What is Cache Busting?

What is Cache Busting?

Cache busting is a technique so that browsers can have long caches on files while having them reload files when they change. When you want browsers to cache files so that users don’t have to reload them every time they visit your website, you use HTTP caching.

Cache busting is a technique so that browsers can have long caches on files while having them reload files when they change. Before you can understand that, you have to understand how caching works with websites.

Caching Your Website

When you want browsers to cache files so that users don’t have to reload them every time they visit your website, you use HTTP caching. HTTP caching allows you to specify how long a cache should be held for a file name, so that loading the page is pretty fast. Now let’s look into the problem.

The Problem with Caching

Imagine you have a website with 3 files, index.html , index.js , and index.css and you set the cache lifetime to 1 year so that the website loads pretty fast. Now you change the index.css to have a different color scheme across your app. Your old users wouldn’t notice because they would have to wait a year for the cache to refresh.

That becomes a problem, especially when deploying bug fixes and security patches. People typically use cache busting to solve this, where they use various ways to change the names of the files that are loading for every version so that browsers will load them and add them to their cache.

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