Caching In ASP.NET MVC with code examples

In any web application, performance and responsiveness are crucial factors that contribute to a positive user experience. One effective technique to achieve this is caching, which involves storing frequently accessed data or processed results in memory for faster retrieval. In this blog post, we will explore caching in the context of .NET MVC and learn how to leverage it to optimize the performance of your applications.

Introduction to Caching in .NET MVC

What is Caching?

Caching is the process of storing data or computed results in memory to accelerate subsequent access. It helps reduce the load on resources such as databases or external APIs by serving data directly from cache instead of going through expensive operations.

Advantage of Caching

Caching provides several advantages for web applications, including:

  • Improved Performance: Caching reduces the need to perform expensive operations or retrieve data from slow sources, resulting in faster response times and improved overall performance.
  • Reduced Database Load: By caching data, the load on the database or external APIs is minimized, leading to better scalability and resource utilization.
  • Lower Latency: Cached data is readily available in memory, eliminating the need for network round trips, reducing latency, and improving the responsiveness of the application.
  • Enhanced Scalability: Caching helps handle increased traffic and concurrent requests more efficiently, allowing applications to scale effectively without overwhelming the underlying resources.
  • Better User Experience: With faster response times, users experience quicker page rendering, smoother interactions, and a more responsive application.
  • Cost Savings: Caching reduces the need for expensive resources, such as additional database servers or API subscriptions, resulting in potential cost savings for the organization.
  • Resilience to External Service Outages: If an external service is unavailable, cached data can still be served, ensuring continued functionality and reducing the impact of service disruptions.

Types of Caching in .NET MVC

Output Caching

  • Output caching involves caching the entire output of a web page or controller action.
  • It is useful for scenarios where the response is the same for all users or based on a specific set of parameters.
  • Configuring output caching can be done using the OutputCache attribute.

Data Caching

  • Data caching involves caching specific data retrieved from a database or an external API.
  • It is helpful when data is expensive to obtain or remains relatively static over a period of time.
  • .NET MVC provides various caching libraries like MemoryCache or RedisCache to implement data caching efficiently.

Output Caching in .NET MVC

Caching Entire Action Results

To cache the entire output of a controller action, you can apply the OutputCache attribute to the action method. Here's an example:

[OutputCache(Duration = 60, Location = OutputCacheLocation.Server)]
public ActionResult Index()
    // Action logic
    return View();

In this example, the action result will be cached for 60 seconds on the server.

Partial Output Caching

Partial output caching allows you to cache specific portions of a view instead of the entire output. It can be achieved using the OutputCacheChild attribute. Here's an example:

[OutputCache(Duration = 60, VaryByParam = "id", Location = OutputCacheLocation.Server)]
public ActionResult RecentPosts(int id)
    // Logic to retrieve recent posts based on the ID
    return PartialView("_RecentPosts", posts);

In this case, the _RecentPosts partial view will be cached for 60 seconds on the server, based on the id parameter.

Data Caching in .NET MVC

Caching Data from a Database

To cache data retrieved from a database, you can utilize the caching libraries provided by .NET MVC, such as MemoryCache. Here's an example of caching data from a database:

public IEnumerable<Product> GetProducts()
    var cacheKey = "products";
    var cache = MemoryCache.Default;

    var products = cache.Get(cacheKey) as IEnumerable<Product>;
    if (products == null)
        // Retrieve products from the database
        products = dbContext.Products.ToList();

        var cachePolicy = new CacheItemPolicy
            AbsoluteExpiration = DateTimeOffset.Now.AddMinutes(30)
        cache.Add(cacheKey, products, cache


    return products;

In this example, the products are retrieved from the cache if available; otherwise, they are fetched from the database and stored in the cache for 30 minutes.

Caching Data from External APIs

Similar to caching data from a database, you can cache data retrieved from external APIs as well. Here's an example using MemoryCache:

public IEnumerable<Post> GetPosts()
    var cacheKey = "posts";
    var cache = MemoryCache.Default;

    var posts = cache.Get(cacheKey) as IEnumerable<Post>;
    if (posts == null)
        // Retrieve posts from the external API
        posts = externalApi.GetPosts();

        var cachePolicy = new CacheItemPolicy
            AbsoluteExpiration = DateTimeOffset.Now.AddMinutes(60)
        cache.Add(cacheKey, posts, cachePolicy);

    return posts;

In this case, the posts are cached and served from cache for 60 minutes before making another request to the external API.

Advanced Caching Techniques in .NET MVC

Donut Caching

  • Donut caching allows caching reusable portions of views, reducing the need to re-render those portions for subsequent requests.
  • It can be achieved using the DonutOutputCache attribute, which wraps the entire view with caching capability.

Fragment Caching

  • Fragment caching enables caching specific sections of a view that are expensive to compute or rarely change.
  • It can be applied using the OutputCache attribute at the fragment level, allowing selective caching.

Custom Caching Strategies

  • .NET MVC allows the implementation of custom caching logic using Action Filters or custom caching attributes.
  • This provides the flexibility to tailor caching mechanisms based on specific application requirements.

Caching Best Practices in .NET MVC

To ensure effective utilization of caching in your .NET MVC applications, consider the following best practices:

  • Identify and cache expensive or frequently accessed data.
  • Define appropriate cache expiration and eviction policies.
  • Handle cache invalidation for updated or stale data.
  • Measure and monitor cache performance to identify potential bottlenecks.
  • Combine caching with other performance optimization techniques for optimal results.


Caching plays a vital role in improving the performance and responsiveness of .NET MVC applications. By leveraging output caching and data caching techniques, you can significantly reduce response times, minimize resource utilization, and enhance scalability. Advanced caching techniques like donut caching and fragment caching offer further optimizations. Remember to follow best practices and monitor cache performance to ensure optimal results. Implement caching in your .NET MVC applications and provide your users with a faster and more efficient experience.

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