Caching is an effective way to save on downloading. It allows you to download an image once and then display every all other relevant pages quickly, without loading the images all over again.

However, when changes are made to your website, I often have to tell clients to press CONTROL & F5 ON PC to force refresh a page to see updates. The very first thing my client would ask me is how their visitors will know how to force refresh.

Other than your computer that caches websites, the most common forms of caching web pages occur with your web browser and with your Internet Service. Most web browsers cache pages when you visit a web site so that the next time you go to that page it appears to load faster, because it is using a local copy rather than requesting a new copy be sent across the Internet. Once you have visited a website your ISP may cache those pages so that they appear to load faster the next time you visit them. The main problem with this is that unlike your browser cache you can not delete these temporary files, instead you have to wait until your ISPs cache expires and it requests fresh copies of the files and this causes major frustration – especially when developing websites.

Unfortunately there is very little that can be done about ISP caching except to change your ISP. Most ISPs do not cache pages for more than half an hour or so but there are some that take considerably longer, sometimes even longer than 24 hours. When you encounter this problem you will have to communicate with your ISP to fix this problem.

So in answer to your question: When new visitors visit your website, they will only be able to see the latest files uploaded and will never see old pages because their browser and ISP haven’t cached information yet. The latest information is thus displayed without any problems. However, when you a cached version of the website and you’ve already force refreshed your browser and still seeing the old web pages, give it a couple of minutes and try again. Your ISP will eventually refresh their cached version.


  • Windows: ctrl + F5
  • Mac/Apple: Apple + R or command + R
  • Linux: F5


About the Author: Rosika Delport
Aftershock Studios
Rosika is the founder and director of Aftershock Studios. She's been in design and front-end development since way back when the Dead Sea was still critical! Her design approach is simple elegance with an eye for strong abstract lines.