Being a web designer, I know that problems with browser cache preventing clients from seeing my updates is a continual issue. For people that don’t know what is going on, it can seem baffling that I tell them their new updates are finished, yet when they visit the site, nothing has changed. Below I will try to quickly explain why this happens, and what to do about it. If you don’t feel like reading, just skip to the bottom!
What is the “Cache”?
The cache, or more specifically in this case the browser cache, is a function of all modern web browsers. A Web Browser is the program you open on your computer to get to the internet ( Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome.. ). In a nutshell the browser cache stores parts of websites such as code and images in a folder on your computer, so that when you visit the website the next time, the browser loads the things needed to display the website from your computer instead of downloading them again. This can and does speed up your overall internet experience. The problem is, when new content is added to a website, the browser often doesn’t know the content is new, and keeps displaying the cached content, and that’s why it seems that nothing is “updating”.
Ok, so what to do?
There are two ways to prevent your browser from loading the cached content and thus forcing it to download the fresh content. One is by going in to your browser settings and deleting your entire cache. Now this will work, but, I’m not going to focus on it because often it’s easy to also delete all your internet history and cookies etc as well, which means you have to re-log on to your favorite website etc., as well as re-download all the cached content you DO want to keep cached. A quicker, simpler and more to the point method is to do a “Force Refresh” aka “Force Reload” on the website you need to view the updated content on. This tells the web browser to ignore the cached content and go ahead and just re-download all the website data again, thus, showing you the new content and updating your cached content as well.
How to “Force Refresh” or “Force Reload” a website, in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.
1. Go to the website you want to see the new updated content on. You must be on the website in question, as this method only refreshes the cache for the webpage you are currently on.
2. According to what operating system you are using, press one of the following key combinations.
Mac/Apple: Apple + R or command + R
That’s it! Remember the keys to push for future reference. When in doubt if a website has been updated or not, push the keys and do the Force Refresh in order to be sure.