Joomla just like most CMS’s are PHP or MySQL based. It means that, if you have a website and you want to generate the correct HTML to show to users, you need to do a lot of processing including getting the content data from the database and then compiling them into one HTML page. Caching attempts to overcome this process by re-using the already made HTML from Joomla. As a result, you realize increased load time of your web pages.
Caching is a smart way to show the user the stored view of web pages without the need to extract them from databases every time the users need them. Fortunately, Joomla offers flexible tools to achieve various configurations that many website owners need. This ranges from module setting caching to caching based on full page indiscriminate.
In this tutorial, we look at how to configure Joomla Page caching.
Joomla has some critical steps to start caching.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Cache Settings
We shall start by enabling caching through the Global Configuration. To do so, go to System > Global Configuration
To access the Cache Settings page, click the “System” tab.
On this page, start with the “Cache” selection. Here, you will see three Cache options. You need to select one of your choice as per your website’s requirement.
From the three options, choose “ON-Conservative Caching” or select “ON-Progressive Caching” to disclose the additional caching options.
Let’s get a little bit detailed about Caching disabled function and the difference between the two ON options.
This caching option helps to disable all other caching options in your site. In case you don’t need the default settings of Joomla caching, disable them by selecting this option.
This is the minimal caching offered by Joomla. When a user visits any page of your site, Joomla does a quick check on the cache file to look for a non-expired page. If there is one, Joomla will present the directory to the user. If the non-expired page is not found in the directory, Joomla uses its set of tools to create a different cached page for the user. The same page will be presented to other users as long as there is a non-expired page exists. As a result, most site users opt to use this version of Joomla caching. It’s a great option if you want to do frequent updates to your site.
In a Joomla website, you may come across modules that have still contents. Progressive caching is a great option to take a complete snapshot of all the modules on different pages. In this module, once a user visits your web page, Joomla will do a check in the cache folders to pull any non-expired page for that user. If there is one, this directory is presented to the user, but if there is none, Joomla will create another cached page for the user. But in this case, this page will be unavailable for other users until it expires.
Step 2: Cache Handler
Joomla uses Cache Handler mechanism to create the cache. This option is found in the Cache Settings. By default, Joomla Cache Handler is “File” but you can choose a different cache option if you are an expert in using different cache handlers. Otherwise, it’s a complex process.
Step 3: Platform Specific Caching
Apart from the common caching options, there are other different options for different devices. This allows users of to view different page on desktops or mobile devices.
The description of this options looks like this:
Step 4: Cache Lifetime
This is the amount of time a cached version of your page can be used before it’s refreshed on Joomla.
In the Cache Settings, you will find the Cache Time option to set the time in minutes. The more dynamic your website is with frequent updates, the lower the Cache Time should be.
In this case, the default Cache Time is 15 minutes. You can change the time depending on the frequency you publish new content on your site.
Step 5: Joomla Page Caching
The final option of Joomla caching is the Page Cache.
By enabling this option, Joomla can easily cache all pages including the articles, modules, and everything else in your website.
To enable Page Cache, go to Extensions > Plugins. In the search menu, type “cache” and search.
The Page Cache plugin will appear. Change the status to “Enabled.”
Remember to save to apply the changes.
Step 6: Browser Cache
To enable the browser cache, go to Extensions > Plugins. Set the user browser caching option to Yes.
By enabling the browser caching, it’s easier to store a copy every time a user looks at an image or page. If for some reason you want to access the page at a later date, you don’t have to rush to the internet to search for a new copy, but you can access the saved version.
Exclude Page Cache Menu Items
After the introduction of Joomla version 3.5, it’s now easier to exclude some menu items from the Page Cache which you don’t need to cache.
Click on the select box above to reveal all the menu items available.
Lastly, Joomla has an additional feature to the Cache Plugin to help you exclude certain URLs.
If you perform frequent updates to your Joomla website, using the Page Cache is a great option. On the other hand, if you update your content pages regularly but your modules remain same, then Progressive Caching will be the best option. You can use Conservative Caching to ensure the Page Cache is active for all the module available in a specific page.
Caching can be a great improvement to the performance of your site with many options available. Joomla may be a complex application, but it’s recommended to use the trial version first to determine what works best for your site. Enabling some caching methods increases your website performance while others may disable it completely. So, it’s important to do a performance test before choosing the appropriate option.
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