Caching and website content
Some of the most common questions the team at Circle Media Geelong get from our clients about their website ultimately are a result of caching. These questions can include:
‘I’ve added a new image, why can’t I see it on the site?’
‘Why is the information I updated on my webpage not showing on the web?’
WHAT IS BROWSER CACHING?
When you visit a website, caching stores the information from that site within the browser. The information is kept within a cache so the next time you return to the same web page the majority of the information is ready to load. In other words, the cache keeps a saved copy of the website. What this means is that the website will load a lot faster after your first visit. A result due to the fact it no longer has to repeat the time consuming job of processing and loading the page content every time you visit the site.
Most of the time caching provides a more optimal web browsing experience, as sites page-loading time is fast tracked. In turn keeping our instant gratification society happy. However, in the case where you have made a change to your website, it does not always update instantly as the saved version of the website is still being shown.
DOES THAT MEAN NO ONE WILL SEE MY NEW CHANGES?
Most of the time the updated changes will not be visible only to you, the owner of the website. Anyone visiting your website for the first time will automatically see the updated version of the site.
Returning visitors to your page will more than likely see the updated version. The cached version of any website is generally only saved for a short time. Changes made to a page will usually automatically update fairly quickly – often viewable after only a few hours.
CAN I TURN CACHING OFF?
Simply put, it is not possible to turn off caching for general browser use. Browsers are designed for a smooth user experience, increased speed for minimal loading times and efficiency when browsing web pages. The result of which prevents reloading huge amounts of data each time you visit the same page. This benefit outweighs the minor inconvenience of not immediately seeing your changes made to a site.
How do I clear my cache?
You have made changes to your website and now want to be able to clear your cache in order to see these changes.
The first step is the easiest option and involves refreshing your browser.
If you are using a browser on a laptop or desktop computer the refresh button is next to the URL address field. It can look slightly different depending on the browser you are using but it is generally a semi circle with an arrow head at one end. Below is an example of what it looks like, and where it is positioned, in Google Chrome.
On a mobile device such as a phone or tablet you can pull the top of the screen down (past the header of the page) and let it go. This will perform a page refresh.
If the page refresh didn’t work you will need to go in and force it to clear the cache in the browser settings. The steps to clear a cache are different depending on which of the browsers you are using to view your website. As a guide this option is usually within the browser menu settings. From here it may be called ‘Clear History’ (in Safari), ‘ Clear Browsing Data’ (in Google Chrome) or it could be within the system preferences.
Be aware that clearing this data will remove your browsing history – so if there are any pages you want to remember it would be best to bookmark them before moving forward. Now clear your cache and browsing history. The changes that you made to your site will now be visible after you have refreshed the page, as described above.