If you have tried to run your WordPress website through a different browser or through software like Pingdom, then you may have come across a yellow warning message. This message is a Leverage Browser Caching warning.
This warning indicates that you need to make some changes to your website to make it easier for users to visit it repeatedly.
In this article, we will be helping you get to grips with leverage browser caching on WordPress, letting you know what this actually means and how you can fix it.
What Is Leverage Browser Caching?
In order to make things faster when you visit a website, your browser will download certain aspects of the website such as HTML, CCS files, text, images and other features and store in the web cache.
This ensures that whenever you visit a website again, it can load quickly as the browser does not have to spend a lot of time installing and reproducing the data that is present.
The web cache is a temporary way of storing this data on your device’s local storage to make websites run quicker for the time being. This means that when a user visits the same website or a different page on the same domain, the browser can use what is currently stored in the cache rather than having to download everything again.
When it has information stored in the web cache, the browser will only download what is different about the website or web page when you visit it. As the changes that will have been made on a domain or web page will be minor, it can improve the loading time of the entire website on your browser. This, in turn, saves you time as it makes the website load faster.
Using information from the web cache instead of downloading time and time again also reduces the bandwidth consumption and load on your server.
What Does A Leverage Browser Caching Warning Mean?
It is possible that you may have encountered a leverage browser caching warning when you are trying to optimize your WordPress website for speed.
Different websites will have their own leverage browser caching warning, but you will not be able to miss it. These indicate that you need to make some changes to fix the leverage browser caching by activating certain settings.
What what does a leverage browser caching in WordPress warning actually mean?
Although web caching is a great function in theory, as it should make websites load quicker on your browser, there is a limit it to it. By default, most website domains, like WordPress, will mark the content that needs to expire after a short period. This period is typically around a week.
This means that if a user visits your website again after this short period is up, they will need to download all of the data again into their web cache. This can increase the loading speed of your website and can make it run slower.
When a leverage browser caching warning appears through WordPress, it is simply saying that some of your data is reaching its an expiration date and you need to fix it.
In order to fix browser caching issues, we need to leverage browser caching through WordPress. This will improve the speed and function of your website.
The term leverage browser caching may seem complicated, but all it means it instructing the web browser to extend the lifetime or expiry date of the data on our website. This is the data that will be downloaded by visitor’s browsers and stored in the cache to make it load quicker.
Luckily, the changes you need to do for your WordPress website are very minor and can be quite easy to install.
How To Fix Leverage Browser Caching In WordPress
When we make changes to the browser caching on WordPress websites, what we are actually doing is setting content expiry dates through Cache-Control Headers and ETag Headers in HTTP headers.
These have two slightly different operations. The Cache-Control Headers determine the caching period for a particular file or a type of file, whereas the ETag Headers are used to verify changes that are present between the cached version of a website and the requested source.
There are two main ways that you can implement leverage browser caching in WordPress.
Leverage Browser Caching Using .htaccess
This step requires a bit of coding knowledge as you need to change some of the HTML settings of your WordPress website. You need to be able to access the control panel of your hosting account, which can be found through your WordPress account. Then:
- Find the root folder of your WordPress website
- Open the .htaccess folder in your File Editor. Note, this can sometimes be a hidden folder so make sure you have access to hidden files first
- In order to leverage browser caching in WordPress, you need to make the following edits to the bottom of the page
- Add Expire Headers and choose a long expiry time
- Add Cache-Control headers
- Unset ETag Headers
- After these changes have been made, do not edit anything else
- Save the changed file
- Rerun the test of your website to process the changes
The CSS files and images of your website may also need to be leveraged for browser caching through .htaccess. Make sure you set a long expiry date for your images, around a year or so will suffice.
When you make this kind of changes, you are ensuring that the HTML will stay in the web cache longer than the default 600 seconds as this code typically changes more frequently. You are also changing the CSS script and Java Script so they will remain in the web cache for around a month.
This still allows for changes on your website, but ensure that it will run quickly for your visitors during a longer period.
Leverage Browser Caching Using WordPress Plugins
If you do not have the knowledge or even the time to alter the .htaccess of your WordPress website, then a leverage browser caching plugin will be a better option.
This is actually recommended to most websites, as altering the .htaccess could potentially break your WordPress website if you don’t know what you’re doing.
One of the best things about WordPress is the fact it allows plugins. Plugins are pieces of software that can be installed and activated onto your site to improve the functionality. There are thousands of WordPress plugins available, including those to leverage browser caching.
Most of the leverage browser caching plugins that you install onto your WordPress website will be doing their work in the background.
Leverage browser caching websites are a great option because not only will they handle the leverage browser caching in WordPress, but they can also handle a range of other caching optimizations. This includes creating a temporary cache, known as a file cache, database optimizations, Memcache and other caching optimizations that will make your website run faster.
One of the best plugins for WordPress is to Leverage Browser Caching. This is a simple plugin that offers nothing more than leveraging the browser caching of your WordPress website, but it can improve the loading speed dramatically.
How To Use Leverage Browser Caching Plugin
WordPress plugins are a great option for leveraging the browser cache of your website as they are so quick and easy to use. Here is how you can use Leverage Browser Caching to improve your WordPress website:
- Go to the Dashboard of your WordPress website and select Plugins
- In this section, click Add New
- Find the Leverage Browser Caching on the WordPress directory or click Upload New if you have downloaded it from a third-party website
- Once the file has been found and selected, click Install Now
- Allow the plugin to install into your website
- Select Activate Now
Once the Leverage Browser Caching Website has been activated onto your WordPress website, you should make sure that it is working correctly. This means you should test your website and make sure that the leverage browser caching warning has gone.
This is the same process for any other leverage browser caching plugin you choose for your WordPress website or indeed any other plugin at all.
We’d recommend starting with the basic but effective Leverage Browser Caching Plugin first to see if this resolves your problems. If you feel like you need something more to improve the speed of your website, then there are a lot of other leverage browser caching plugins available from the WordPress directory or third-party marketplaces that can offer more optimization settings.
Always make sure you uninstall the old leverage browser caching plugin before installing a new one to keep your website fast.
We’d recommend using a WordPress leverage browser caching plugin rather than altering the code, as this is more effective and easier to do.