Caching Explained

Caching

Have you ever tried to view a page on a website that you expected to be updated, only to find that it is still the same?

Before tearing your hair out or picking up the phone, you might want to consider a little gremlin known as caching as the culprit.

Caching is a tool used to artificially speed up the internet and also save money for your ISP. It involves keeping a copy of a page, image or other online resource on your hard drive, or on a big hard drive at your ISP, so that if you ask for the same resource again, you don't have to wait for the original to download - you can have it "served from the cache", saving time and bandwidth charges.

Caching is usually transparent, and there is no way of seeing if you are viewing a page fresh from the web site or from a cache somewhere in the middle. This can play havoc on you when you are trying to update your site, or see changes we have made!

To try and force your browser to get a fresh version of the page, image or other element, you can hit the "refresh" button in your browser. If you are still unsure and don't trust that, you can hold down the CTRL+SHIFT keys while you hit refresh.

If that fails, you can empty your cache from the options in your browser (try Tools->Internet Options->Delete Content in Internet Explorer), and, if you are still having no luck, try restarting your computer - sometimes files may be held in memory, and restarting is the only way to ensure they are removed.

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