How To Keep Your Hair (and Sanity) When Doing Blog Makeovers!

Ever felt like you’re going slightly totally crazy?

You upload a nice new custom image header.  Or you rename your blog categories!  But when you visit your blog site these new changes haven’t appeared and you see the old version of your blog.

Rest assured you aren’t crazy!

But until you understand the culprit lies with your browser’s cache and learn how to clear your browser cache it will drive you crazy.

What Is A Browser Cache?

When you visit a web page for the first time web browsers such as Internet Explorer, FireFox, Flock and Safari save a copy of that page and its graphics on your computer.  The next time you visit an ‘already visited web page’ it grabs the saved copy of the page from your computer’s hard drive. This makes the page load and render faster because it doesn’t have to grab all the information from the web server that hosts the web page.

This ‘saved copy on your computer’s hard drive’ is known as your browser cache.  It’s normally a good feature unless you need to view the latest version of a web page.

How To Clear Your Web Browser

Web browsers do vary in terms of what method you use to clear their cache.  However the fastest method is to use the shortcut key Ctrl + F5 (press and hold the Ctrl key while pressing F5).  This will reload the web page you are viewing while clearing the cache for most web browsers on Windows including FireFox, Flock and Internet Explorer 7.

On a Mac the short cut keys to reload and clear cache are CMD + R (press and hold the CMD key while pressing R) – thanks Patrick Malley for realizing I had forgotten instructions for Macs.

So the next time you make changes to your blog’s design and are still seeing the old version of your blog remember to try clearing your cache.

Image by fjom licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike.

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Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

13 Responses

  1. ptrkmkl says:

    Cmd+r a couple of times in Safari or Firefox on a Mac. :)

    • Sue Waters says:

      Thanks Patrick. While I have a MacBook most of my life is spent on a PC (don’t tell anyone :) ) so totally didn’t think of that! I’ve admended the post and linked to your site as a thanks.

      • ptrkmkl says:

        Not a problem (and thanks for the credit!). This is good knowledge to spread around. Save a lot of people a lot of headache.

        • Sue Waters says:

          Always happy to give credit and link to people’s sites plus posts.

          We find browser cache catches out so many people including often experience bloggers. I also find there is so much information that over time we learn that new people don’t appreciate they need to know such as cache and my favorite the dreaded copy/paste from Word documents into blog posts.

          Thanks again for realising I had missed the Mac.

  2. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora Sue

    Nice one. Yes this is a catch (cache?) for new players and even some experienced ones.

    A similar experience is had when opening up Firefox with saved tabs. The screens on each tab have to be ‘refreshed’ in order to see the latest update. RSS Reader, on the other hand, knows to update, and is in fact updating all the time except for the (right) frame that’s displayed.

    Caching can be insidious. Some browsers have what’s known as pre-caching which can be switched on or off. This anticipatory feature selects the first few links on an opened web page and downloads the formatting, text and images from them without displaying, permitting a faster display of the pages when these links are clicked. The intention is usually honourable, and I’m not talking about pop-ups here either. Some browsers permit a screen message to be displayed momentarily on the task bar when this occurs.

    But a recent feature (which is not so new incidentally) is having the pre-caching script in the coding of the displayed web-page. It is similar to pre-loading which has been used for decades for smooth effects with mouse roll-over on buttons etc.

    The effect of the pre-caching in both these instances I mention here is that if a pre-cached page is not actually visited until a later date, the user, seeing it for the very first time, may not realise that they have to ‘refresh’ to see the latest version of the page. There’s little one can do about this other than to keep using Ctrl F5.

    Frankly, I’m not so keen on pre-caching, of any sort, for a number of reasons. I like to see what’s being downloaded. ;-)

    Catchya later

    • Sue Waters says:

      Don’t tell anyone Ken but I frequently get caught out by cache – and always a stupid thing that I don’t think of. It is interesting how the different web browsers and operating systems do it. So which is your least favorite web browser?

      • Ken Allan says:

        Kia ora Sue!

        Hmmm. My least favourite browser. That’s difficult to explain. It’s a bit like asking me which is the least favourite instrument I play. The thing is that they all have pluses and minuses. I’m not really expert enough for my opinion on this to be a lot of use to anyone but myself, but I’d say that the latest version of IE would probably be close to that – I preferred the characteristics of some earlier versions.

        Bias is a shocking disease! I’m afraid I’m biased in favour of Firefox – but it has its drawbacks too! ;-)

        Catchya

  3. drmike says:

    So that’s what Sue looks like in the morning.

    :whistle:

    :)

  4. lisachristianwalcott says:

    very interesting need to know more.

  5. simmiss says:

    Ctrl + F5 on my keyboard is the “brighter” key! I dont know how to clear the cache on my computer, but my screen is ultra bright! Any other way? I am using Windows 7

  6. drmike says:

    Are you sure you’re not hitting the FN key instead of the CTRL key? The FN F5 combo on my Toshiba Laptop is what controls brightness of my screen.

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