Isn’t it frustrating when the changes you make on your website don’t reflect immediately on your live site?
Well, it’s true caching improves your site speed and user experience but, at the same time, it can also block you from viewing any changes or delivering new content on your website.
Since we’re all aware of the fact – Not delivering new content or updating your old content can lead to a loss in terms of visitors and revenue. Therefore, it’s quite essential you get rid of the blockage itself – Cache.
Clearing the cache on your WordPress website will help you display the changes immediately on your visitors’ screens.
Before we deep dive, let’s quickly understand the reasons to clear the cache.
Why do you need to clear the cache on your WordPress website?
You probably know this already but, bear with us for a moment as we quickly cover this topic in short before diving into the ‘How’ aspect.
As caching stores and sends a static copy of our website, most of us use it to ensure that our web pages load quickly when a user visits our website.
As we mentioned earlier, not clearing the cache may not display the changes you’ve made to the content or your website. Some of these changes we’re talking about include:
- Changing designs, product information, contact forms, etc.
- Adding new blogs or content.
- Updating plugins and themes.
- Changes in database and more.
After you make the changes, the caching plugin usually detects these changes and clears the cache on its own, however, the automation hasn’t yet reached a level where they are able to identify many changes, E.g: Making styling changes.
This is the reason you need to know how to manually clear the cache on your WordPress website.
With that being said, let’s take a look at different methods to clear cache in WordPress:
1. Clearing your Browser Cache
Hey buddy, did you try clearing your browser cache?
This is the first suggestion you’d usually receive when trying to resolve the issue.
While it may seem like an amateur solution, interestingly, one of the reasons you’re not able to see the changes in the front-end is possibly because you haven’t cleared your browser cache yet!
Let’s quickly take a look at what really goes wrong here:
Sometimes, if the website has made changes then, your browser may not detect this and will fetch the old cached content stored in your system instead of displaying the fresh content.
So, in order to witness the updated page, you can clear your browsing cache by following the below steps:
- For Chrome – Settings > More Items > Clear Browsing data.
- For Firefox – Menu > Options > Advanced > Network > Cached Web Content > Clear Now.
- For Safari – Safari drop-down menu > Preferences > Advanced Tab > Show development menu > Development menu > Empty cache.
Once you’ve cleared the cache from your browser, try visiting your website again and check if you’re able to view the changes you’ve made.
Cache Busting to display updated content to your visitors
Now, if you’re able to view the changes, it may happen that your visitors are still not able to view these changes.
Since your visitor’s browser also stores a cached copy of your website, their browser is going to use this same cached copy when they revisit your website thereby, preventing them from seeing the latest updates.
In such a scenario, it’s practically impossible for you to reach out to every visitor and explain the process of browser caching.
Hence, to counter this issue, you can use this technique called ‘Cache Busting’.
Cache Busting is a technique to modify the file version of your website so that their browser identifies a new version of the file and instead of retrieving the old cached version, it makes requests to the original server for the new file.
This allows you to make changes on your end so that your visitors can view the latest changes or updated content on your website without having to clear their browser cache.
Let’s look at the ways in which you can use Cache Busting:
- Modify file name : (e.g. original file – style.css) to (updated file – style.v2.css)
- Modify file path : (e.g. /v2/style.css)
- Use Query string : (e.g. style.css?ver=2)
We recommend you to use the first two methods for Cache Busting as they will not hamper your website or caching configuration.
Query string, on the other hand, may interfere with your caching mechanism and hence, we recommend not to use this method.
However, if doing this doesn’t help, then move on to the next step and try clearing your WordPress caching plugin.
2. Clearing the WordPress Caching plugin
In a usual scenario, whenever a user visits your WordPress website, WordPress will collect information from other servers or databases and follow other steps before sending it to your user’s browser.
This can result in slow load times and lead to bad user experience.
However, a common way to tackle this issue is by using a WordPress caching plugin.
A caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the user’s first visit and will present this cached copy the next time your user visits the site.
This prevents your users from going through the whole website loading process again. Plus, it helps you to increase your website speed and provide a better user experience.
Recommended for you: 13 tips to speed up your WordPress site Load Time.
While using a caching plugin has its own benefits, it can also sometimes restrict you from viewing the updated content as well.
Having said this, if you’re already using one, then you must clear your plugin cache in order to view the changes immediately. Fortunately, most of the plugins make this process quite simple and easy.
Let’s take a look at how to clear cache in different WordPress plugins:
2.1 Clear cache with W3 Total Cache plugin
W3 Total Cache plugin is one of the most popular caching plugins trusted and used by millions of bloggers and publishers out there.
To clear cache using this plugin, follow the below steps:
- Performance > Dashboard > empty all caches.
This will clear all the cached content of your site. Moreover, if you wish to clear page/post-specific cache, this plugin does it by default every time you create or edit a post.
