Important: How to refresh your browser's cache
Why clearing or refreshing your cache?
Your browser has a folder in which certain items that have been downloaded are stored for future use. Graphic images (such as buttons and icons), photos, and even entire web pages are examples of items saved or cached. When visiting a webpage, your browser checks if a copy of the files on the page is in its cache already. If so, it will save the visitor some downloading and make web pages load faster. Some browsers refer to its cache as Temporary Internet Files.
There are some situations when bypassing your browser's cache is preferred. Just clicking the refresh button (or hitting F5) won't be sufficient in this case, because this reloads the webpage while still using the old files from the cache. You need to refresh your cache first! Step-by-step guides to clear your browser's cache, forcing it to download all the latest data from a website!
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What is a browser cache?
In order to speed up web browsing, web browsers are designed to download web pages and store them locally on your computer's hard drive in an area called "cache". The browser cache (also known as the Internet cache) contains records of every item you have viewed or downloaded while surfing the Internet. So, when you visit the same page for a second time, the browser speeds up display time by loading the page locally from the cache instead of downloading everything again.
Although storing an Internet cache makes the web browser faster as it usually takes your computer less time to display a web page when it can open the page's elements or even the entire page from your local Temporary Internet Files folder, You sometimes want to overrule the Internet cache, for example, to see changes you made to a webpage you just uploaded.
Clearing Cache Memory
To ensure you see the latest version of a site you need to clear the cache memory. This is done by doing a force refresh by pressing both the control and F5 buttons simultaneously on your keyboard (depending on your browser). Most times a simple force cache refresh won't work and you need to clear the cache by hand. On this site you can find step-by-step guides for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and more on how to refresh your cache.
Someone just told you to “force reload” your browser to fix something. Depending on your operating system all you need to do is the following key combination:
- Windows: ctrl + F5
- Mac/Apple: Apple + R or command + R
- Linux: F5
Cache and Privacy
Internet caches can threaten your privacy as everyone who has access to your computer can see some personal information by simply opening the cache folder.
Also, when the cache fills up, performance can slow down and your hard drive may run out of space.
Internet Service Provider Cache
In the same way that your web browser has a cache of recent web pages, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may be doing some caching on your behalf.
In some (rare) cases, even though you are using shift-refresh to get new data from a webpage, the pages still seem to be old. This may be because your Internet Service Provider also has a cache and their cache may not be set up quite right, and they are not downloading the latest web pages.
When you encounter this problem you will have to communicate with your ISP to fix this problem