Easy PHP Caching: Speed-Up Dynamic Content

Caching dynamic content can save a lot of proceesing power, potentially saving a server from total meltdown under extremely high traffic loads. The popular WP Super Cache plugin has demonstrated this, helping blogs on small shared hosts survive the “Digg Effect” longer.

If a script’s output doesn’t change every time a page is loaded, does it need to be processed each time? Probably not. You can cache a page, or a section of a page, for an appropriate amount of time, and serve it up instead.

It’s a lot simpler to implement caching than you would think. It’s just a matter of using output buffering, a little bit of basic file I/O, and watching the server’s timestamp.

PaperMashup.com has a short article on how to apply a basic cache to your scripts.

It’s not a good idea to go away and cache your entire site, you need to think about which pages receive high traffic, and which pages make a number of database requests. Static HTML pages aren’t going to see a benefit from caching and may in fact be served slower due to PHP invoking the request to the cached version.