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#BacktoBasics: What is a Cache?

6 September 2013 by Emma Blunt

Caches are all about accelerating computer speed and efficiency, which is all very useful in our fast-paced digital world.

The dictionary describes a cache (pronounced like the word ‘cash’) as “an auxiliary memory from which high-speed retrieval is possible” and, yes, this is cache in a nutshell. It’s a technology related to computer memory and it stores data that you, the user, access quite frequently. Caches are often mentioned when talking about internet browsing, so we’ll focus on this for now.

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Let’s say you type a website address into your computer’s browser. Your computer then has to go through a process to open it and it is downloaded to a temporary file in memory. Then, next time you want to visit that website, your computer can retrieve it more quickly by dipping into the temporary files, or cache, instead of having to download it again.

It’s like asking a person to bring you something from upstairs and that person checking their pockets before they set off up the stairs. Obviously, if the person already has the requested item in their back pocket from the last time they were upstairs, then the time it takes for them to hand it over to you will be significantly shorter. Put simply, this is how an internet browser cache works.

To find out more about UKFast’s Cache Machine, Webcelerator, call our team on 0208 045 4945.