Top Five Caching Engines For Web Apps
Caching can improve a web app's performance significantly. If you don't know what caching is and why it's so important for web applications, you can read about it here.
When it comes to caching engines, we're quite demanding. After years of experience, we've narrowed our choice of preferred caching engines to five. Here's what we like about each one:
First on our list is Varnish, a caching engine for websites with high traffic. For example, Facebook uses Varnish.
The best feature of Varnish is its flexibility. Varnish uses its own language (VLC, which stands for Varnish Configuration Language) which is not very hard to learn and allows full control.
Although many don’t like it, we included Nginx because it's a very fast and secure web server.
Nginx doesn’t need to create new threads or processes for every request – Apache, for example, does. Therefore, Nginx has a very low footprint.
What’s wrong with it? Well, it’s a bit harder to learn to configure it properly, and that’s why Nginx is not very popular.
Squid is a caching HTTP web proxy that used to be very popular. “Used to be”, because Squid is great for static content but not so good for dynamic information.
An advantage of proxy is that it allows to break down web traffic and get statistics for the networks. Squid is useful when bandwidth use mainly consists of HTTP traffic.
Memcached is especially useful for improving the performance of dynamic web applications by lightening database load.
Memcached is usually implemented between PHP and database requests. It stores results in RAM for a specific time and thus decreases database traffic significantly.
Last on our list is Redis, another great caching engine for modern, dynamic web applications. It is usually compared with Memcached because of their many similarities, but there are some important differences.
The main feature that sets Redis apart is its outstanding cache management. Redis allows detailed control over objects and the way they are cached. It is suitable for almost anything: in-memory data replication, data analytics, data persistence, and more.
Which caching engine should you use?
Every caching engine has its pros and cons. Our advice is that you
understand your web application and what type of traffic you have. Based
on that information and on what you want your caching engine to do, you
can choose one of our five recommendations.