Microcaching : How to do caching in nginx web server?

Caching is a technique to speed up the response of your website’s static content, content which does not change with time. Microcaching is a type of caching which has short expiry time of cache. This article is about how to set up microcaching in nginx web server.

If you have a website and it contain webpages which do not change, then you are at the right place. Yes you can improve your website’s performance by many folds.

How caching improves performance?

Whenever some request on your website is made, it first goes to your Nginx web server (reverse proxy server). Then it is forwarded to some upstream server to run php-code. But if you have some static content, calling upstream servers is just an overhead. You would always want to keep your upstream servers as free as possible because they are already slow. What can be done is unnecessary or repeated request are served by Nginx itself(this guy is damn fast), relieving upstream servers. This is where caching shows up. Whenever there is some static content request, they are cached by Nginx. On further request of same data they are served by Nginx from its cache.

Nginx does full page caching i.e., it caches the data in its html form. The cache data might be encoded depending on the response from Upstream servers(first time response).

How is Caching done?

We will see a simple configuration for caching using Nginx. It might be made more efficient on further deep study of the same.

First we need to define a caching region, in http context of your Nginx configuration,

fastcgi_cache_path /var/nginx/cache levels=1:2 keys_zone=MYCACHE:10m;

Then, we got to use this cache region, [following should be included in proper context, possibly server context]

fastcgi_cache MYCACHE;

Define the cache key,

fastcgi_cache_key $server_name|$request_uri;

You can also create conditions to bypass and to avoid the caching using following parameters,

fastcgi_cache_bypass ByPass; [Bypass is “1” to bypass]

fastcgi_cache_nocache NoCache; [NoCache is “1” to avoid cache]

This is it, this much should do it. You are set for microcaching of static content of your website on your nginx web server.

Have a rocking Deepawali with Caching !

Do contact me in case of any query.

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