Cache has been existing for a long time in the computer world. A cache is a space to hold temporary data such as text, images, and even webpages. It acts as an intermediate memory to transfer the required and requested data in less time. Therefore, in the web world where the webpages have to be served to the users instantly, the cache is extremely important. The loading time will decrease, and therefore, the user experience will improve. This is going to also help in proving the SEO rank of the website. There are two types of cache available for web developers, namely server cache and browser cache. Understand their differences below.

Server Cache Vs Browser Cache

A server cache is all about storing the mostly used data in the server. All such caching work is fully managed on the server, and there is no direct access of the browser or the end user. The server holds the pre-assembled version of the various webpages of a website.

Coming to the browser cache, the required data is stored in the user’s hard drive. This is helpful as the user’s computer does not have to download certain heavy elements of a web page again and again every time the user visits the webpage. However, a user has the right to clear the browser cache, and it is required when you want the server to serve the updated version of the webpage.

Types Of Content –

A server cache holds a lot of content while a browser cache holds some limited types of data. There are different divisions in a server cache that you should know about. There are mainly three types of caching available in the server, but there are more types. The common ones are Object, CDN, and Opcode caching. In the object caching, the common or recently used database queries are stored for quick retrieval and faster execution during page loads.

The CDN caching is actually having servers in different location of the world so that the end users can be served with web pages and others faster. Opcode caching holds the PHP code in the compiled form so that the request is served faster for repeated page loads. So, a server cache can hold content, code, queries, and that too on multiple servers to serve end users faster.

On the other hand, the browser cache stores HTML pages, CSS files, JavaScript scripts, and most important images and other types of media objects. The media objects take the most time to load as they are large in size and therefore, if they are stored in the user’s computer, it can be served instantly rather than bringing them from the server. The browser is controlling all these files and objects in the end user’s computer.

Process –

When a user requests for a web page, the browser takes the requests and analyzes. It then determines whether the user has already visited the web page before or not from history. If he has, then it searches for the content it has saved in the end user’s computer. After that, it sends the server the requests to send all other data and objects that are not there on the client side to put up the web page completely.

The server authenticates the request and serves accordingly. After authentication, the server acts pretty much like a browser where it looks if such a request came before and if there is something in the cache to the server immediately. If there are all the things it needs to serve as per request, it serves immediately to the browser to load the page completely or partial. At the same time, if there are not all the things, it goes back to the main memory and server after that.

Drawbacks –

For server cache, it takes more time to serve the request because the browser cache is in the end user’s computer. But there is more security in the server side and the security on the end user’s computer can get compromised.  

For any website or webpage requested by the end user, there is a combination of server and browser cache to serve the webpage in the shortest time. A developer has to program the website accordingly, and the rest is taken care of by the browser.

Kitty Gupta