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Surrogate Key Based Cache Purging

Before You Begin

You should be familiar with the concept of surrogate key based caching and purging.

See for more information on working with surrogate keys.

This guide uses WordPress with the WPGraphQL plugin, WPGraphQL Smart Cache plugin and the Pantheon Advanced Page Cache plugin installed.

How It Works


The following diagram shows the request/response for a Pantheon Front-End Site which is fetching data from WordPress also hosted on Pantheon

The GraphQLClientFactory class from our @pantheon-systems/wordpress-kit npm package adds the Pantheon-SKey header to each request and uses the GET method by default to take advantage of WPGraphQL Smart Cache network caching. Responses from WordPress will contain the Surrogate-Key header. With these keys, your frontend can be instructed to purge content from a cache when the content in WordPress changes.

How To Ensure Headers Are Set On Custom Routes


The Decoupled Kit WordPress Backend Starter Project and WordPress Next.js Starter Kit handle the configuration below automatically.

  • The WordPress backend has the WPGraphQL plugin installed and configured
  • The WordPress backend has the WPGraphQL Smart Cache plugin installed and configured, with the Object Cache option disabled
  • The WordPress backend has the Pantheon Advanced Page Cache plugin installed and configured
  • The route fetches data using the @pantheon-systems/wordpress-kit Graphql client or requests to WordPress are made using the GET method and include the Pantheon-SKey: 1 header
    • in order to see the headers, you must use the client.rawRequest() method.
  • The headers must be added to the outgoing response from Next.js in getServerSideProps (see context.res).

For example, the following code could be used to set the headers necessary for cache purging on a post list page:

  1. In your post list page, import required utilities and create an instance of the GraphQL Client:
import {
} from '@pantheon-systems/wordpress-kit';

const client = new GraphQLClientFactory(
method: 'GET',
  1. In getSeverSideProps use the client instance to fetch data from WordPress. Then use utilities provided by wordpress-kit to set caching related headers on the outgoing response:
export async function getServerSideProps({ res }) {
// Customize your query as needed
const query = gql`
query LatestPostsQuery($totalPosts: Int!) {
posts(first: $totalPosts) {
edges {
node {
featuredImage {
node {

// Retrieve post data and surrogate key values from WordPress
const {
data: {
posts: { edges },
} = await client.rawRequest(query, { totalPosts: 100 });
const posts ={ node }) => node);

// Add unique surrogate keys to outgoing response
// and set cache control header to ensure response is cached at edge
setOutgoingHeaders({ headers, res });

return { props: { posts } };

Assuming that your backend is correctly configured, you should now see the Surrogate-Key header on the outgoing response for /posts/, which will allow the cache for this page to be purged automatically when any related content changes in WordPress.