You may have heard your digital agency reference ‘clearing your cache’ after making a change to your website, but if you’re non-techy, you might not truly understand what your cache is and why it is affecting your site.
Whenever you make a change to your website, whether that be new branding, adding buttons or changing out some high-res images, most of us will have experienced caching. You’ll pull up your browser to find that the site looks no different to what it did before, and it may look like that work you requested hasn’t been done. Well, before you jump in and start questioning your web developer, let us formally introduce you to cache.
What is cache?
Cache – pronounced ‘cash’ – is in reference to cached data, i.e. the data that is stored in memory. See it like the human brain, retaining all the places you’ve visited, what they looked like and how they behaved. A cached version of your site is simply a saved memory. It does this in order to make loading experiences much faster. For example, we all have the memory saved of our journey to and from work; it’s one we don’t have to think about most of the time, it just comes naturally to take the directions we do. Now think back to doing that journey for the first time, how you checked Google Maps or planned the route prior so that you wouldn’t get lost; that’s how cached data works in memorising your website. If the data isn’t stored, it would take you longer to get the end result.
Why should I care?
This is easy. Understanding how cache works will improve the relationship between you and your web developer or digital agency. Experienced developers can pinpoint caching issues easily and effectively deal with them, but it is through this understanding of cache between the brand and the developer, that will help speed up the build of the site. A site could be cached from several parts that make up the build of your website, which is why this level of understanding can drastically improve how quickly your site is updated.
How to clear your cache
One of the quickest ways to solve a caching issue from a non-tech savvy perspective is conduct a hard refresh. This will simply ensure that instead of being shown a ‘memory’, you’ll be shown the latest version of your site. You can do this by pressing CTRL + F5 on your keyboard at the same time. This refresh is unlike the normal method of pressing the refresh button, and instead removes the cache.
You can also go incognito by opening a private window that will load a new page with no cache. You can do this by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + N.