Demystifying the Imperfect Client-Side Cache Performance of Mobile Web Browsing

Xuanzhe Liu, Yun Ma, Yunxin Liu, Tao Xie, Gang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The web browser is one of the most significant applications on mobile devices such as smartphones. However, the user experience of mobile web browsing is undesirable because of the slow resource loading. To improve the performance of web resource loading, client-side cache has been adopted as a key mechanism. However, the existing passive measurement studies cannot comprehensively characterize the "client-side" cache performance of mobile web browsing. For example, most of these studies mainly focus on client-side implementations but not server-side configurations, suffer from biased user behaviors, and fail to study "miscached" resources. To address these issues, in this article, we present a proactive approach to making a comprehensive measurement study on client-side cache performance. The key idea of our approach is to proactively crawl resources from hundreds of websites periodically with a fine-grained time interval. Thus, we are able to uncover the resource update history and cache configurations at the server side, and analyze the cache performance in various time granularities. Based on our collected data, we build a new cache analysis model and study the upper bound of how high percentage of resources could potentially be cached and how effectively the caching works in practice. We report detailed analysis results of different websites and various types of web resources, and identify the problems caused by unsatisfactory cache performance. In particular, we identify two major problems - Redundant Transfer and Miscached Resource, which lead to unsatisfactory cache performance. We investigate three main root causes: Same Content, Heuristic Expiration, and Conservative Expiration Time, and discuss what mobile web developers can do to mitigate those problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7295636
Pages (from-to)2206-2220
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Mobile web
  • cache
  • measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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