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3.5.0 • Public • Published

Can I cache this?

CachePolicy tells when responses can be reused from a cache, taking into account HTTP RFC 7234 rules for user agents and shared caches. It's aware of many tricky details such as the Vary header, proxy revalidation, and authenticated responses.


Cacheability of an HTTP response depends on how it was requested, so both request and response are required to create the policy.

const policy = new CachePolicy(request, response, options);
if (!policy.storable()) {
    // throw the response away, it's not usable at all
// Cache the data AND the policy object in your cache
// (this is pseudocode, roll your own cache (lru-cache package works))
letsPretendThisIsSomeCache.set(request.url, {policy, response}, policy.timeToLive());
// And later, when you receive a new request:
const {policy, response} = letsPretendThisIsSomeCache.get(newRequest.url);
// It's not enough that it exists in the cache, it has to match the new request, too:
if (policy && policy.satisfiesWithoutRevalidation(newRequest)) {
    // OK, the previous response can be used to respond to the `newRequest`.
    // Response headers have to be updated, e.g. to add Age and remove uncacheable headers.
    response.headers = policy.responseHeaders();
    return response;

It may be surprising, but it's not enough for an HTTP response to be fresh to satisfy a request. It may need to match request headers specified in Vary. Even a matching fresh response may still not be usable if the new request restricted cacheability, etc.

The key method is satisfiesWithoutRevalidation(newRequest), which checks whether the newRequest is compatible with the original request and whether all caching conditions are met.

Constructor options

Request and response must have a headers property with all header names in lower case. url, status and method are optional (defaults are any URL, status 200, and GET method).

const request = {
    url: '/',
    method: 'GET',
    headers: {
        accept: '*/*',
const response = {
    status: 200,
    headers: {
        'cache-control': 'public, max-age=7234',
const options = {
    shared: true,
    cacheHeuristic: 0.1,
    ignoreCargoCult: false,

If options.shared is true (default), then response is evaluated from perspective of a shared cache (i.e. private is not cacheable and s-maxage is respected). If options.shared is false, then response is evaluated from perspective of a single-user cache (i.e. private is cacheable and s-maxage is ignored).

options.cacheHeuristic is a fraction of response's age that is used as a fallback cache duration. The default is 0.1 (10%), e.g. if a file hasn't been modified for 100 days, it'll be cached for 100*0.1 = 10 days.

If options.ignoreCargoCult is true, common anti-cache directives will be completely ignored if the non-standard pre-check and post-check directives are present. These two useless directives are most commonly found in bad StackOverflow answers and PHP's "session limiter" defaults.


Returns true if the response can be stored in a cache. If it's false then you MUST NOT store either the request or the response.


This is the most important method. Use this method to check whether the cached response is still fresh in the context of the new request.

If it returns true, then the given request matches the original response this cache policy has been created with, and the response can be reused without contacting the server. Note that the old response can't be returned without being updated, see responseHeaders().

If it returns false, then the response may not be matching at all (e.g. it's for a different URL or method), or may require to be refreshed first.


Returns updated, filtered set of response headers to return to clients receiving the cached response. This function is necessary, because proxies MUST always remove hop-by-hop headers (such as TE and Connection) and update response Age to avoid doubling cache time.


Returns updated, filtered set of request headers to send to the origin server to check if the cached response can be reused. With this set of headers, the origin server may return status 304 indicating the response is still fresh.


Returns approximate time in milliseconds until the response becomes stale (i.e. not fresh).

After that time (when timeToLive() <= 0) the response might not be usable without revalidation. However, there are exceptions, e.g. a client can explicitly allow stale responses, so always check with satisfiesWithoutRevalidation().


Chances are you'll want to store the CachePolicy object along with the cached response. obj = policy.toObject() gives a plain JSON-serializable object. policy = CachePolicy.fromObject(obj) creates an instance from it.




  • Cache-Control response header with all the quirks.
  • Expires with check for bad clocks.
  • Pragma response header.
  • Age response header.
  • Vary response header.
  • Default cacheability of statuses and methods.
  • Requests for stale data.
  • Filtering of hop-by-hop headers.
  • Basic revalidation request


  • Revalidation of multiple representations
  • Updating of response after revalidation




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