Web Tips: How To Hard Reload Your Browser

Caching is how we store parts of the internet on our computers. Websites do this for a multitude of reasons, such as reducing load times, saving user preferences, search histories, etc. Though caching is very helpful, it can sometimes cause unintended behavior if your browser is trying to load files that are out of date.

Luckily, there’s a quick and easy solution to most caching bugs – hard reloading your browser.

Doing a hard reload is a quick way to dump all the saved information of a page you’re viewing and replace it with the latest version. This can be helpful if you’re experiencing:

  • Parts of a site aren’t loading (media, ads, widgets, etc).
  • Blank white pages
  • Issues with functionality (buttons, search, login requests, etc).

Note: A hard reload will only refresh the current page you’re viewing. It will not affect the rest of the website or any tabs you may have open.

For Windows

  • Hold Ctrl and click the refresh button on your browser; or
  • Hold Ctrl and press F5

For Mac

  • Hold Shift and click the refresh button on your browser; or
  • Hold Cmd + Shift and press R

For Developers (Bonus)

picture highlighting the "empty cache and hard reload" option when google dev tools is open.

Need to be really, really sure you cleared all the cache? You can access a few more options by using Chrome’s developer tools.

  • Open Chrome
  • Open the Developer Tools by hitting F12 or Ctrl + Shift + i
  • With Dev Tools open, right-click on the reload page button

If done correctly, you’ll be presented with three options:

Refresh — This will reload the page normally, using the data you have cached.

Hard reload — This will clear the cache and re-download all the assets for the page. However, it may not clear files received after the initial page-load. If the site uses JavaScript to pull in data from outside resources (iframes, redirects, etc) those assets might not be fully cleared.

Clear cache and hard reload — This will dump all cached files and re-download them, including those from outside resources. This is the best option to fully clear a website’s saved data.

Keep in mind that some servers can be rather stubborn when it comes to caching. It’s always best to reload two or three times to make sure everything has been cleared.


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