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How to hard refresh Chrome (bypass the local cache)

Websites store files locally on your system. These stored files make it easier, and faster to load the website the next time you visit it. The cached files expire after a while and the website replaces them with new ones. 

hard refresh Chrome

Hard refresh Chrome

The cache speeds up the load time for a website but it can also cause problems. If a website is loading data from the cache, it won’t always load new content. Websites that deliver a live feed don’t work this way but for most websites that aren’t deliver live content, the cached files can cause outdated content to appear and it can cause loading errors.

Once simple way to fix this problem is to hard refresh the browser. A hard refresh forces the website to ignore the files in the cache and fetch new files from the server. When you perform a hard refresh, you will see a noticeable change in the time it takes for the website to load.

A hard refresh is;

  • Specific to a website
  • Does not change or impact other files in the cache
  • Does not change how the browser behaves or its settings

Hard refresh Chrome – Windows

Follow these steps to perform a hard refresh in Chrome on Windows.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Navigate to the website that you want to hard refresh.
  3. Allow the website to load (don’t worry if you get a load error).
  4. Press the Ctrl+F5 key to perform a hard refresh. 
  5. Alternatively, try the Shift+Ctrl+F5 key combination to perform a hard refresh.

Note: you may need to hold down the Fn key so that the F5 key works as a function key and not as a media or system control key.

Hard refresh Chrome – macOS

Follow these steps to performs a hard refresh in Chrome on macOS.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Navigate to the website you want to hard refresh.
  3. Allow the website to load or to stop loading if you’re getting an error.
  4. Press the Shift+Command+R keyboard shortcut to perform a hard refresh.

Hard refresh vs Clear cache

It’s no secret that you can clear the cache in your browser. Doing so will delete every single file that’s been stored to the cache. As you browse the internet, the cache will be rebuilt over time. A hard refresh is specific to the website it is performed on while clearing the cache impacts every single website that has stored files to the cache. 

If you do not want to lose your entire cache, you should perform a hard refresh on the website(s) that is giving you problems. 

Conclusion

All browsers have a hard refresh option. This isn’t a Chrome specific feature. If you use a different browser, chances are the same keys that you use in Chrome will work in it as well. 

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