The speed of your website is very important; slow page loads can be the difference between making a sale or having a visitor leave in frustration. Throwing money at the problem and upgrading your server can help, but that can be like buying a new car when the one you have just needs a tune-up, and that tune-up is free! Memcached is that free tune-up.
Memcached is a program that caches frequently viewed web content on a server — it essentially turns database calls (such as WordPress pages) into static pages. This lowers the resource usage of your server, improving its performance and page load speed. While technically named Mem-Cache-D, it is more commonly referred to as Memcached.
Memcached is a type of program called a “daemon”. A daemon is a program that runs in the background. Unlike when you you open a browser or word processor, you never actually see a daemon do anything. If you’re interested, we discuss how to install the Memcached daemon in this ServInt University article.
Having Memcached on your server can provide immediate, obvious performance dividends. In order for the Memcached daemon to be useful though, the program needs to have a module which allows you to interface with it. There are two main modules — careful, this is where things get tricky — Memcache and Memcached (yes, you heard that right!). Much of the information you’ll find on them is outdated. For a while, the Memcache module was the preferred choice. However, this implementation is no longer being supported or updated, which means it is no longer ideal.
The module most people choose for the Memcached daemon is… Memcached. Yes, this can be confusing, but just remember, you need the Memcached module to run the Memcached daemon. It is a more modern module than Memcache, and it is faster than the Memcache module.
For those who are curious, this ServInt University article explaining how to install the Memcache module can be used for installing the Memcached module as well.
Hopefully this article sheds a little light on how to speed up your server for free with Memcached. ServInt’s Managed Services Team deals with issues like this every day. We’re here to remove the confusion and frustration from your hosting.
Photo by Bruce Denis