A server used to speed corporate access to Web content on the Internet by caching the Web pages that users most frequently request.
Cache servers reduce network traffic and speed up access to frequently requested content by caching that content. Pages are held in the cache until they expire. If a user requests a page that has recently been cached, the page will be retrieved from the cache server instead of from the Internet. The cache server thus stores the content closer to the users who need it, reducing overall WAN link traffic and congestion. This saves valuable bandwidth on the wide area network (WAN) connection between the company’s network and its Internet service provider (ISP).
Many firewalls and proxy servers include some form of content caching. While firewalls and proxy servers are mainly concerned with securing access between a private corporate network and an untrusted public network such as the Internet, including cache server functionality in these products enhances their overall performance.
Dedicated cache servers are also starting to be used in high-traffic situations within the Internet backbone itself to reduce congestion of the backbone. Content caching servers can be located at ISPs and Network Access Points (NAPs) for improving the performance and responsiveness of the Internet.
Microsoft Proxy Server is both a firewall and a content caching server that provides private corporate networks with secure and efficient access to resources on the Internet. Proxy Server integrates firewall and proxy server capability with content caching to provide improvements of up to 50 percent in content access speeds.