Merchant Tools - Caching & Cache Management in Citrus-Lime Ecommerce
Caching keeps your site running quickly, in order to maximise conversion rates.
Firstly, let's talk a little about what caching is.
It's a term banded around the internet quite often but ultimately what it comes down to is this. Your browser (i.e. Chrome, Internet Explorer) and the server which hosts the website, save files to be served up quickly at a future date. This happens in a few different ways.
When Citrus-Lime eCommerce sends resources to the browser of your customers, it also sends pieces of data which allow the browser to save them. Such resources include images, scripts and stylesheets.
Then, when the customer visits the site again, instead of the server sending the file again, the browser asks "Has this file changed since your last visit?" and if the server responds with "No", the browser uses the saved file from the previous visit. This vastly improves the load time of the website and it's particularly useful on pages which contain a lot of data (such as Find & Filter results pages).
Citrus-Lime does not control Browser Cache. This can be cleared using the functionality offered by the browser that you use.
Then there is Server Caching
Server caching is when a file which is used (or expected to be used) regularly is "built" ahead of time and saved conveniently for a later date. This means a page which could take 10-15 seconds to load all of its resources actually takes more like 3-5 seconds, since all of the complicated calculations have been done ahead of time.
Server Cache is managed by Citrus-Lime.
Server Cache Periods
The following tells you exactly how long we save server-side cache before the server regenerates it.
Your Homepage cache is regenerated every 4 hours. If you make changes to the home page, it should not take longer than 4 hours for that change to appear.
Find & Filter Caching
Your Find and Filter pages will be cached for a period of 100,000 seconds (27.77 hours) before the server regenerates the cache.
Find & Filter pages contain a lot of data, so we need to save the cache for a longer period in order to keep the speed of the page to it's maximum.
If you make changes to a Find & Filter page, the change will appear after no longer than 27.77 hours.
Product Page Caching
Product pages are cached for a period of 48 hours before the cache is regenerated. However, if there are stock adjustments when you've sold an item or if you edit the product inside of Merchant Tools then the cache is automatically regenerated for that product page.
Managing your cache
As mentioned above, we have set the above timings above carefully to keep your Find & Filter site running at optimum speed in Googles speed rankings.
Manually forcing the cache to refresh can slow down the site. Therefore, if you have made changes to your site, we recommend that you allow those changes to update naturally, within the time periods stated above.
However, we also know that occasionally is it necessary to have changes reflected on the front end of the site immediately. Maybe you have a promotion going live, or a new range of products which have just become available.
If you have made a large update to the site and wish for it to be visible to the customer immediately you can manage your own cache by visiting the following link in your Merchant Tools interface.
NOTE Re: Secondary Sites
As of January 2019, if you have a secondary site, you can now access this part of Merchant Tools.
Just enter Merchant Tools, as you would do for your primary site; add /ssl/management to the end of the secondary sites URL and log in using your usual eCommerce credentials. You will be logged into Merchant Tools, but you will only have access to Cache Manager.
Use the following functions which are explained below.
Button #1 - 'Clear Find and Filter Cache'
You can force a full site-wide regeneration of all F&F pages immediately by clicking the first button.
It is important to remember that Find & Filter pages will take longer to load by 3-10 seconds for a few minutes once clicked.
Button #2 - 'Clear Homepage Cache'
Use this button if you wish to force the homepage cache to clear immediately, rather than waiting up to 4 hours for the cache to regenerate naturally.
Button #3 - 'Clear Product Cache'
As mentioned above, the product page will update automatically whenever there is a change in inventory or pricing. Most changes pull through immediately but if you don't see a change you've made, you can click this button to force it.
Button #4 - 'Restart Website'
'Restart Website' should be your last port of call, as this forces the cache to be dropped across the whole of the site. It should be used sparingly, as it is a more aggressive way of forcefully starting a site back up. A 'Restart Website' is generally the first step our support team takes when looking at any support issues.
- Caching speeds up your website which in turn improves conversion rates.
- We have a dedicated page to manage your server caching
- This should be used sparingly as it slows your site down for the immediate period after removing the cache.