Quick answers to common web design questions

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Why am I not seeing website changes?

Sometimes after a web page edit you may not see the changes properly, and wonder if they've been made at all. What's happening is that your browser is showing you an old (or 'cached') version of the web page, rather than the new web page.

There are two ways to resolve this:

First, simply reload or refresh the page(s) in question.

If that doesn't do the trick, you may need to clear your browser's cache. Here's how it's done in Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. On your browser toolbar, click More (three stacked dots).
  3. Point to More tools, and then click Clear browsing data.
  4. In the "Clear browsing data" box, click the checkbox for Cached images and files.
  5. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything.
  6. Click Clear browsing data.

Note that this is not a website issue - this is a 'your computer' issue. It's not the website that needs refreshing, it's that you're being shown an old snapshot of the page. When you clear your cache, you force your computer to go to the website to get the updated page for you.

It can also be the case that some of the page is being cached (the underlying code for example), and so you end up seeing some changes, but they look weird. Again, just a caching issue, but in this case it's caching the code behind the page. Either way, a refresh or clear cache resolves it.

Typically browsers cache pages for about 8 hours, but that can range from a few minutes to 12 hours or longer depending on user settings. To ensure you're always seeing the latest version, at minimum you'll want to refresh/reload the page. And you can always force a refresh and see the latest version with a cache clear per the instructions above.

Note also that the typical visitor isn't checking for updates like this, so they don't experience these odd issues. Their cache resets over time naturally, often doing so when they close their browser and return to the website later.