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Question: Why did the web developer go broke?
Answer: Because he used up all his cache!

(Boom, boom)

If you understood the above then you can probably stop reading here. If not, read on.

There are lots of technologies designed to secure and speed up your website and most of the time there is no need to even know that they exist. However if you want to run a website and perform the odd update yourself, then it is always good to have a little basic knowledge up your sleeve as it can save time, money and sanity.  Cache is one of those things.

At a very basic level, Cache (pronounced CASH) is a place to temporarily store something in a computing environment. Caching is used throughout the computing world to speed up processes. Cache, with reference to your internet browser, temporarily stores the files required to load a website. This mean the next time you visit the site you won’t have to download every single file again and your experience should be faster and smoother.

This is all fine and dandy until a change is made on a website and your still viewing the old version. In most cases it isn’t a massive deal as your browser does clear it’s own cache on a regular basis and there are automatic checks to cut down on the errors caused by the cache. But, if your trying to update your website and view these changes in real time it can cause headaches and hours of chasing your tail trying to work out why your updates don’t seem to have been made.

The three main ways round this are:


Force Refresh

When looking at a site you can use the force refresh shortcut CTRL + F5 (or CMD + R on a Mac) to tell the browser not to load any files from the cache but try to fetch them directly from the web server.


Private Browsing Mode

Most modern browsers have an extra mode that will load websites without using the cache and also without storing any visits to the browsers history. This means that you can load up the private browsing mode and be sure you are seeing the latest version of the site and not loading anything from your browser cache.

This is also know as incognito mode in the Google Chrome browse and InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer.  The private browsing mode can be found via the menu bars of your favourite browsers and the this article helps to find it on the most common browsers.


Clear your Browser Cache

The surefire way to ensure your browser isn’t loading anything from it’s cache is to delete all of the files that are stored on computer. A guide for major browsers can be found here.


Hopefully the above has helped to explain browser cache and the various ways to get round it. Get the joke now? Yep, it’s terrible!