Tuesday, 10 February 2009

How to Clear Your Browser Cache 101

If you're a web developer you should really know how to do this by now; if not, I'll let you off the hook...

Quick and easy--always try this first:
CTRL-F5 (note, I didn't say SHIFT-F5 and I didn't say F5 all by all itself). If this doesn't work, proceed.

Internet Explorer 7 & 8
  1. Tools -> Internet Options
  2. General tab, Browsing history section, Delete... button
  3. Temporary Internet Files button or Delete all... button
While you're in here, you may also want to consider changing your browser's caching behaviour. To do so, progress to step 2, above, but instead of clicking the Delete... button, click the Settings button. Change the 'Check for newer versions of stored pages' to 'Every time I visit the web page'. Note this may affect the time it takes to load web pages initially.

Clearing your cache this way clears content for all sites you've visited, which can be a hassle if you're only having problems with a site in development or a single site and you use this browser for day-to-day browsing. If you want a more refined, more accessible mechanism for clearing your browser cache, install the free IE Developer Toolbar. Last I heard, the next version will be built in to IE8 but, meanwhile, it Firebug's poor, uneducated, inbred third cousin for IE6/7 and it generally does the trick. High, high hopes for the IE8 version...

To clear your cache using the IE Developer Toolbar, follow these steps:
  1. Install the toolbar and make it visible using the little arrow icon
  2. Browse to the site you're struggling with
  3. From the toolbar menu, select Cache -> Clear Browser Cache for This Domain... and say yes
You can also toggle the Always Refresh from Server option from this menu and clear session cookies for the current domain.

  1. Tools -> Options
  2. Network tab, cache section, Clear Now button
Alternatively, install the free Firefox Web Developer Toolbar and follow these steps:
  1. Make sure the toolbar is displayed (View -> Toolbars -> Web Developer Toolbar)
  2. Click the Miscellaneous button
  3. Clear Private Data -> Cache
Or, after completing step 2, select Clear Private Data -> All Private Data and include cookies and authenticated sessions (session cookies).

[Update: don't forget to also clear your Flash local storage cache.]

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