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An ultra-simplified API/JSON response caching middleware for Express/Node using plain-english durations.

A simple API/JSON response caching middleware for Express/Node using plain-english durations.

Because caching of simple data/responses should ALSO be simple.

This day and age, with less and less heavy lifting done on the server, the most common thing we find ourselves doing is letting the server power the API. Whether the data is stored in Mongo, SQL, CouchDB, or whatever - you get a request, you fetch the data, and you return the data. Sometimes these fetches are costly and you want to cache the response so the next hit doesn't hammer your server. This is why caching exists.

The problem is, with so many cache options, people are still left to fend for themselves when it comes to implementation. It often boils down to a manual process similar to the following:

  1. Get the request
  2. Check your cache for the key/url.
  3. If found, intercept and output the cached version.
  4. If not, do the work, cache it, and output.

You're still left wrapping the content of each request with this cache-checking mechanism.

Now it can be as simple as telling the request that you want to use a cache, and for how long results should be cached (in plain English, not milliseconds, because who really wants to calculate that each time?).

npm install apicache

To use, simply inject the middleware (example: apicache('5 minutes')) into your routes. Everything else is automagic.

var cache = require('apicache').middleware;
app.get('/api/collection/:id?', cache('5 minutes'), function(req, res) {
  // do some work... this will only occur once per 5 minutes 
  res.json({ foo: 'bar' });
function onlyStatus200(req, res) {
  return req.statusCode === 200; // returns false for requests of other status codes (e.g. 403, 404, 500, etc) 
app.get('/api/missing', cache('5 minutes', onlyStatus200), function(req, res) {
  res.status(404).json({ results: 'will not be cached' });
app.get('/api/found', cache('5 minutes', onlyStatus200), function(req, res) {
  res.json({ results: 'will be cached' });
  • apicache.clear([target]) - clears cache target (key or group), or entire cache if no value passed, returns new index.
  • apicache.getIndex() - returns current cache index [of keys]
  • apicache.middleware([duration], [toggleMiddleware]) - the actual middleware that will be used in your routes. duration is in the following format "[length] [unit]", as in "10 minutes" or "1 day". A second param is a middleware toggle function, accepting request and response params, and must return truthy to enable cache for the request.
  • apicache.options([options]) - getter/setter for options. If used as a setter, this function is chainable, allowing you to do things such as... say... return the middleware.
  • apicache.newInstance([options]) - used to create a new ApiCache instance (by default, simply requiring this library shares a common instance)
  • apicache.clone() - used to create a new ApiCache instance with the same options as the current one
  debug:            false|true,   // if true, enables console output 
  defaultDuration:  3600000,      // should be a number (in ms), defaults to 1 hour 
  enabled:          true|false,   // if false, turns off caching globally (useful on dev) 
  redisClient:      client,       // if provided, uses the [node-redis]( client instead of [memory-cache]( 
  appendKey:        [],           // if you want the key (which is the URL) to be appended by something in the req object, put req properties here that point to what you want appended. I.E. would be ['session', 'id'] 
  statusCodes: {
    exclude:        [],           // list status codes to specifically exclude (e.g. [404, 403] cache all responses unless they had a 404 or 403 status) 
    include:        [],           // list status codes to require (e.g. [200] caches ONLY responses with a success/200 code) 

Oftentimes it benefits us to group cache entries, for example, by collection (in an API). This would enable us to clear all cached "post" requests if we updated something in the "post" collection for instance. Adding a simple req.apicacheGroup = [somevalue]; to your route enables this. See example below:

var apicache  = require('apicache');
var cache     = apicache.middleware;
// GET collection/id 
app.get('/api/:collection/:id?', cache('1 hour'), function(req, res, next) {
  req.apicacheGroup = req.params.collection;
  // do some work 
  res.send({ foo: 'bar' });
// POST collection/id'/api/:collection/:id?', function(req, res, next) {
  // update model 
  res.send('added a new item, so the cache has been cleared');

Additionally, you could add manual cache control to the previous project with routes such as these:

// GET apicache index (for the curious) 
app.get('/api/cache/index', function(req, res, next) {
// GET apicache index (for the curious) 
app.get('/api/cache/clear/:key?', function(req, res, next) {
  res.send(200, ApiCache.clear(req.params.key || req.query.key));

As of v0.2.0, apicache now takes advantage of the brilliant debug module for console logging. To enable, simply add 'apicache' to the DEBUG environment variable

export DEBUG=apicache

Alternatively, the older method of passing enabling via the .options() function still works.

var cache = require('apicache').options({ debug: true }).middleware;

When sharing GET routes between admin and public sites, you'll likely want the routes to be cached from your public client, but NOT cached when from the admin client. This is achieved by sending a "x-apicache-bypass": true header along with the requst from the admin. The presence of this header flag will bypass the cache, ensuring you aren't looking at stale data.

  • apicache is currently an in-memory cache, built upon memory-cache. It may later be expanded to allow other cache-layers.
  • This should only be used for JSON responses (as from an API) - if for no other reason, because it will return the cached response as application/json. There's a reason it's called apicache.

Special thanks to all those that use this library and report issues, but especially to the following active users that have helped add to the core functionality!

  • @rutgernation - JSONP support
  • @enricsangra - added x-apicache-force-fetch header
  • @tskillian - custom appendKey path support
  • @agolden - Content-Encoding preservation (for gzip, etc)
  • @davidyang - express 4+ compatibility
  • @gesposito - README update
  • @nmors - redis support
  • @maytis, @ashwinnaidu - redis expiration
  • @Amhri, @Webcascade, @conmarap