Have you ever made changes to your website and notified your coworkers, only to find that they couldn’t see your changes? You could see them on your computer, but when your coworker pulled up your organization’s website, your changes weren’t there!
That’s happened to me often with clients’ websites, and most of the time, it’s not an issue with my computer or theirs.
If they can’t see a change I’ve made on their website—even if it’s as small as a corrected typo or an image swapped for a different one—that can create a lot of frustration. Luckily, there’s an easy fix.
But first, a (somewhat) technical explanation
Usually when something like that happens, it’s because of something called browser caching. The program you use to surf the web is your web browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, whichever you prefer). That program will cache (save) pages that you visit frequently to save time when you visit them.
In other words, your browser is downloading and saving some of the website files for the sites you visit most often so they will download faster the next time you visit the site. If you visit your organization’s website frequently, you can bet at least the home page will be cached.
But sometimes, the cached version of a website is out of date. When that happens, you’ll see an older, inaccurate version of your website, even though everyone else can see the current version.
Sometimes, there may be an actual problem with your website causing changes to not be applied or not show up. But before worrying about that, it’s a good idea to try a hard refresh on your browser.
This one is a really quick fix
A hard refresh is a more thorough refresh than the one next to your address bar. To do a hard refresh, hold down one of these key combinations on your keyboard.
Mac: Command + Shift + R
PC: Control + F5
Holding these keys down at the same time will make your browser perform a hard refresh, and you (and your coworker!) should both be able to see the changes to your website on any browser.
If a hard refresh doesn’t fix the problem, then that’s a good time to get in touch with your web host. They should be able to help you diagnose the issue if it persists.