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Putting it All Together - PHP

Dynamic Web pages take longer to load than static ones, which forces visitors to your site to wait -- and we all know they won't wait for very long. Output caching is a powerful technique you can use to shorten that wait and keep them from leaving.

  1. Output Caching with PHP
  2. Capturing Server Side Output
  3. Output Buffering for Server Side Caching
  4. Multiple caching: splitting the Web page content
  5. Putting it All Together
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 64
January 11, 2005

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Here is the complete script:


//  define createCache
function createCache ( $content ,  $cacheFile ) {
  $fp = fopen( $cachefile , ‘w’ );
  fwrite( $fp , $content );
  fclose( $fp);

// define getCache
function getCache ( $cacheFile ,  $expireTime ) {
  if ( file_exists ( $cacheFile ) && filemtime ( $cacheFile ) >( time() - $expireTime ) ) {
    return file_get_contents( $cacheFile );
  return false;

//   start output buffering

//  check if a valid header cache exists
if ( !$header = getCache( ‘headerCache.txt’ , 86400 ) {

//  display header section


<title>Cached Page</title>
The header section is updated on a daily basis.

$header = ob_get_contents();
createCache( $header , ‘headerCache.txt’ );


// check if a valid body cache exists
if ( !$body = getCache( ‘bodyCache.txt’ , 10 ) {

//  display body section

<h1>This section is updated every 10 seconds.</h1>

$body = ob_get_contents();
createCache( $body , ‘bodyCache.txt’ );


// check if a valid footer cache exists
if ( !$footer = getCache( ‘footerCache.txt’ , 86400 ) {

//  display footer section
The footer section is updated on a daily basis.

$footer = ob_get_contents();
createCache( $footer , ‘footerCache.txt’ );


//   stops output buffering

//   display the complete page

echo $header .  $body .  $footer;



That’s the general idea behind the concept of caching server side output. Major performance improvements can be achieved if used in conjunction with proper caching policies for specific sections of the website.

Since I am a strong advocate of object oriented programming, I would recommend using some good and trusted caching classes, such as Pear::Cache_Lite, in order keep your code maintainable and have a reliable caching mechanism for websites.

From this point, there is long way to go. Caching is a very huge subject, and it can be approached from several points. But one thing is certain: caching server output with PHP output buffering functions is a good addition to your toolbox when building dynamic websites. Good luck!

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Alejandro Gervasio

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