Having a fast website is essential to businesses for two important reasons. The first reason is that fast websites are preferred by search engines to be ranked higher. Hence, if you are marketing through SEO, having a fast website helps improve your website’s organic search visibility leading to more traffic and discovery. Secondly, website speed has an impact on user experience which can be tied back to the bottom line.
Out if all the research out there on page speed and its impact on your website performance, one statistical statement stands out: 47% of people expect websites to load in less than two seconds. Moreover, it the load time takes longer, they may abandon it altogether.
Why? Well that’s because the bar has been set that high by other websites. Also, users have limited time on their hands and waiting for a page to load is the last thing they want to do with their time. Customers may tend to perceive a brand to be professional, reliable and customer-focused based on the experience they have on the website. Also, since Google declared that the page load speed will be an integral part of SEO, a fast loading website has become an absolute must.
Improving The Speed Of Your Website
There are many ways in which you can attempt to improve the speed of your website. Some commonly used website strategies and techniques are:
- Video and Image optimization
- Minimizing HTTP requests
- Change the hosting provider
- Enable compression
- Use caching tools
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Use lesser plugins and many more.
Today, we are going to talk about Varnish Cache – a HTTP reverse caching proxy which can help you increase the speed of your website by up to 1000%!
Varnish Reverse Caching Proxy
Being a reverse caching proxy, Varnish Cache is located between the user and the web host. ‘Reverse’ because it fetches the data from the host on behalf of the client. Here is how it works:
- Varnish receives a request from the site visitor
- It determines if the request is cacheable or not
- If not, then it directly fetches the data from the host/ proxy servers
- If it is cacheable, then it looks up in the cache
- If the cache entry is found, then the request is fulfilled
- If it is not found, then the required data is fetched from the host/ proxy servers
Being lightweight and easy to install, Varnish Cache packs a host of features and is preferred by many websites. Just to put things into perspective, Varnish Cache is used by high traffic sites like Wikipeia, Reddit, Slideshare and more. Many of the largest social media sites are using it too, including Facebook and Twitter.
I hope this article gives you a good insight about how Varnish Cache can help improve the speed of your website. Varnish Caching is something that should be included within the website hosting packages. Certain Cloud Hosting providers include Varnish Caching within their Cloud Hosting Plans which increases the overall value of the hosting plans. Be sure to audit the various features of the hosting provider before selecting.
Hope this helps you get a better understanding of Varnish Caching, its features and how it works. If you have any follow up questions or queries, please feel free to mention them in the comments section below.