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Race ahead with Cloudflare Pages build caching


3 min read
Race ahead with Cloudflare Pages build caching

Today, we are thrilled to release a beta of Cloudflare Pages support for build caching! With build caching, we are offering a supercharged Pages experience by helping you cache parts of your project to save time on subsequent builds.

For developers, time is not just money – it’s innovation and progress. When every second counts in crunch time before a new launch, the “need for speed” becomes critical. With Cloudflare Pages’ built-in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), developers count on us to drive fast. We’ve already taken great strides in making sure we’re enabling quick development iterations for our users by making solid improvements on the stability and efficiency of our build infrastructure. But we always knew there was more to our build story.

Quick pit stops

Build times can feel like a developer's equivalent of a time-out, a forced pause in the creative process—the inevitable pit stop in a high-speed formula race.

Long build times not only breaks the flow of individual developers, but it can also create a ripple effect across the team. It can slow down iterations and push back deployments. In the fast-paced world of CI/CD, these delays can drastically impact productivity and the delivery of products.

We want to empower developers to win the race, miles ahead of competition.

Mechanics of build caching

At its core, build caching is a mechanism that stores artifacts of a build, allowing subsequent builds to reuse these artifacts rather than recomputing them from scratch. By leveraging the cached results, build times can be significantly reduced, leading to a more efficient build process.

Previously, when you initiated a build, the Pages CI system would generate every step of the build process, even if most parts of the codebase remain unchanged between builds. This is the equivalent to changing out every single part of the car during a pit stop, irrespective of if anything needs replacing.

Build caching refines this process. Now, the Pages build system will detect if cached artifacts can be leveraged, restore the artifacts, then focus on only computing the modified sections of the code. In essence, build caching acts like an experienced pit crew, smartly skipping unnecessary steps and focusing only on what's essential to get you back in the race faster.

What are we caching?

It boils down to two components: dependencies and build output.

The Pages build system supports dependency caching for select package managers and build output caching for select frameworks. Check out our documentation for more information on what’s currently supported and what’s coming up.

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly we are caching.

Dependencies: upon initiating a build, the Pages CI system checks for cached artifacts from previous builds. If it identifies a cache hit for dependencies, it restores from cache to speed up dependency installation.

Build output: if a cache hit for build output is identified, Pages will only build the changed assets. This approach enables the long awaited incremental builds for supported JavaScript frameworks.

Ready, set … go!

Build caching is now in beta, and ready for you to test drive!

In this release, the feature will support the node-based package managers npm, yarn, pnpm, as well as Bun. We’ve also ensured compatibility with the most popular frameworks that provide native incremental building support: Gatsby.js, Next.js and Astro – and more to come!

For you as a Pages user, interacting with build caching will be seamless. If you are working with an existing project, simply navigate to your project’s settings to toggle on Build Cache.

When you push a code change and initiate a build using Pages CI, build caching will kick-start and do its magic in the background.

“Cache” us on Discord

Have questions? Join us on our Discord Server. We will be hosting an “Ask Us Anything” session on October 2nd where you can chat live with members of our team! Your feedback on this beta is invaluable to us, so after testing out build caching, don't hesitate to share your experiences! Happy building!

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Jacob Hands|@jachands

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