There’s Something Strange Going On: When, Why and How to Clear Your Cache

There is a good chance that you’ve never thought about how to clear your cache. In fact, you might not even know what it is, let alone what to do with it! You may well be wondering, why would you even want to?

Picture this: you’ve just poured your heart into a jazzy new update for your website. You hit “publish”, and then click on “view page”, ready to sit back and marvel at your (or your nifty web designer’s) handy work. But low and behold, something strange is going on. Not a sausage has changed, and you start to panic that your efforts might have been wasted.

Perhaps this scenario isn’t a theoretical at all; perhaps you’re experiencing it right now. The good news is that there is probably no need to invite panic to the party. Instead, you had best look to the most likely culprit, your cache, and clear it right now, so that your site update can surface in all of its glory!

What Is a Cache, Anyway?

Whenever a web page is loaded, speed is of the essence. If your site drags its heels, there is a good chance that visitors will head for the door before they even get to see what you offer. Certainly not desirable! A cache is a clever little mechanism via which certain elements of your site are stored somewhere more accessible, either on the visitor’s own hard drive, or on a speedier-to-access server. This means that as visitors navigate from page to page or come back to take a second peek at your merchandise, they won’t have to wait so long for the site to load.

Now, these days even your internet browser provides a cache, making your browsing experience far smoother. It stores those key bits and bobs from your favourite websites so that you can see them faster every time you visit. On the other side of the equation, if you own a website, there is a good chance that another cache is sitting on the server-side of its virtual interactions too. So, clearing your website’s cache may be a trick you need to master.

How To Clear Your Browser’s Cache

So, something has gone awry with your website changes, and you’re in troubleshooting mode. Your first port of call should be clearing the cache on your browser. If something has gone sideways there, you may simply be viewing a static version of your site that’s now out of date. Of course, this isn’t something that should happen, but as we all know, technology doesn’t always behave as it should! In fact, clearing your browser’s cache from time to time is a great habit to establish. Beyond anything else, all of that data can add up, taking up major real estate on your hard drive.

Each browser – be it Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple’s Safari, functions a little differently, but the option to clear your cache can always be found in your browser’s tools and settings. In the case of Chrome, it can be found under More Tools and then Clear Browsing Data. With Firefox, it can be found in your Privacy and Security settings, under Clear Data. Use your browser’s help tool if you cannot find what you need. As you manage your browser’s data, keep in mind that deleting cookies may log you out of some websites, so opt to only clear your cache unless you are ready for a cookie clear out too.

How To Clear Your Website’s Cache

If you have cleared the cache on your browser and your website’s still not looking as fresh as it ought to, then it’s time to turn your attention to your website’s cache. Once again, the exact process for clearing this cache can vary. From a WordPress dashboard, a handy link to clear your cache can usually be found in the top bar. However, if in doubt, check in with your web developer or host to find out what you are looking for.

Occasionally, it can also be useful to know that some WordPress plugins, either provided by your host, or installed to enhance speed and security, may also store cached copies of static content. If this is the case, you should be able to clear that cache from the plugin’s settings page.

Troubleshooting, or a Pre-emptive Cache Clear

You have cleared your cache and, as if by magic, your site updates are hidden no-longer. A momentous reverse-disappearing act indeed! Now you know how to troubleshoot caching issues like a pro in the future. With all that knowledge and power, why not schedule clearing your cache on a regular basis to keep things ticking along nicely? If you find that there’s something else strange going on, and clearing you cache hasn’t helped matters at all, do keep in mind that the Teapot team is always here to assist.

About Barry

I thrive on creating solutions through my design skills. Drawing on over 20 years experience in a huge array of disciplines. Branding, graphic and web design, retail interiors and signage.

Give us a call on 01460 281865 or email us to see how we can help you!