How to Make WordPress Clear Its Cache

The amount of data that moves around your site is staggering. ‘Caching’ is a way to save pages on a temporary basis to load a page faster in future. Even so, sometimes this data gets ‘stuck’ in an older state. As a result, you won’t see an up to date version.

This can have consequences if you’re editing a page thinking it’s in its current state. As an end user, if you’re seeing an older cached version of a site, you might miss out on new content.

As such, this post will show you how to make WordPress clear the cache. We’ll offer three different places you can find a cache, and also touch on clearing your browser cache.

What Your WordPress Cache Is (And Why It’s Vital For Browsing the Web)

There’s a lot of data that shuttles between WordPress, your database, and your server. What’s more, having a speedy site is paramount to sitting on top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Given this, there needs to be a method of ‘saving’ this data without loading it every time.

Enter caching. In a nutshell, this takes the pages and saves them on your computer. When you next load the site, pages from the cache get served, keeping page load speeds high.

Caching can be straightforward by saving whole pages as ‘static HTML’ files. It can also cache specific elements of a page, and you’ll find all manner of complex caching across the web.

While caching is usually necessary, it does sometimes falter. This can happen if your computer serves an older cached page than the live site. At times like these, you’ll need to clear your cache – although there are two aspects to consider.

How to Clear Your Browser’s Cache

When you read about clearing a cache, it’s often your browser that’s referred to. This makes sense, given the previous section.

firefox cookie preferences

Many browsers have the ability to clear the cache. Of course, each browser is different, but the general steps are:

  • Find your browser’s preferences panel.
  • Locate your privacy or security settings.
  • See whether there is an option to clear your cache, cookies, and site data.

In most cases, there is a way to do this. If you’re experiencing issues with your site, it’s a good idea to clear your browser cache first. Once you determine it’s not related to your local computer, you can look at your ‘server-side’ cache.

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How to Make WordPress Clear Its Cache (In 3 Locations)

As we noted, there are a few places you can clear your cache. The following tutorial will only help keep your site’s cached pages current on your end.

As such, your visitors will still need to clear the browser’s cache to see the latest version of your site.

1. Clear Your Cache Within Your Host

For the unaware, there are two sides to caching – client- and server-side. Clearing your browser cache is the client-side, and everything else is server-side.

Even so, there are a few different ways to clear a server-side cache. Given that you store your site’s files there, your host will have its own cache.

kinsta cache

While every host is different – some may not even have a cache to clear – the process will follow a few similar steps:

  • Log into your hosting control panel.
  • Find the option to clear the cache.
  • Click one or more buttons to flush the cache out.

We’d recommend consulting your host’s documentation to clear the cache if you’re unsure. The steps could vary, although lots of hosts will make the process a breeze.

Most hosts will offer a plugin to help do this from within WordPress. Regardless, third-party caching can be as good.

2. Clear the Cache From Your Chosen WordPress Plugin

Most WordPress caching plugins have a way to clear the cache. In fact, we’d argue that if yours doesn’t you should swap it for a better solution.

The good news is that it’s simple and similar in most plugins to get the job done. In this example, we’re using the popular WP Super Cache. Regardless, you’ll find you can transpose these steps to other plugins.

First, head to your WordPress dashboard. Once you’re logged in, there are a few places to look for a ‘cache clear’ option or button. The most direct place is in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen:

wordpress toolbar

From here, click the link and wait for WordPress to reload. At this point, you may see a success message. Either way, your cache will have cleared – although make sure you load a front end page to test.

3. Clear the Cache From Your Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Finally, you’ll also find a cache inside your CDN if you use one. This will make sense if you’ve followed along so far. Because a CDN stores the state of your site for users, it may also need to clear the cache.

For this example, we’ll use CloudFlare, given how ubiquitous it is. To find your cache settings, log in and head to your site’s dashboard. From here, click the Caching panel:

cloudflare cache

This screen gives you a few ways to flush the cache out, among other options. For the purposes of this post, we can stick to the Purge Cache panel. Here, you can choose to clear the entire cache, or pick and choose certain elements:

custom purge

The process is a snap, and you can clear the cache within seconds. It’s going to be the same with other CDNs too, although as with your host, you may need to find the correct steps for your CDN.

Wrapping Up

There are plenty of moving parts when it comes to a modern website, and WordPress is no exception. Caching helps keep page load speeds from spiralling out of control. Sometimes though, your cache will serve an older page than what’s current.

This post has looked at how to make WordPress clear its cache. There are three places you can do this:

  1. Within your hosting control panel.
  2. Through your chosen WordPress caching plugin.
  3. From your CDNs dashboard panel.

Has your WordPress site’s cache required a clean, and if so, how did it affect you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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