How to Hard Refresh Your Web Browser (to Bypass Your Cache)

by Benj Edwards

A generic browser reload arrow

Sometimes, a website does not behave as expected or seems stuck showing outdated information. To fix this, it’s easy to force your browser to completely reload its local copy of the page (cache) using a simple keyboard shortcut. Here’s how to do it.

What Is a Browser Cache?

To speed up browsing, web browsers save copies of website data to your computer as a set of files called a cache. When you load a website, you are often viewing a local copy of elements from the site (such as images) pulled from your cache.

Normally, if the browser loads a website and detects a change, it will fetch a new version of the site from the remote web server and replace the cache. But the process is not perfect, and sometimes your browser may end up with a local copy of the website data in your browser cache that doesn’t match the latest version on the server. As a result, a web page may look incorrect or not function properly.

To fix this, we need to force the web browser to discard what it already has in the cache and to download the latest version of the site. Many people call this a “hard refresh.”

How to Perform a Hard Refresh in Your Browser

In most browsers on PC and Mac, you can perform a simple action to force a hard refresh. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the reload icon on your browser’s toolbar.

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