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One web accelerator stands alone offering better performance than any other: caching. This article is the first in a series created to show you how to leverage caching to boost your application performance! Other articles in this series will show the basics in overcoming caching limitations, and provide an in-depth look at caching.
Why Use Web Caching?
Let’s bring caching out of its conceptual textbook realm and into a real life analogy that should really drive home its necessity. Imagine that you live in one of the world’s most primitive towns where there are no refrigerators and only a single grocery store which has no shelves and no shopping carts. Everyone impatiently waits for an overworked and unappreciated sales clerk to take their order. When your turn comes, he takes your grocery list and hand carries each item, one by one, from the stockroom to the sales counter. When all items are retrieved, you make you purchase, struggle to carry your items home, feed your family, and then rush back to repeat the whole process for the next meal. Sound ridiculous? This is exactly how a web site operates without cache!
Everyone’s life would become efficient using Internet caching terms and concepts:
- Data caching would be like using shopping carts to quickly retrieve categorized items from grocery shelves, saving time and allowing the grocery clerk to service more customers.
- Fragment caching would be like having multiple items from the same category already pre-packaged for you. For example, a produce package could include pre-made salads and fruit baskets, saving you from purchasing individual items.
- Server-side output caching would be like having a grocery cart already created for you based upon items that you and others previously purchased, removing the need to even enter the store.
- Client-side output caching would be like storing multiple meals in a home refrigerator, completely eliminating the need to travel.
- Proxy caching would be like adding neighborhood convenience stores (mini-marts) that provide already-filled shopping carts for the sole purpose of reducing travel.
- Directory and file caching would be like ordering an item and having it delivered to your home separate from the rest of your order. Even though it is referenced with your purchase, it will arrive at a different time.