Caching, GET parameters and the FM Affiliate system

Caching is one of the most effective ways to speed up web server performance and by delivering the pages of site in a speedy manner increasing your user satisfaction. In short, it works by keeping a saved copy of any rendered pages in a quickly accessible  storage and delivers the page without firing up the wordpress core and all the plugins. That saves the time to re-render pages and  content is delivered quickly.

Unfortunately this increase in speed comes with some disadvantages, too. For one it can happen that when you have changes in your content, visitors are still seeing older cached content. Next there might be problems with dynamically created content. And last but not least the FastMember Affiliate system relies on some data being passed to wordpress so it can save affiliate information in a cookie and the wordpress database. This is is done by adding so called GET parameters to the address. GET parameters are the command pairs that you sometimes see trailing a URL after the question mark (like domain.com/?parameter=test).

Now fortunately most wordpress caching plugins have some mechanism to cope with that. Basically they have a setting that tells the plugin not to use caching when a request with GET parameters is detected.

In WP Super Cache the setting can be found in the “Advanced” section of the plugin settings and is called “Don’t cache pages with GET parameters. (?x=y at the end of a url)”

In ZenCache the option is called “GET Request Cache Exclusion”.

If you are unsure whether your caching solution works with FastMember or can contribute options/settings in other plugins, please contact FM support and tell us about it, then we can add to this article.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Caching, GET parameters and the FM Affiliate system”

    1. Hi Paul

      W3TC states in their FAQ that you don’t need any settings for dynamic content (which is how the affiliate system works).
      Unless you are experiencing problems with counting your affiliate referrals, there is nothing you have to do. 🙂

      Mike

    2. Christina Ireland

      Forgive my techno ignorance .. but how do i disable my cache plugin and what would I need it for, as far as other things may go?
      Thanks .. Christina
      Fast Member has detected you are using a cache plugin. This may conflict with affiliate tracking. Please disable it/make sure dynamic calls are not cached or use at your own risk. You can find more information in this blog post

      1. Hi Christina

        The regular way WordPress works is to render all pages and posts whenever they are viewed – that means the system has a look into your database of the content and in your media folder and then puts everything together so your visitors see what your website looks like and what content you created for them. When your site starts to gain momentum and your content attracts a lot of traffic, this means a lot of the same Database lookups are done all the time. Now when you use a caching plugin, all this pre rendered content is kept, either on disk or in memory of your server and thus can be delivered a lot faster.
        So when you are on weak shared hosting or your site has a lot of traffic, using a caching plugin really speeds up the website and gives your visitors a much better site performance.

        The only problem with caching is, if you are using the built in affiliate system that we need WordPress to recognise that there was an affiliate referral and write that to the database so the affiliate is credited. The circumvention of the database that speeds up the site is in this case a problem – but only with caching systems that don’t handle dynamic content and only if you are using the FastMember affiliate system. Let’s say you are using clickbank as you payment service and also handle the affiliate stuff there… then you have no problem.
        Or you are using W3 Total Cache as your caching plugin (you can look that up in your wordpress backend under “Plugins”) – also no problem.

        If you are using the affiliate system FM provides and are in doubt about your caching plugin, please open a support ticket on http://support.fastmember.com and I will have a look.

        Mike

  1. Hi Paul

    We put the warning there whenever we detect caching – unfortunately there are so many caching plugins available so we can’t give individualized recommendations…

    Mike

  2. I ‘m confused…. I ‘m getting that same message…. I seem able to view the classes with no problems…

    Do I need to change this cachey thingy?

    1. Hi Betty

      This only applies to you if you are using the built-in affiliate system. In that case you should check with your tech person whether your configuration counts affiliate hits.

      Mike

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