However, make sure that you’ve first selected the pages/posts in the settings and enabled them for caching. This will ensure those pages/posts are automatically cached in the future.
Share your experience – Review W3 Total Cache here
2.2 Clear cache with WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the most powerful WordPress caching plugin. They make it super easy to set up the plugin and provide incredible support if you ever need help.
This plugin allows you to clear the cache for the whole site or a specific page or a post as per your needs.
a. Clearing cache for the whole site:
In order to clear the cache for the whole site, go to:
- WP Rocket menu > Clear cache.
b. Clearing cache on a specific page or post.
To clear a page specific cache, head over to:
- Pages or Post > Select a page/post > Clear this cache.
WP Rocket will delete all the cached files quickly depending on what you choose enabling you to display the latest content for your visitors.
Share your experience – Review WP Rocket here
2.3 Clear cache with WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is another popular caching plugin that produces static Html files and improves your site speed significantly. It comes with a great set of features including cache scheduler and cache restrictions.
With this plugin, you can clear the cache manually or automatically.
a. Manually clearing the cache.
If you wish to clear the cache manually, follow the below process:
- Settings > WP Super Cache > Easy tab > Delete cache.
b. Automatic cache clearing
To enable automatic cache clearing, check out the below process:
- Settings > WP Super Cache > Advanced tab
- Check clear all cache files when a post or page is published.
You can use either of the two options and clear the cache to make your content visible to your visitors.
Share your experience – Review WP Super Cache here
2.4 Clear cache with WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is a caching plugin known for its intuitive dashboard and incredible features. Apart from ensuring faster load times, it also helps your website to rank better.
When it comes to clearing cache, this plugin usually deletes all cache files when you create or edit a new post or a page.
However, if required, there’s also a manual option that you can use to clear the cache.
To use the manual option, go to:
- WP Fastest Cache > Delete cache
The plugin also gives you an option that allows you to delete cache plus the minified CSS/JS, thereby, enabling your website to load quicker.
With that being said, if the problem still persists and you’re unable to see the updated content, you will need to try the next option, i.e. clearing cache from Content Delivery Network services.
Share your experience – Review WP Fastest Cache here
3. Clearing caching when you have a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Again, this is a common issue you might want to look into if you’re using a CDN service.
A CDN, essentially a third party network that sends a cached copy of your website through its centers around the world to its nearest visitors, thereby, allowing them to access your website as quickly as possible.
Now, if you’re using a CDN service like CloudFlare, Sucuri, or any other for that matter, then you will have to clear your CDN cache in case, deleting your browser or plugin cache didn’t work.
To give you an idea of how clearing cache in CDN works, let’s take an example of a CDN service – CloudFlare
Clearing the cache in CloudFlare is pretty simple. All you have to do is log in with your account and follow the below process:
- Select the website you wish to clear the cache from.
- Hit the Caching button.
- Purge everything.
Once you select Purge everything, all files stored in your CDN will be cached. However, this can be time-consuming. Therefore, we recommend you delete cache for specific pages/posts as per your needs. You can access these options through the Custom Purge icon.
Now, if you’re using other CDN services, you can check out this article that provides detailed insights on clearing CDN.
Well, if doing this doesn’t work either, there’s another solution that you will need to pursue – Clearing cache on the server.
4. Clearing caching from your WordPress Managed Hosting
When everything fails, you will have to go above and beyond and try the server-side caching. Unlike the previous options, this is a bit different.
When it comes to the server-side, it is slightly different caching as it includes things like:
- PHP caching
- MySQL caching
- Object caching and so on.
This is mostly everything outside WordPress and to be honest, clearing cache on the hosting server is usually out of your control.
However, in order to get the cache cleared on your server, you will have to contact your Web hosting company and they will solve your problem.
And, before we part, allow us to enlighten you with:
Some useful tips to keep in mind while caching:
- Avoid clearing cache during high traffic or peak hours as this can result in slow loading of your website.
- Trying clearing cache only for a specific file/page/post that has been updated instead of carrying out caching for the entire website as this can cause a lag in your website speed.
- In case of clearing multiple caching on different levels, make sure you’re aware of the flow and pattern so that there’s no conflict with the other programs that can lead to a loss in information.
- Always start with clearing your browser cache before moving on to other solutions.
- Never cache your dynamic content. For e.g: Transaction related pages.
- Clearing cache in your WordPress caching plugin will not affect/hamper your website settings.
- Don’t clear your caching plugin too frequently as it defeats the main purpose itself.
Caching is one of the most efficient ways to improve your site performance and adds significantly to the user experience.
However, clearing caches is an equally important aspect to ensure that any changes you make on your website are reflected immediately and your visitors are able to witness it just in time.
Having said that, we hope we’ve provided you with enough insights on how to clear the cache on your WordPress website.
If you have any more tips on clearing caches on WordPress websites, feel free to share it with us. We’d love to hear them 🙂
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