Updated April 2020. Originally published September 2014. As a web-designer and an independent contractor, I…
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 seems to have 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 “Force” a website to refresh the cache and show updates on the individual page 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 specific web page you want to see the new updated content on. You must be on the web page in question, as this method only refreshes the cache for the web page you are currently on.
2. According to what operating system you are using, Microsoft Windows, Mac/Apple or Linux, press one of the following key combinations.
Mac/Apple: Apple+R or Command+R
That’s it! “Ctrl” means the key marked “Ctrl” in the lower left of your keyboard. The “F5” key can be found above the numbered keys at the top. The “+” sign above means to press both keys at once. On a Mac, the “Apple or “command” key is the key immediately left of the space bar and also has this icon on it:
Remember the keys to push for future reference. When in doubt if a website has been updated or not, push the keys, force a website to refresh the cache and show updates in order to be sure.
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