Clear Browser Cache

 

Perhaps the most aggravating thing for folks who work with web pages is ye olde "browser cache".

FYI: Cache means "save a local copy". Browsers cache each page you visit. In addition, every file associated with the page is also cached. For example, images, CSS style sheets, and Javascript files -- essentially everything that the browser loads gets "cached".

Browsers cache stuff because it's faster to load files from your local PC than from a remote web server.

The problem for developers:
- We are constantly changing files. 

The problem for browsers:
- It's difficult to determine if a file has changed.

After modifying a page or file on your website, be sure to clear your browser's cache so your browser knows to retrieve the latest version of the file.

A "pro" trick is to tack-on "?something_unique" to the address, which causes the browser to download the page a-new:

http://www.yoursite.com/page.html?123

 

Question:

How many times have I made a change, then click refresh, and nothing changed?
Answer: 9,385,104,740,224,019 times (that's over 9 zillion)

 

Question:

How many hours have I spent re-working code only to realize that the code was fine... it was just that the browser was using the cached file and not the newly modified file?

Answer: 3,298,920,212,932,283 hours (that's over 3 zillion)

 

Consider the browser's dilema: To check if a remote file is different from the cached file, a browser must first download the remote file so it can compare... But wait, if it's downloading it anyway, why cache it to begin with?

The only way to prevent the browser from using cached files is to delete all of the files in the browser's cache. Each browser manages how they cache files differently.

In the old days, it was kind of simple, there were literal files tucked away somewhere in the system. And savvey nerds could actually navigate to the folder on the system and see (or delete, or even modify) all the files in the cache. But now-a-days, for varying reasons, this is not the case. Caches are more-or-less complicated databases or abstract piles of data.

 

Clearing the Cache

All browser allow you to clear the cache through tools, settings or preferences. But this requires a lot of mumbling and digging way down into various panels and sub-panels.  While you can Manually Clear the Cache, I recommend checking out a plugin or extension, which after installation are much easier than doing things manually.

Plugins & Extensions

Most browsers also have thrid-party "plugins" that make clearing the cache as simple as pushing a button, so we'll describe them first.

chrome clear cache plugin Chrome - Clear Cache

firefox empty cache Firefox - Empty Cache Button

safari clear cache plugin Safari - NoPageCache (not tested)

 

Manually Clear the Cache

 

Click an icon below for instructions.

chrome manual clear cache
Chrome
firefox  manual clear cache
Firefox
ie  manual clear cache
Internet Explorer
safari  manual clear cache
Safari
ios  manual clear cache
iPad iPhone