cache is stored?
If you’re using a plugin – which you should – then the cache is usually stored somewhere in the wp-content folder on your web host’s server, which your SheDevsIT WordPress consultant can help you find.
Google cache and using Incognito
What about Google cache? Google crawls all websites and their pages using “Googlebot” and takes a snapshot of every webpage for backup purposes (i.e., a page is down or isn’t available).
Google keeps millions of websites as a backup, which is what Google cache is.
It comes in handy if you search for something in Google – and for some reason the page is deleted – Google cache allows you to access the webpage. This makes for a better user experience.
When Google crawls your website, they also cache it on their servers. Visitors can access this cached version by searching the results page and clicking on the three dots next to the title.
This will bring up an information page. At the bottom, you can click on cached.
You have little control over this cached version, and anything you do locally, like using Incognito mode or a private browsing session, will not affect Google’s cache. If you don’t want your web pages cached by Google, you can send a signal to Google by going to your WordPress SEO plugin and setting a special page flag called a meta tag. Here’s how to do that in Yoast.
Finally, if you’re on a mobile phone, can you see a non-cached version of a website?
Yes, you can.
On desktop, you force a hard refresh of a website page by using the command-shift-R (on Windows, hold down control and press F5), and this bypasses the browser cache and tells the browser to serve an un-cached copy.
But on mobile, you can’t do this. If you want to clear the cache on your phone, disconnect your phone from your Wi-Fi and visit the website using a private browsing session connected to your cell service only (Don’t forget to reconnect to your Wi-Fi after testing! #cantsayihaventdonethat).
While these methods can clear all cache, what should you focus on as a business owner?
Focus your efforts on clearing static file caching on your WordPress website. In the next section, I’ll go over how to clear the cache for WordPress.
How to clear cache for WordPress
Let’s make this process simple and clear the website cache using a plugin.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial using the WP Rocket Plugin – the plugin I use. There are two ways to delete cache for WordPress – clear cache for the entire website or clear cache for a specific webpage.
To clear the website cache, go to your WordPress dashboard and Settings >WP Rocket.
In the WP Rocket dashboard, click the orange button on the right-hand side to clear the website cache.
This clears the cache on your website, and you can log out and see the freshly updated webpage you published.
Another way is to use the WP Rocket drop-down menu at the top of your WordPress dashboard.
If clearing cache doesn’t work, you can update the problem page by going to your Pages section and clicking on “clear this cache.”
WP Rocket pricing is $49/year for a single website. For more options, check out these plugins to clear the cache in WordPress.
Plugins to clear cache in WordPress
There are other WordPress plugins to clear cache if you want to use something different than WP Rocket. These all clear the cache, or saved files, so your website runs faster and smoother for your visitors.
- WP Super Cache – This cache plugin is one of the most popular free plugins available, with over 2 million active installs. It works similarly to WP Rocket in that WP Super Cache creates static files of your website pages to serve to your users instead of loading all the pages dynamically from your server.
- W3 Total Cache – It’s another widely-used free caching plugin, with over 1 million active installs. It offers more features than WP Super Cache, including support for caching images, pages, browsers, and files.
- Breeze – It’s a newer free caching plugin that has been gaining popularity. It is simple to set up and use and is optimized for WordPress multisite. It performs similar to the other caching plugins by caching images, files and cleaning up the WordPress database.
How to clear cache in WordPress without a plugin
As a last resort, you can purge cache in WordPress without a plugin by doing it manually. I strongly suggest that you have one of my team members help you with this option. This is a technical process, and any little mishap could make your website inaccessible.
- Login to your hosting account and go to cPanel
- Scroll down to the Software section and click on the phpMyAdmin icon
- Select your WordPress database from the left-hand menu
Clearing your cache is a quick and easy way to speed up your WordPress website. You can help ensure your website stays fast and responsive by periodically clearing your cache.
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