The term preload relates to techniques for improving performance by loading data/contents into memory/cache before processing or displaying it to users: preloading images in browsers to avoid delay in image rendering, preloading data from databases to RAM to avoid DB queries, and so on.

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If you’re not currently using a font loading strategy, using preload with web fonts will reduce the amount of FOIT visitors will see when they visit your site—paid for by sacrificing initial render time.