As designers and developers, sometimes we’ll make a change to a website and then hear back from the client or customer that they don’t see the changes we made. We’ll usually respond that you should try clearing your cache and then see if you see the changes.
Why? What does it mean? How do you do it?
A browser cache is a pretty cool thing. When you visit a website, your browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc) saves a copy of some of the files that make up a website. One of the reasons it does this is to save you time; when it saves a copy of the files, it doesn’t have to run and get them every time you visit a website, so the website will come up a whole lot faster than if it had to go grab all the files again.
But because your browser is saving some of those files on your computer, and not going to get new copies each time, if changes have been made, you often won’t see them on your computer–remember, it’s relying on the old files. So in order to see the most recent updates to a website, we have to tell our browsers to throw away all those files and go get the new ones. This is what clearing our cache is.
And how do you clear your cache?
Push the “CTRL” (or “CMD”) and “F5” buttons at the same time.
(There are longer ways to do it in each browser, if for some reason, you should need that, click here to see the instructions.)
It’s slightly different for each browser. Start by closing the tab of the website you want to see a fresh version of.
- Click on the 3 lines in the top right corner that represent their menu.
- Hover over “History” then click on “History.”
- Click on the “Clear browsing data…” button in the top left of the screen.
- Uncheck all the boxes except for “Cached images and files”
- Click “Clear browsing data”
- Click on the menu symbol in the top right.
- Click on history.
- Click on clear recent history.
- Uncheck everything but “Cache”
- Click “Clear now”
In Internet Explorer:
- Click on the gear icon in the top right.
- Hover over “Safety”
- Click “Delete Browsing History”
- Uncheck everything but “Temporary Internet files and website files” and “Cookies and website data”
- Click delete
- Download Firefox and/or Chrome and learn to use them because they’re just better in every way. 😜
That’s it! Now check your website again and it should show you the newest version.
P.S. Your phone and tablet also keep caches. You can Google how to clear those, but usually, closing the tab your website is in, and then restarting your phone works.