What is cache flushing in WordPress? Speaking strictly as it relates to websites, a cache, be it WordPress or not, is fundamentally a stored copy/version of your websites’ assets on your users’ devices.
It’s simple: The web browsers, CDN providers, hosting providers, and any other caching solution you might be using, all assist in serving cache content, and caching them in the first place.
Caching is beneficial for everyone. The primary motive behind caching is to speed everything up and reduce your sites’ server bandwidth load. Say, for instance, a user goes to your website 100 times. The first time, in theory, will be the longest as he or she would need to wait for your entire site and all its assets to load on their browser. Thereafter, the same user will be able to render your site much faster because some, or all of your site assets such as CSS files, Images, Scripts, etc. are cached.
So what were the benefits in this hypothetical?
1. The second time a site user goes to your website, it loads up much faster for them. Every user likes a fast site.
2. As a site owner, for every repeat visits, you don’t have to return the request for every ping to your site directly from your servers and PHP code (assuming you’re on WordPress). This way, you’re reducing the load on your servers.
In general, the most significant benefit of caching is speed. To end-users, and also as site owners.
As a whole, you’re able to cache static HTML copies of your websites’ pages. Individually, you can cache:
1. CSS Files
4. Other Media, Content & files (depending)
What Is Cache Flushing/Flush Cache As It Relates to WordPress?
A cache flush, essentially means a command to purge all of your sites’ cached content. It’s kind of like hitting a reset button on your websites’ cache.
WordPress predominantly has had a button for “flush cache” or something similar for a long time, and because of it, every time someone utters the words “flush cache,” or, “cache flush,” etc., it’s mainly associated with WordPress. But technically, as mentioned, every website likely has some mechanism built in to flush their cache.
What’s the Need to “Flush Cache”?
The chief objective of cache flushing is to inform site users of any and all changes you’ve made to your website. For example, say you published a new blog post on your WordPress site, and on the homepage, you typically display your most recent posts. If you don’t flush your cache, chances are your site users will not know about your new post — if they visit your homepage.
Because they have a cached version/a.k.a, at this point, the old version of your website stored on their RAMs, browsers, and devices. So unless and until you have a magic wand, you have to clear your cache, to ensure your visitors are regularly educated on your website alterations.
That’s just one scenario. Say your made some color changes, or came up with a new logo, built in new functionality, etc.; if, you don’t reset your cache, your site users will remain uninformed of those updates. Worse case, even search engine bots might not be able to assimilate your site modifications. That’s just bad all around because all your hard work can go unnoticed.
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Coming to the Point, How to Clear Cache for Your WordPress Site?
Normally speaking, you’ll have to clear your Cache from at least 3 places.
- Your Main WordPress Dashboard.
- From your Caching Plugins.
- From your CDN providers.
As an example, I will go over the following:
How to Directly Clear Cache From WP
This is relatively way easier than you’d think. All you have to do is log into your WP admin dashboard > and from the top header, select the option to “flush cache.” Typically, this would be under “Managed WordPress” or similar. See the image that follows for reference.
How to Clear Hummingbird Cache
Like the WP cache itself, you’ll need to head over to the Hummingbird Dashboard, and select “Clear Cache.” This way, all of your cache-es will be cleared, which includes pages, assets, gravatar, and Cloudflare (if integrated).
How to Clear Cloudflare Cache
Technically, Hummingbird will take care of clearing your Cloudflare cache (if integrated), but if you want to play it absolutely safe, you can remove your Cloudflare Cache in two ways:
- Purging some of your cache files via the plugin.
- Purging everything from your Cloudflare Account.
I’d recommend going with the second option. To execute, all you have to do is navigate to your “caching” settings. Then, you’d select the “configuration” tab, from where, you’d utilize the “Purge Everything” button for clearing your entire Cloudflare Cache. (Visual reference underneath this sentence).
Caching a website certainly has its advantages; however, as a site owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your website changes are reflected to the users, and also to search engine crawlers.
A mistake lot of WordPress users make is that they can see their changes as soon as they’re done on their end, and therefore do not clear their cache. That’s probably a result of them being logged in as admins into their WP account. Notwithstanding that phenomenon, it’s plausible that the rest of the world won’t be able to witness the site updates.
Hopefully, this post has helped in understanding what “caching,” or “cache flushing” is, and why it’s crucial to retain them, albeit in certain situations, clear them.