WordPress caching is a fantastic tool to speed up your WordPress website, but while working with your WordPress website, it can be frustrating as you can’t see your changes.
To clear your WordPress cache, clear your website caching by pressing CTRL + R(Mac: CMD + Shift + R). If that doesn’t work, then find your WordPress cache plugin, and click clear cache. If that doesn’t work, then clear your hosting cache, and lastly, clear your CDN cache.
Now this is very brief, but it’s the method I use, but further down the article, I’ll dive into each of the methods, and all you have to do is follow them step by step.
What Is WordPress Cache?
Before we get to how you clear your cache, then to understand why you can’t see your changes, you need to understand what WordPress cache is.
There is nothing unique about WordPress cache compared to general caching, and it works the same way. WordPress caching is just optimised for WordPress.
Caching, in its essence, is a static version of your WordPress website saved in the cache. So when you or a visitor visits your website, instead of running heavy PHP processes to load your website.
WordPress can simply load the static version saved of your website much faster.
This increases your load speed, which improves the user experience and, in the end, is a very positive thing for your SEO.
WP Rocket is by far the best caching plugin, but the 2 others are free and work well.
On top of a plugin, then your hosting often provides caching, both site cache and object cache, which are more for server processes.
The last types of caching you can get are from your DNS host if you’re using Cloudflare and a CDN, which your hosting often provides as well.
Why Clear My WordPress Cache?
Now, when you have caching enabled and start working with your website when you check your website in incognito or a private browser, you’ll notice your changes aren’t live.
This is because your WordPress website is still serving the static website of before your changes were made.
When you click clear cache, your plugin or hosting, depending on what you’re using, will delete the old static version of your website and create a new static version of your website.
This is why you want to clear your caching, so all your website visitors will see your new changes on your WordPress website.
4 Methods To Clear Your WordPress Cache
Now that we know what caching is and why we want to clear it let’s go through the 4 methods you can use to clear your cache. Sometimes, you’ll need all 4.
Bear in mind your cache is regularly cleared every 6-8-12 hours, depending on your settings. But when we’ve made changes, we want it live immediately. At least, that’s how I feel.
1. Clear Your Web Browser Cache
The first step is always to clear your own web browser cache. One thing is your WordPress cache, but your browser also caches websites to give you a better experience by loading the websites faster.
There are multiple ways of doing it. If you’re on Windows, simply pressing CTRL + R should do it.
If you’re on Mac and in Chrome, press CMD + Shift + R. Lastly, in Safari, press CMD + Option + E, then CMD + R.
If this doesn’t show your new changes, you’re ready to move on to the next step, clearing your WordPress cache in the plugin you’re using.
2. Clear Your WordPress Plugin Cache
I’m using WP Rocket for my WordPress websites so the next step will be based on WP Rocket, but whatever caching plugin you’re using, the steps are the same.
Go to your WordPress admin area to clear the cache in WP Rocket or any other WordPress cache plugin. And in the top bar, hover over WP Rocket or your WordPress cache plugin, and next click on clear and preload cache.
If you have enabled the feature “remove unused CSS”, you’ll have to click on “Clear Used CSS” as well to empty your CSS cache. And that’s it, and now you have cleared the cache in your WordPress plugin.
Now you can open up an incognito window and visit your website to see if your changes are now visible. If not, then there are still 2 more steps to go.
3. Clear Your WordPress Hosting Cache
This does not apply to all hosts, but if you have managed WordPress hosting for your WordPress website, then you’re most likely to have a caching function from your host.
I’m using Kinsta for some of my WordPress websites with heavy caching. To empty your hosting cache, you can either to it in your WordPress admin area if your hosting provides that.
It’s often at the top to the right, where you can empty all caching.
Otherwise, you can sign into your hosting provider and empty the caching in there.
4. Clear Your CDN Cache
Just as Kinsta provides caching for my WordPress websites, they also provide a CDN. A CDN is basically multiple servers placed around the world, so whenever someone visits my website, the files will be provided from the physically closest CDN server.
The CDN is also caching to improve performance further for the CDN to load the website faster. Here I’m forced to sign into Kinsta’s user area, click on CDN in the menu and empty the cache.
The CDN often delivers CSS and JS files, in some cases images as well. So if you’ve changed anything related to this, you’ll have to empty the caching for your CDN.
The most important thing to remember is that you have multiple layers of caching. You have the front-end caching, which is your website, and then you have server caching, CDN caching and DNS caching.
So there is a lot of clearing caching to do sometimes when you want changes live immediately.
If none of the 4 methods are working, then try and check your DNS. You might have caching here as well. I’m using Cloudflare, which also caches my websites, and sometimes, very rare, but sometimes I have to clear the cache at them as well.
Where is the cache stored in WordPress?
Your WordPress cache files are stored on your server in the folder /wp-content/cache/. I will not recommend you delete the files in this folder, as your website will break. It’s better to go to your WordPress admin area and clear the cache.
Where are the cache settings in WordPress?
Sign in to your WordPress admin area and go to your cache plugin. You will often see it in the menu or as a submenu to settings. If you don’t see any cache plugins, you don’t have any. WordPress doesn’t have a cache by itself.
How often should I clear my WordPress cache?
You should only clear your cache when you have made changes to your WordPress website and want them live on your website. Your hosting will empty your cache regularly every 6-12 hours, depending on your settings.