In the early days of the web, site traffic was pretty straightforward. If a person accessed a page and/or images, the web server would display the static content and use bandwidth proportionate to the size of the files. As the web evolved, however, dynamic content became more prominent and today, dominates the web. Accessing a site often involves server-side scripting, which requires the web server to do much more than simply loading a page. All of this uses more CPU power and more RAM.
Under average use, a web server may never experience problems, even with rich dynamic content, such as a site with social media elements; however, a site with a high amount of traffic may experience lag. One possible remedy for slow dynamic sites is web server caching. There are benefits and disadvantages to this process.
- Faster load times
- Less bandwidth usage
- Less stress on the server
- May require high technical expertise to configure it just right
- Will not work for content that is constantly being updated
For many system administrators, especially those with the skills to implement a caching system, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Caching can make your websites run more smoothly for visitors and lessen the burden on your dedicated server.