Caching

Configure which file types our servers cache for your site.

Why do I need this?

Caching is fundamental to how a CDN operates. Our servers sit between your origin and your end users. When you have hundreds or thousands of users, your origin can slow down or bottleneck, affecting your site's performance and your users' experience.

Caching some of your content on our network ensures your users receive content quickly and improves your site's performance.

How does it work?

Let's start by discussing how it works without caching.

If an end user clicks a link on your site, that click results in a request made by their browser to your origin. If your end user is 1000 miles from your origin server, that request must travel those 1000 miles. If you have another user click the same link and that user is 500 miles away, then they make a request that travels 500 miles. Each request that goes directly to your origin takes up a small amount of your origin's computing resources to respond to. Adding the physical distance the requests and responses need to travel add to your end user's wait time for that content.

Now, let's talk about using a CDN and also caching content.

When you use the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč network, the edge servers replace your origin to serve content to your users. Our servers are positioned strategically across the globe to shorten the distance between your content and your users. Now, instead of traveling 500 or more miles, your users' requests may go to one of our edge servers in their town, or to another town nearby. With over 200,000 servers worldwide, we're able to handle millions of requests on your behalf without compromising your end user's experience or bottle-necking your origin.

With caching, we store copies of your content and give them to end users. This means that our servers don't need to forward an end user's request to your origin every time the edge server receives that kind of request. You can set a time to live (TTL) for your content and ensure that our servers remain up to date with what you want to give to your customers. This is especially helpful for e-commerce sites who may, for example, run a sale for a few days and expect a lot of traffic to their site during that time. Once the TTL expires, our servers will ask your origin for an updated version of that content.

Additional ways to configure caching

This setup setup process lets you choose the content you want to cache on the Edge Platform, by selecting file extensions, and the length of time, or time to live (TTL), that the files will be cached for. By default we will also honor any RFC standard Cache-Control and Expires headers sent by your origin and let these override the TTL you specify during the setup. After the setup process is complete you can use Property Manager, accessible in the Control Center, to choose more advanced cache settings.

Property Manager lets you specify many additional cache settings, including some standard Cache-Control directives, such as no-cache, and whether or not you want to honor the must-revalidate and private directives from the origin.

The Edge-Control header is an ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč-specific HTTP response header that provides controls and parameters on content served through the edge network. On the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč network, Edge-Control settings override Cache-Control and Expires headers.

For more information, see Caching in the Property Manager Help.

Special requirements

If your site handles financial or medical information, refer to your company's guidance on what types of content to cache. It may violate local or national law to cache certain kinds of content, and bring you out of PCI or HIPAA compliance.