How Does Browser Caching Affect Web Design?

Whether you’re a complete novice in the realm of web design or a seasoned professional, you may be overlooking a key element that can take your websites to the next level. Have you ever heard of browser caching and wondered, what the heck is that and how does it affect my web design? If so, you’re not alone! Browser caching is a data storage function that can tremendously improve website performance, yet many designers fail to take advantage of its benefits. There are a few simple reasons why browser caching affects your web design and how you can use it in your favor. 

What is Browser Caching?

In layman’s terms, browser caching is a feature that allows an internet browser to save data from a website in order to use it again for future visits. No matter what internet browser you’re using, you can be sure that all of them will use a web cache to collect data from any website that you’ve visited. In doing so, your browser will save both time and bandwidth the next time you decide to visit any particular website, because it will already have much of that data available in the cache. This prevents your browser from downloading an excessive amount of data when you’re returning to sites that you’ve visited already. Things such as images, Javascript and CSS are all examples of data that can be stored in a browser cache.

How Does That Relate to Web Design?

Understanding the function of a browser cache and utilizing it effectively can lead to improved performance for your website overall. The most obvious reason is that a good caching strategy leads to faster load times for your potential customers. This is essential as many consumers have confirmed that a slow loading website usually results in them abandoning the page altogether. Additionally, optimizing your browser cache settings can reduce heavy network congestion, creating a better browsing experience for users and helping you cut costs associated with your network.

How Can I Take Advantage of Browser Caching?

Although caching happens via the internet browser, you can create and customize a browser caching policy for your website by adjusting these settings in your Etag Header or Cache-Control. This allows you to specify the data you want to be saved in a cache, the expiration dates of those items and set up a cache clearing plan. For example, you can opt to cache large and less frequently updated items like images, logos, and Javascript, while selecting no-cache for data that is subject to change like HTML code. Another great option is to set expiration dates for your cached items, ensuring that your users aren’t seeing any outdated web elements. These are just a few of the multitude of options you can utilize when planning your website’s browser caching strategy. By wielding the power of this often-overlooked feature, you can maximize your website performance and keep your customers coming back again and again. 

Web Rocket Media can help you adjust your browser caching settings for your website to optimize its performance and enhance your user experience. Contact us today!

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