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Common Website Caching Issues and Their Solutions

Caching is both a blessing and a curse for web sites – particularly websites where content changes frequently, like membership sites.

The benefit is that cached files and images allow end-user to see a previously visited web site almost instantaneously. However, those same cached assets can ruin a user’s experience by serving up outdated website content or even coding and styling.

Troubleshooting caching issues can be difficult as caching takes place in a number of different points between the end-users device, through their internet service provider, the website and the website hosting company.

Below is a quick list we compiled that can help you identify specific caching issues and suggested solutions for resolving them. Some caching issues, such as caching by and Internet Service Provider, can only be identified but may not be easily resolved.

Issues specific to individual user’s device

Web Browser Caching

The most common caching, this is when a specific computer’s web browser saves web files from a previously visited web page for faster viewing of the same web page in the future. It sounds like a great idea, however, it can retain outdated pages and associated files, such as CSS styles and JavaScript interactive scripts, resulting in unintended user experience.

SYMPTOM: When viewing a web page, you are not seeing the current content.

SOLUTION: Clearing browser cache and restarting the browser. Sometimes, even a simple hard refresh without restarting a browser would do the trick.

User’s DNS Cache

Depending on user’s operating system, DNS entries can be stored locally for different periods of time, which might present problems during testing or web site launch.

SYMPTOM: On a specific computer you are not seeing a newly published website or website content. May also been experienced on multiple computers if they share an Internet connection.

SOLUTION: Flush local DNS cache.

Issues specific to a network

Networking Caching

Network components, such as routers and hubs can store cached information.

SYMPTOM: Issues will be experienced on all devices connected to the same network device.

SOLUTION: Turn off DNS caching or reboot the device.

Internet Service Provider Caching

Internet service providers will often cache content to reducing traffic.

SYMPTOM: This will be experienced by users in (usually) one geographic area served by specific Internet Service Provider. You can also use a service such as https://www.infobyip.com/detectproxy.php to see if your provider uses proxy [server / router].

SOLUTION: Contact your Internet Service Provider’s technical support and request a specific web site (domain) to be either excluded from caching (included in do-not-cache list) or have its cached duration reduced to a bare minimum.

Web Site Caching

Internet service providers will often cache content for reducing traffic.

SYMPTOM: The issue will appear on multiple computers from multiple locations using different Internet Service Providers.

SOLUTION: WordPress themes and plugins cache can be cleared via the theme or plugin. There is often functionality to purge the cache without disabling it.

Web Host Caching

Web hosts use caching in a variety of ways to reduce web server traffic and balance traffic across their servers.

SYMPTOM: Caching cannot be resolved by any of the above methods.

SOLUTION: Contact your web host.

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