What is prefetching?

Prefetching is a technology that reduces load times and improves user experience. Learn more about how it works, advantages, and potential disadvantages here.

Optimization of your website: Technical SEO analysis

Prefetching is a technology approach that is used to shorten the loading times of web pages and thereby improve the user experience (UX). In this process, certain resources, such as images, scripts, and stylesheets, are loaded by the browser in advance, even before the user actually needs them. This reduces the actual waiting time for content to load when the user navigates to another page or clicks on a link.

How prefetching works

In prefetching, the browser analyzes the source code of a web page and detects the links to various resources, such as external JavaScript files, CSS files, and images. These resources are then downloaded and stored in a local cache. Now, when the user performs an action that requires retrieving one of these resources, it can be quickly loaded from the cache instead of making an additional request to the web server.

Advantages of prefetching

  • Improved loading times: By preloading important resources, the loading time of web pages is reduced.
  • Better user experience: Fast loading times lead to an improved user experience and higher website visitor satisfaction.
  • SEO Advantages: Since search engines consider load times as a ranking factor, the use of prefetching can help improve a website's position in search results.

Potential disadvantages of prefetching

Although prefetching can improve the user experience, there are also some potential drawbacks that should be considered:

  • More bandwidth: Preloading resources can increase bandwidth consumption, which can be a problem especially for users with limited data volume.
  • Unused resources: There is a possibility that some of the preloaded resources may not be needed at all if the user ultimately performs another action or cancels the visit to the website.
  • Caching issues: When resources are cached, you may experience problems updating those resources. In some cases, this can result in outdated or incorrect content being displayed.

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