What’s a browser cookie and what is its importance?

The term cache is something you might have heard before. However, what does it mean in Web context? Caching is common usage. It refers to storing information (usually in secret) so it might be useful in the future. A weapons cache. Web caches or browsers do exactly the same except for website assets and programs. A browser can take pages from a webpage and save them to your computer’s hard disk. You can store some assets in your browser’s cache:

Images – logos, pictures, backgrounds, etc.

HTML

CSS

JavaScript

Browsers typically store “static resources”, which are parts of a website that stay the same regardless of changes.

This website determines what you can cache and how long. Some assets may be removed within days. Other assets might remain for up to a full year.

Many are worried when websites steal their personal data without asking permission. Web developers will be able to store any assets on your computer without permission or knowledge. We place a lot trust in them, hoping they won’t make our device malicious.

Browser caching can have many benefits, which outweighs the risk. All you need is good firewalls, antivirus scanners, and common sense to ensure your machine’s safety.

Caching has several benefits

A conversation is initiated by your browser when you visit a new website. Your browser sends the request and the server will send back the asset. First to download is the HTML page. It then becomes the blueprint of how the site will be constructed. After reading the HTML code, your browser sends additional requests to request more page pieces to the server. These are mostly the static resources mentioned earlier.

This is a slow process that consumes bandwidth. You may find some web pages take longer to complete download or become fully functional due to large amounts of content.

For example, when opening a Web page for the first times, text will appear above the images. Because text is very small and takes very few minutes to download, while high quality images may take several second (or an inordinate amount of time computing time) for them to populate.

This cache improves the speed of your browser. When you download an asset it stays on your computer for a short time. Your hard drive will retrieve files faster than remote servers, regardless of how fast your Internet connections.

A typical ecommerce web site. Many assets (such as the logo) will be displayed on every page at the exact same spot no matter where on the site you go. You would need to cache the logo so that your machine could download it every time you visit a new product pages.

In addition to large images, complicated sites require JavaScript files. They are necessary for complex applications, such as shopping bags, interactive images or wish lists. Consider how conversion rates could be affected if customers had to wait up to ten minutes for the Buy Now button beneath their product. For customers to feel relaxed and encouraged to buy, it is vital that they have an easy browsing experience. Also, assets from the cached site will remain available on your device so that they load faster the next time.

Mobile data is commonly limited to mobile devices. Some data plans include bandwidth caps. It is better for users to have less websites downloaded.

Some pitfalls

Now you can enable asset caching on your website. Next, you choose to change the colors of your logo. It’s time to swap your old logo for the one you prefer and then go on the live web page to check it out. However, your old logo can be found on the website.

If the image swap went smoothly, it is possible to have caching issues.

Your computer has a cached copy your logo stored on its hard drive. It doesn’t bother to request a second download. Your machine will not be able download the new logo until its cache file is gone.

Cached files that are older can create problems for users.

This doesn’t usually happen as the server already knows which assets need replacing on the user’s machine. However, customers who complain that the site doesn’t work for them or anyone else should be advised to clear their browser cache.

Every browser supports clearing the cache. Some buttons are simpler than others. Hit that button to erase your cached files. This is how it works. Notice how long it takes the page to load. Clear your cache. Note how long the page takes to load.

It is possible to limit the time that a browser clears cache files for certain websites. Clear only one site with caching issues and keep the rest of your browser open to continue browsing.