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Having a few computers on a network connecting to the Internet, is there a way of all incoming files and media being stored in a global shared network cache so it's only required once. Particularly with video sharing websites, instead of downloading the same video 10+ times each, can it download to the cache and access from there in future?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Squid is the tool of choice, you can even run it transparently so users don't need to change settings.

However many of the "Web 2.0" sites (particlarly those run by Google) deliberatly try to break caches, so you may want to look at some of the references to set squid up to modify requests to force them to be cached.

We run some caches that do a few hundred megabit and see ~30% bandwidth improvement with them, enough to pay for a full hardware replacement every year (not that we do).

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Yes, it is called a caching proxy server.

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Try installing a Linux server and using Squid on it.

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Given that you say "a few computers" I'm going to assume that a full-blown dedicated proxy server is out of the question here. You can probably get adequate results for a smaller environment by buying a proxy appliance. I don't have recent experience in these so can't make recommendations, but if you hunt around the networking vendors you should find something that suits (and doesn't break the bank).

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