Bypass, or Clear, Your Local Cache

In every Blogger forum I read, you see occasional complaints

I just made changes to my blog. Other folks can see my changes, but I can’t. What is the problem?

The problem is quite simple. Portions of your blog, and of every other website that you’ve accesed recently, are stored locally, on your computer. The next time you access that blog or website, your computer won’t have to waste your bandwidth downloading the same files. Have you ever noticed that the first time you visit a new website, you computer seems to run slower than subsequent times accessing that same website? This is not your imagination.

In some cases, as when you make changes and can’t see those changes immediately, this is not a good thing. Until a file reaches a certain age (sits locally on your computer for a while), your computer won’t even bother to check for its update. Your friends will see the changes, but you won’t.

Some people will advise you to clear your cache.

  • In Firefox, from Tools – Options, find Privacy – Cache. Select Clear Cache Now.
  • In Internet Explorer, from Tools – Internet Options, find Temporary Internet files. Hit Delete Files, then OK.

You may also get temporary relief by forcing a refresh. Hit the F5 key, or hold down the Shift key and hit the Refresh button in the browser toolbar.

And other people will try forcing a refresh by adding a “?” to the end of a target URL. You might access this web page, for instance, as (I added a space in the middle of the URL, to allow the string to line break, and avoid another post / sidebar alignment problem). 2006/08/bypass-or-clear-your-local-cache.html?

When you add a “?” to the end of the URL, you are asking your browser to make a dynamic call to the web server. Dynamic calls (aka active server code) are not cached, they have to be evaluated, each time that you load the URL, by the browser contacting the web server.

Try each solution. Find out what works.


4 Responses to “Bypass, or Clear, Your Local Cache”

  1. Under The Hood Says:

    “Bypass, or Clear, Your Local Cache”

    Yet Another Alternative: Tell your browser to cache on a Ram Drive. Then your cache is, by definition, cleared at each re-boot.

    True, this stance won’t work for everyone, but if your main web sport is online newspapers, blogs, and the like, you’ll start each day knowing that you really are looking at the latest.

  2. Under The Hood Says:

    “by adding a “?” to the end of a target URL.”

    (OK, so I went back and read your article a SECOND time, that’s good, isn’t it?!!)

    The “?” looks like a neat trick. Please elaborate. Ought I to go into my Bookmarks Manager and append “?” to each link that I don’t want cached? Typical examples would ne online nespapers, blogs and the like.

    Then I could switch back to a non-Ram disk for cache and let the browser make good use of the cache for images and the like.

    Thanks, and I’m sorry for the double-comment; merge them if you like. I just get so excited about learning a new trick!

  3. Chuck Says:

    The “?” on the end of a URL is a kludge. I think it’s tricking the browser into thinking that it’s a dynamic call to the URL, with arguments following.

    You just give it no arguments. The browser evaluates it as dynamic, with a nul argument list.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Excitement, and learning new tricks, is no problem.

    The implications of using the “?” are interesting. I need to read some more, and see what the possibilities are. So now I have another post to write.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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