Leverage Browser Caching to Increase Website Speed

If you can leverage browser caching, you can increase website speed considerably. As Google starts considering site speed as a SEO parameter, webmasters can leverage browser caching to improve site speed and get better search engine rankings.

Why browser caching?

If you set an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources, modern browsers will load previously downloaded static resources like images, css, javascript, pdf, swf etc. from local disks rather than over the network.

So if you configure your web server to set caching headers and apply them to all cacheable static resources, your site will appear to load much faster.

How to leverage browser caching

Find your .htaccess file in the root of your domain. I edited it with Notepad to add these lines of code below and save it (not as .txt).

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 days"

This basically enables instructs the browser to cache different static resources like images, javascript, flash, pdf, and icons for the specified period of time. You can increase or decrease the values depending on your specific requirements. The more static or unchangeable your resource, longer the period you can enable browser caching. You can read more about the Apache Module mod_expires and how generation of Expires and Cache-Control HTTP headers instruct the client about the document’s validity and persistence.

You remember our site was slower than 94% sites online and we will present a series of articles on how we are speeding up our site to get better search engine rankings and SEO.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks. He is designing websites for over 20 years.