When you’re making changes to your website, it can be so frustrating when you press “update” and nothing happens!

Worse yet, when you’ve finally got things how you want them… only for the page to look like a jumbled mess. What happened? It was fine a second ago!

In this week’s 10 Second Insights, Josh explains a simple fix that – more often than not – sorts the problem out right away: the hard refresh.

What is a refresh?

Websites are made up of many different files coming together. When you browse the internet, your browser (Safari, Chrome, IE, Edge, etc) stores a copy of the website’s files on your device in a place called the ‘cache’. The files your device stores (caches) are things like Javascript, CSS, images and more. Storing files in the cache helps to load the website faster when you go to the next page instead of loading every single file again.

When you refresh a page normally, your browser checks against the web server the website is hosted on to see if any files have been modified. If there hasn’t been a change of the files in the background, your browser will show you the cached (downloaded) version of the website. It’s quite a lazy approach, really.

What is a hard refresh?

Sometimes, your browser gets quite complacent when you hit the refresh button. It’s so lazy that it doesn’t want to fetch the latest version of the website’s file. When you edit your own website and you check on your browser to see how it looks, sometimes you end up with a very broken looking site.

A hard refresh is a method to force the browser to get up and download all of the files from the server again. More often than not, a hard refresh will fix the issue when you’re editing your website. Check the video above to see how to do it!

Written by
Josh Baum

Josh Baum

UX Analyst
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