What is a Hard Refresh?

If you visit a website frequently, your web browser stores web page elements in a cache so you don’t have to re-download them each time you visit, making your browsing faster. These elements can include photographs, pages you’ve already viewed, or style sheets. In some cases, when the site changes, you may not be able to see the changes because you are actually viewing the cache. There are two ways to solve this problem: a full refresh, which bypasses the cache and loads the actual page as it is stored on the server, and clearing the cache, which is something you should do periodically anyway.

Pressing the F5 key can do a full refresh on a web page.

To update a website normally, you press the “refresh” button, or the F5 key, or press your operating system’s command key, such as the Apple key or the Control key, and the letter R. To refresh strongly, the command or the control key is held down while clicking the Update button or pressing F5. Alternatively, the user can hold down the shift key, the command/control key, and the letter R. A full refresh will bypass all cached files and display the webpage as it currently appears on the server.

A full refresh can be useful for cleaning up forms and ensuring that you are viewing the web page as it currently appears. Typically, even if your browser has a cached version of a web page, it will check the server for changes. Sometimes glitches confuse this communication, however, leaving the viewer with a site that looks confused. This is especially common when changes are made to style sheets, which sometimes causes a page to render strangely.

See also  What is a web server?

If you’re seeing a webpage that looks weird or has glitches, a full refresh may be necessary. This is common on sites that are constantly being updated, such as email and news sites. Occasionally, fast updates confuse the browser, which reverts to a cached version of the page. If a site looks funny to you, doing a full update can help resolve the issue. Full refresh is also very useful for web designers who want to make sure they are seeing the latest version of their work.

In your browser’s options menu, there is usually a tab for dealing with caching. You can set the cache size and also clear it. Clearing the cache will remove all older saved versions of the websites you visit, which means the entire page will have to be re-downloaded when you visit it. Clearing the cache is more time consuming than doing a full refresh and only needs to be done periodically, but it can be beneficial if you are having browser difficulties.

Leave a Comment