A lot of the processes that Drupal performs when responding to a request are cached in order to increase performance. Creating the HTML for the page that a user sees, or the JSON response to a REST request, can require thousands of operations. Some operations are time-consuming, memory heavy, CPU intense, or all three. By performing the operation once, and then caching the result for next time, subsequent requests can be fulfilled faster. In order to make it easier to store, retrieve, and invalidate cached data Drupal provides cache-related services you can use in your code. Drupal also lets you provide information about the cacheability of data to the Render API to improve the performance of rendering a page.
- Check if the data you want to cache is already cached
- Add data to be cached
- Set a timespan for how long certain data should remain cached
Cache API is a stable core feature.
Knowing how to clear Drupal's cache is an important skill for any developer. You'll likely find yourself doing it frequently in order to get Drupal to register the changes you make to your code, or other updates you make via the UI. It is also a good first step to trouble shooting problems with your Drupal site: Clear the cache before you do any other debugging to ensure it's not just a bad cache entry.
Drupal comes with all of its caching features enabled by default. This improves response time, but can be frustrating for themers as it makes it harder to preview the changes you make to template files.
In this tutorial we'll look at:
- Why these features are enabled by default
- How the theme layer leverages Drupal's caches
- Why you should learn to disable them when doing development
By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to:
- Set up your local Drupal site for theme development
- Prepare your local development environment for working on and debugging themes
Many of the processes that Drupal performs when responding to a request are cached in order to increase performance. Creating the HTML for the page that a user sees or the JSON response to a REST request can require thousands of operations. Some operations are time consuming, memory heavy, CPU intense, or all 3. By performing the operation once, and then caching the result for next time, subsequent requests can be fulfilled faster. In order to make it easier to store, retrieve, and invalidate cached data, Drupal provides cache-related services you can use in your code. Drupal also enables you to provide information about the cacheability of data to the Render API to improve the performance of page rendering.
In this tutorial we'll:
- Cover the terms and concepts you should be familiar with when working with the Cache API
- Point to additional resources for more information about how to perform specific tasks with the Cache API
By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to define the concepts of bubbling and cache invalidation, and know how cache keys, tags, context, and max-age are used to provide cacheability metadata for items.
The Render API is capable of detecting poorly-cacheable (highly dynamic) parts of a page and rendering them later using a process called auto-placeholdering. This works by using
#lazy_builder callbacks to lazy load certain very dynamic subtrees of a render array. The place in the array where that very dynamic content would appear is first assigned a placeholder. At the very last moment it is replaced with the actual content.
This allows Drupal to do things like cache the overall page in the Dynamic Page Cache despite parts of the page being too dynamic to be worth caching. It also allows the Render API to assemble a page using cache fragments combined with non-cacheable elements.
In this tutorial we'll:
- Discuss what lazy builders are and how they work in conjunction with placeholders to speed up the rendering pipeline
- Cover some common gotchas for lazy builders
- Look at some example code that implements a lazy builder callback
By the end of this tutorial, you should know how and when to use the
#lazy_builder property of a render array and how Drupal uses placeholders to increase the cacheability of content and speed up the rendering process.
The individual items that make up the content of a page impact the cacheability of that page. In order for Drupal's cache and external caches to better understand how the content varies on a page, module developers use the
#cache render element property. The
#cache property defines cacheability metadata for individual elements in a render array.
Additionally, these Render API elements can become fairly complex. The calculation of what the final HTML output should look like often involves looking up content in the database, checking multiple conditions, maybe querying an external API, and various other tasks. This can cause turning a render array into HTML to become quite expensive. In order to speed up this process, the Render API will cache the generated HTML for each element and reuse it on future requests whenever possible -- but only if you tell it to do so.
In this tutorial, we'll look at:
- How render caching impacts the performance of a page
- Defining the cacheability of an item with cache tags, cache contexts, and cache max-age
- Examples of using the
#cacheproperty in a render array
By the end of this tutorial you should know how, and when, to use the
#cache property when defining render arrays.
