Caching continues to be one of the simplest and fastest ways to speed up your website’s loading time. However, while being beneficial it can sometimes cause some frustrating errors.
For example, let’s say that you’ve recently made some changes to a page on your website, but when you visit that page you aren’t seeing the changes that you’ve made.
This is caused by either your browser or caching plugin serving you a cached version of that page. I’ve encountered this issue a few times myself and it can simply be solved by clearing your cache.
How do I clear my WordPress cache without plugins isn’t the right question to ask since a plugin is required in order to enable WordPress caching. So instead, in this article, I will show you how to clear your browser cache, how to clear your WordPress cache using a plugin and most importantly how to do it manually using the file manager.
What is cache
Types of caching
Now there are two types of caching that can affect a WordPress website. The first is browser or client-side caching and the other is server-side caching.
What is Browser or Client-side Cache
Client-side cache is actively stored by a visitor’s browser when they arrive on your website for the first time. Note that your browser will also do the same if you were to visit your website.
The next time that user visits your website they will experience much faster loading speeds given that they haven’t cleared their cache before their next visit.
This is because they are loading the cached version of that web page from their browser and not downloading that data from your web server, therefore, it is delivered to them faster. Now we can see how this can cause some issues.
If you were to make a change and the browser doesn’t detect it the browser will continue to load the cached version of the web page. This is one case where you will need to clear your browser cache.
How to manually clear your browser cache
Step 1: If you are using Chrome click on the ellipsis (the three vertical dots ) at the top right of the browser next to your user icon, this will open a drop-down menu.
Step 2: Move your mouse and hover it over the more tools option. Another drop-down menu will reveal itself, in this new menu click on the clear browsing data option.
(Tip) You can skip the first two steps by using the key combination of Ctrl+shift+delete. This will take you to the same page in the screenshot below.
Step 3: You’ll see a pop-menu like the one above. Only select “cached images and files”, then click on clear data. After which you’ll have successfully cleared your browser cache. Not difficult right?
What is Server-side Cache
As I mentioned, above your WordPress website can be further optimized by utilizing server-side caching. However, it must be noted that the only way you can take advantage of server-side caching on your website is to use one of the various caching plugins available.
Server-side caching works similarly to client-side caching, but instead of storing the files on the visitor’s computer it is stored on your web server. This process happens behind the scenes even before the visitor arrives on your web page.
So when some visits your website WordPress does have to dynamically generate the web page instead the caching plugin serves them a cached version of that page. Additionally caching plugins will create dedicated cache files for mobile pages, users that log into your website, results of database queries and much more.
How to clear WordPress cache with a plugin
For this demonstration, I will be using the plugin WP Super Cache.
Step 1: Log into your WordPress website and go to the dashboard.
Step 2: On the top toolbar you will see a menu item that says “Delete Cache” click on it to clear your WordPress cache. This menu item will be different for each caching plugin. For example, if you are using W3 Total Cache it will be “performance”.
Another option is to click on the menu item “WP Super Cache ” in the left toolbar. In this case, it is located in the settings tab.
This will bring you to the plugin dashboard as you can see below.
Next click contents tab at the top then click on the “delete cache” button.
How to clear WordPress clear cache manually
Some caching plugins will create a specific cache folder within your file manager. This will allow you to clear your cache from your file manager.
Step 1: Log into your hosting provider and navigate to the file manager.
Step 2: Navigate to the cache folder which is located in public_html > wp-content > cache > supercache > webtipstech.com
Step 3: Delete the content in that folder
Why you should use a plugin for caching.
WordPress requests new information about a web page every time someone visits your site. It does this to provide the most updated content to the visitor. This process takes time and since the content on a page doesn’t change that often after it’s published, there is no reason for this to happen all the time.
Here is where caching plugins come in. These plugins bypass this process by providing the visitor with the cached version of the web page. Whenever you make changes to these pages, the plugin will automatically update the cached version and serve visitors with the updated content.
Best WordPress speed plugin
On this website, I use a plugin called SG Optimizer. It is the default caching solution provided by my hosting service provider Siteground. It is integrated within the hosting plan and it’s much faster and more efficient than a third-party caching plugins. In my opinion, the caching solution provided by your hosting provider is the best one to go with.