I happened to hit the page twice within a couple of minutes and noticed by the timestamp, that it took about 30 minutes for a question to load (it was there the second time).

I knew they don't appear right away, but this got me wondering exactly how long does it take for a question to make it to the front page?

  • Actually I never noticed that. After I post a new question I think it always load immediately. Jan 25 '13 at 11:23

There is a certain amount of caching going on, but questions would normally appear straight away -- caching in your web browser, or en-route, may hide this.

There is an in depth discussion on how caching is used over on StackOverflow's Meta]

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