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Refreshing your web browser cache

In this post, I will explain how to refresh your browser cache (pronunced ‘cash’)  as well as show you how it works and why it may be necessary to do so.

Jump to browser examples.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Clear your cache.”, or “You need to refresh your browser cache.” or “Force reload your browser cache”? Removing the cached (saved static website assets) files in your browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, etc) allows you to see the most recent changes made by your web developer or designer.

Quick Refresh

You can try a quick way to refresh your local browser cache using one of the below keyboard combinations:

Mac: Command + R (hold down the command key, next to the spacebar, and press the “R” key.)

Windows: Control + F5 (hold down the control key and press F5).

Linux: F5 (just press the F5 key).

Why browser cache exists

Browser caching creates a better web experience for the web page visitor. Three important things happen very quickly when you access a website on the internet, whether accessing by typing in a URL or by clicking on a link.:

  • REQUEST – A request is initiated FROM your browser (Google chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, etc) of the web server hosting the web page you want to visit.
  • REPLY – The request is answered by the web server “replying” with the data (“content” from the website), by sending it over the internet to your browser. Your web browser then interprets the data and displays the “content”, images, text, HTML css, java scripts, etc., in the browser window for you to consume.
  • STATIC ASSETS CACHED – the “static content” or “Assets” that is needed to be loaded from the website to your computer is saved on your computer in something called “cache” or “browser cache”. The content that is saved is known as “static content”.

The process of saving static content into the web browser or “local” cache decreases load times for subsequent visits to the site. The browser doesn’t have to reload the cached assets (static content) as they are already stored locally from previous visits.

Browser Cache Diagram

When to clear your browser cache?

When you make a change to static files on your website and then go to view those changes on a different browser, you’ll see that the old files are still being displayed on the site. When you clear or refresh your web browser’s cache, the old files are deleted. Revisiting the page again will force the new static files to be reload into the cache and the changes to the page are displayed in your browser.

Chrome

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

Safari

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

 

 

Firefox (Mozilla)

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

 

 

Edge

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

 

 

Opera

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

 

 

Internet Explorer (replaced by Edge)

Text Instructions:

1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right of your Chrome browser.

2. Hover over ‘More Tools’

3. Click ‘Clear Browsing Data…’

4. Select the timeframe (how far back to clear cached data) from the dropdown.

5. Select all or some of the checkboxes that correspond to your cache clearing needs.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows: Ctrl+Shift+Del

Mac: Cmd+Shift+Del

Animated GIF:

 

 

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