Cache Anything and Speed Up Load Times

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One of the most common methods that webmasters use to speed up their sites is to cache content (such as HTML pages, JavaScript, images or CSS) to reduce bandwidth and server load and speed up delivery.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of content that can’t be cached, and when websites need to utilize that it can be problematic for performance and user experience. CloudFlare, a provider of cloud-based services to help secure and accelerate websites, is looking to alleviate this problem for its users by “caching the uncacheable” through a new Web optimization software called Railgun.

CloudFlare users are already at an advantage, because the service will not only cache content, but also deliver it to users from its various datacenters around the world. However, according to the company’s blog, “only about 66% of content is cacheable,” meaning the remaining 34 percent has to be recovered from the server of origin. That is why the company developed Railgun, which can cache dynamically generated and/or personalized Web pages using a scheme that reduces bandwidth and speeds up the loading process.

Railgun starts the acceleration process for non-cached pages by speeding up the downloading of the initial HTML, which must happen before the rest of a page can even begin downloading.

Primarily, though, Railgun is able to send Web pages across the ‘Net much more quickly because it will compress them to an astonishingly smaller version, which it’s able to do by looking at changes on a page “from download to download.” It will reduce the pages to just 0.65 percent of their original size to ensure that they travel faster from the origin server to the user’s screen, no matter where they are.

This new service is currently only available for CloudFlare Business and Enterprise customers as a part of their service packages.

 

 
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7 comments

Web Design Firm 01-22-2013 2:10 PM

Michael thanks for the info on Rail Gun. I love the name.

SamO 01-07-2014 4:57 AM

Serrver side optimization is a skill learned by experience. It isn't as easily broken down like frontend and highly dependent on operating system, server software, programming languages used and database optimization. As I know any one component in the stack can cause notable slowdowns.

In most cases, a full page caching implementation will give the biggest win, but this is not always a possibility, for instance when each category and product page does realtime stock checks.

For analysis of the bottleneck I can highly recommend New Relic and for testing your stack under load, Neoload by Neotys.

st louis seo 02-21-2014 9:39 PM

With the latest google patent info being released there is no doubt the page speed is very important. Thanks for sharing the tips.

ElizbathM 04-17-2014 6:02 AM

Cache problem can be solved with the technical skills. Page speed also depend on several factors.

SamO 05-25-2014 4:57 AM

It should be noted that the cache is [obviously] per-client… meaning that when visitor 1 requests ABC, it will be sent and then cached locally to their browser. When visitor 2 comes along 5 seconds later, another request to ABC will be sent, and then cached to their browser as well.

Clearing the cache (in this case, every 10 minutes) will only be useful if the client sits on the page for ten or more minutes. If I visit your site and have an AJAX request cached… when I click to another page, even within the same website, the cache will be refreshed.

A good practical use for this would be a JavaScript-laden web app where you know the client will be on the same page for an extended period of time.

Great tutorial!

SamO 06-02-2014 2:38 PM

Thanks a lot to author.

SamO 07-26-2014 4:28 AM

Not so bad...

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