The performance optimization settings and modules provided by Drupal core are intended to work for the broadest possible set of use cases. From an administrator's perspective they provide minimal configuration options, and are designed to just work by being enabled. But behind that simplicity are some powerful features that will help speed up any Drupal-powered application.
The core Dynamic Page Cache and Internal Page Cache modules are designed to provide a base cache setup for any site. These modules are responsible for the static page cache, dynamic page cache, and lazy loading optimizations.
For developers, Drupal provides a complete and well-designed Cache API. You can, and should, integrate it into your custom code. This integration includes defining the cacheability of any content your module outputs so that Drupal can be smart about how that affects how and when a page that incorporates the output can be cached -- as well as storing and retrieving the results of complex or long-running operations. The API also helps with setting appropriate HTTP headers for the responses Drupal generates for each request so that the user's browser and other layers in the stack can appropriately cache the output.
The entire system is flexible, and there are many contributed modules that can aid in making the default caching system even faster for specific use cases.
In this tutorial, we'll:
- Learn about the caching-related modules in Drupal core
- Review the Drupal core performance settings and recommended values
By the end of this tutorial you should be familiar with the Drupal core modules responsible for caching, their settings, and recommended values.
Drupal has robust Cache API, and various caching layers (both internal and external to Drupal), that work together to decrease application load and boost performance. Drupal's APIs allow developers to declare the cacheability of data. How long can this be stored before it becomes stale? And under what conditions should it be invalidated? Drupal uses that information during the process of building a page to cache as much of the work it does as is possible so that it won't need to do it again. Additionally, Drupal bubbles up the cacheability data from everything required to build a page into HTTP response headers that caching layers external to Drupal can also use to cache the rendered HTML.
When these APIs are combined (and used appropriately), Drupal can be extremely fast for both anonymous and authenticated traffic. But doing so requires understanding the various caching layers, their roles, and their interconnections.
In this tutorial, we'll:
- Review the caching layers and systems behind them
- Learn about components of the Drupal cache system
By the end of this tutorial, you should have a broad understanding of the Drupal caching system, its layers, and a better understanding of where in the stack you should look to optimize for different scenarios.
Drupal site performance relies heavily on caching. Optimal caching (and invalidation) requires that each page is rendered with the correct cacheable metadata. This metadata allows for intelligent caching -- but when something isn't working correctly, it can be tricky to figure out where exactly the metadata was generated from.
When debugging Drupal cache issues, you're usually trying to answer 1 of 2 primary questions:
- Why is this cached? If the information gets stale, why isn’t it updated?
- Why is this not cached? And why is our cache hit rate low?
The Drupal cache system consists of many layers, each of which may contribute to the problem. This tutorial focuses on debugging the Drupal application cache layer, and strategies for debugging Varnish. Given that most external to Drupal layers rely on the use of HTTP headers for caching, you should be able to use similar techniques to those used for debugging Varnish.
In this tutorial, we'll:
- Learn strategies for debugging the Drupal application cache and render cache
- Share strategies for debugging low hit rates when using Varnish
By the end of this tutorial, you should know how to enable and use various cache debugging mechanisms in Drupal to help identify problems in your site performance and resolve them.
Not sure where to start? Our guides provide useful learning tracks for all skill levels.Navigate guides
Cache API (api.drupal.org)
- This API reference page provides information about Drupal's Cache API and how to use it.
Cache API documentation (drupal.org)
- This page is a guide to documentation about the Cache API and how to use it.
DrupalCon Barcelona 2015: Making Drupal Fly - The fastest Drupal ever is here! (youtube.com)
- Dive into the depths of render caching and how it enables Drupal to be faster than ever.
DrupalCon Dublin 2016: Practical Caching in Drupal 8 (youtube.com)
- This session covers the practical part of caching in Drupal, including anonymous page caching, reverse proxy caching, and authenticated page caching using the Dynamic Page Cache.