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One thing came to my mind. Nowadays the internet connection speed is often comparable to hard drive speeds. It means I can fully imagine there might be cases when it would be better (for a selfish web client) to retrieve a resource from network than to read it from disk. Especially when the size of the resource is relatively small the time cost of disk operations may exceed the download time.

Do web browsers have such a functionality?

The reason for my question is pure curiosity, not a real problem. BTW, I am not convinced such idea is worth implementing as the more bandwidth is taken for some very small local benefits.

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I only use ram cache in browsers. Even with a moderate speed ADSL, it's much faster than a HDD. SSD? Maybe that's better if you have an SLC drive.. or ramdisk. Otherwise? No way. – Shiki Apr 28 '11 at 19:57
I suspect confusion between normal Mb (megaBITs/sec) speeds for drives and MB (MegaBYTES/sec) for HDD speeds. Either that or a decade old drive and the fastest possible network. – Hennes Dec 17 '15 at 14:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Keep in mind, besides sheer bandwidth, there is significant latency when traversing a network and HTTP is chatty. Additionally, every call to the server causes server load so what's best for one client may negatively affect others as well.

To directly answer your question, I doubt the browsers test network speed before choosing whether to download or use cache.

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