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What is Predictive Prefetching?

Predictive Prefetching for Faster Web Experience

Learn how predictive prefetching enhances website speed and user experience by intelligently preloading anticipated content.

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Welcome to our Learning Center. This page will help explain how predictive prefetching streamlines content delivery, providing you with the knowledge to leverage this technology for faster, more responsive websites.

The Challenge of Caching Dynamic Content

Content Delivery Networks excel at storing and serving static content—files like images, CSS, and HTML documents that don’t change often. However, they historically struggled with dynamic content—web pages and API calls that change frequently and are tailored to individual users.

Dynamic content presents several technical challenges for caching:

  1. Variability: Since dynamic content can change based on user behavior, location, time of day, or device type, caching it effectively means accounting for these variations and ensuring the correct version is delivered to the right user.
  2. Personalization: Dynamic pages often contain personalized information. Caching such content requires sophisticated logic to ensure that personalized and sensitive information is not served to the wrong user.
  3. Real-time Updates: News sites, stock tickers, and social media feeds need to reflect real-time information, making traditional caching methods unsuitable.

What is Predictive Prefectching?

Despite the advances in technology caching dynamic content is not without its complexities. It requires a delicate balance between the freshness of content and the latency improvements that caching can provide. Techniques such as Edge Side Includes (ESI) and serverless functions at the edge help optimize this process by allowing portions of web pages to be cached while still serving dynamic, user-specific content.

One innovative approach to improving load times is predictive prefetching. This technique involves the preloading of content based on the likelihood that it will be requested by the user. Predictive prefetching works by intelligently guessing which resources a user will need next and loading them in the background, creating a seamless and instantaneous browsing experience.

Predictive prefetching leverages a variety of data signals, such as user behavior patterns, site navigation flows, and common user paths, to anticipate and act upon future requests. This process not only accelerates content delivery but also minimizes server load and optimizes network bandwidth usage.

Edgio’s Unique Predictive Prefetching to the Browser

Edgio’s approach demonstrates the innovative strides being taken to cache dynamic content more effectively, which historically was a task CDNs found challenging. By prefetching content that users are likely to request and intelligently determining when to serve cached content versus when to fetch fresh content from the origin, CDNs can now deliver personalized and dynamic content with the speed traditionally associated only with static resources.

Edgio’s best-in-class predictive prefetching enhances the traditional browser experience by employing advanced algorithms and a network of edge servers to anticipate and serve user requests rapidly.

Here’s how Edgio’s predictive prefetching provides an edge over standard browser prefetching:

  1. Intelligent Prefetching: Edgio’s predictive prefetching doesn’t just prefetch all possible links on a page; it uses machine learning to prioritize the prefetching of content that users are most likely to request next, which is a more efficient use of browser resources and bandwidth.
  2. Reduced Server Load: By focusing on content already cached at the Point of Presence (POP) closest to the user, Edgio minimizes the extra load that might be placed on the origin server due to predictive fetching. This ensures that the infrastructure is not burdened by the prefetching process.
  3. Security and Compliance: Edgio requires HTTPS for prefetching, which aligns with the best practices for web security and privacy. This means prefetching is done without compromising security standards.
  4. Localized Content Delivery: Edgio’s network of edge servers enables content to be prefetched from a location closer to the user, which can significantly reduce latency compared to a browser fetching content directly from the origin server.
  5. Performance Optimization: Edgio’s predictive prefetching is designed to prioritize critical requests and doesn’t interfere with the user’s current activities. Prefetched requests are assigned the lowest priority, ensuring that they do not block or delay more immediate browser requests.
  6. Seamless Integration: For websites using Edgio, integrating predictive prefetching is streamlined. Developers can leverage Edgio’s service workers and scripts to enable prefetching with minimal changes to their existing setup.

Edgio’s predictive prefetching offers a more advanced, secure, and efficient solution compared to standard browser prefetching, improving both the performance and the user experience without additional strain on the origin servers.

See how Edgio’s award winning Applications platform and CDN is a leader in dynamic caching across the industry.

Have Questions?

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