Understanding the Meaning of Cache and It’s Different Type

Cache is pronounced as ‘cash’ and is an area reserved for fast retrieval of data within the primary memory or a storage device. There are two main types of cache: disk cache and memory cache. Memory cache is a part on memory of static RAM (SRAM) and is the regarded effectual because of the fact that almost all programs access similar instructions or data time and again. By storing maximum information in SRAM, the machines (Computers) can avoid accessing DRAM which is much slower. Today, almost all the computers feature L2 cache or L3 cache while the older computers had L1 cache.

Disk caching, like the memory caching, retrieves data that are frequently accessed. However, the disk cache, rather than using the super-fast SRAM, makes use of the primary memory. The set of data which has been recently accessed from the disk is kept in a memory buffer and when a program tries to conceive a set of data from disk, it inspects the disk cache to find if the required data exists therein. Disk caching can potentially enhance the performance of applications since accessing data stored in the RAM can be much faster compared to accessing a byte of data stored in the hard drive.

System Cache

System Cache

Another type of cache is “Web Cache” which is also referred to “Internet Browser Cache”. Web Cache is also described as the mechanism of caching the web documents like HTML pages or images, to minimize the server load, the bandwidth usage and perceived lag. The web cache typically stores data (documents) passing through it. When a web page is opened, the record is sent to the temporary cache of the browser stored on the hard drive. When the user accesses the same page it will open from the cache rather than loading the page from the server. This process is lot more time-saving.

Web Cache

Web Cache

Web Caches can be used in different systems as follows-

  • A search engine may cache a website.
  • A forward cache, a cache outside the network of the web server, that is, on the client software’s ISP or company network.
  • Just like the forward cache, a network-aware forward cache does the same thing; it’s just that it only caches the items that are heavily accessed.
  • A reverse cache sits in front of one or more web servers and Web Applications, accelerating requests from the Internet.
  • A web browser can store web content for reuse. For instance, when the user presses the back button and the browser can show the local cached version of the page may be displayed instead of sending a new request to the web server.


A Final Note-
Cache as a general technique improves the performance of the computer system performance. It is used in a computer’s primary storage hierarchy, operating system, databases and networks. Caching essentially enhances the data access time and minimizes the traffic to data sources having limited throughput.