One of the most common questions I get asked quite regularly after carrying out modifications or additions to a clients website is “Why can’t I see my new webpage ?” I thought it would be useful to explain why this is and how to resolve it.
The “Techy” bit
When you visit a website for the first time, your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc.) communicates with the server (where the website is hosted) which then sends a copy of the page and all its contents to your browser which it then displays for you to read.
Web pages contain a lot of content (e.g. words, images etc), made up of lots of separate files so each of these needs to be downloaded to your browser individually before it can display the page. This is why sometimes you notice it takes a while to display everything, particularly if you have large images.
This process takes time and bandwidth so it costs time and money to do this every time you re-load a page. Some of this content quite often does not change very often, or is the same on multiple pages (e.g. a logo displayed in the header) so the browser stores a copy of all the files locally in what is called its “cache”.
The next time a page is loaded, the browser first checks in its cache to see if it already has a copy of each file and then uses this rather than downloading it again from the server. This is obviously faster and also reduces the amount of bandwidth required as it only needs now to download the files that it does not have.
When you update or change the content on a website and upload the new version to the server, if the file name is the same, the browser would not know that it has changed so it still quite reasonably uses the local version it has stored in its cache so you still see the previous version.
Simple, all you need to do is to tell the browser to get the latest version of the files from the server by clicking on the refresh button at the top of your browser. The refresh button usually looks like a circular arrow on most browsers. Some examples are included below:
So now you know.