When you open or re-visit the website or web page again, it loads faster. This is because the device doesn’t need to download certain files from the internet that are available in the cache.
However, modern browsers are becoming smarter. If the browser detects the changes in web page elements, it will reload the page elements from the server.
A cache plays an important role for both the client-side and server-side. On the client-side, the cache feature helps to save time, bandwidth, and speed up the page load. On the server-side, it helps to reduce the server load.
You can easily use the hard reload/refresh on a web page in the Google Chrome browser.
What is Hard Refresh in Chrome Browser?
If you’re unable to see the web page with updated content because of cache, it is time to hard reload the page.
However, you can delete the cache, cookies, and other site data in Google Chrome. But, hard reload is useful when you want to delete and refresh specific web pages with the latest content. This way, you won’t have to delete all cache, cookies, and site data.
When it comes to the web page reload, Google Chrome offers three options – Normal reload, Hard Reload, and Empty cache and hard reload.
- Normal Reload – It uses cache with validation. It validates all elements of the page and checks whether the server returns 304 not modified responses. If yes, then cache files are loaded.
- Hard Reload – A hard refresh is the method for clearing cache of a browser for a specific Web page, forcing it to load the most recent version of that particular web page. At times, when changes are made to a website, they don’t appear immediately due to the caching of modern browsers. A hard refresh ignores the cache and forces the Chrome browser to reload the web page and all its elements from the web again.
- Empty Cache and Hard Reload – This process is much similar to the Hard Reload and forces the browser to reload all files, but it clears the cache for the specific web page before performing the hard reload. This feature is available in developer tools.
Now you know the difference between normal, hard, and empty cache and hard reload options. You can do a normal reload by pressing Ctrl + R or F5 from the keyboard. Alternatively, you can click on the “Reload this page” icon.
For hard reload, step by step guide is given below. Let’s get started.
How to do a Hard Refresh in Chrome Browser
Chrome for Windows and Linux
There are three ways to perform a hard reload in Chrome for Windows OS. You can use keyboard shortcuts, keyboard shortcuts with the mouse, or developer tools.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + R from the keyboard. Alternatively, you can try Ctrl + F5 or Shift + F5 keyboard shortcuts.
- Press and hold the Ctrl button from the keyboard, and click on the Reload icon.
- Open Chrome Developer tools by pressing the F12 key from the keyboard. After that, right-click on the Reload icon and click on the Hard Reload option.
Chrome for Mac
- Press Command + Shift + R from the keyboard.
- Press and hold the Shift button and click on the Reload icon.
How to Empty Cache and Hard Reload in Chrome browser
If you’re a developer, then the “Empty Cache and Hard Reload” option may be more useful. Well, there is no keyboard shortcut available for this option. You need to open Chrome Developer tools for this. The steps are given below.
On Chrome for Windows OS and Linux
- Open Developer tools by pressing Ctrl + Shift + I or F12 from the keyboard. Alternatively, click on the Chrome Menu (three horizontal dots) » More Tools» Developer Tools.
- Now right-click on the Reload icon and click on the Empty Cache and Hard Reload option.
- That’s it.
On Chrome for Mac OS
The above method also applies to macOS and Linux too
- Open Dev tools by pressing Option + Command + I from the keyboard.
- Alternatively, click on the Chrome Menu » More Tools » Developer Tools.
- Right-click on the Reload icon and select the Empty Cache and Hard Reload option.
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.
When should I use the hard refresh option?
Sometimes when a change is made to a website, it doesn’t appear immediately. A hard reload will make things okay. However, if you wish to reload a web page completely, the option to clear the cache and reload the page from scratch should be used.
Why Would I Need to Hard Refresh My Browser Cache?
The disadvantage of storing pages to the browser’s cache is that changes made to the website aren’t always immediately visible to you. In such situations, you can hard refresh your browser to clear the cache and download the new content.
Tip: Clicking on the refresh icon in the address bar of your browser is NOT the same as a hard refresh and won’t produce the same results.
Should You Hard Refresh Your Browser?
If you haven’t completed a hard refresh on your browser before, then it’s probably time. However, this will wipe out all the data from the previously visited sites, but on the next visit to the site, you will get the most up-to-date info there is from those particular web sites.
While it is a convenient way for your browser to save time by referencing back to essential page structures, caching can also lead to the slowdown of your systems and applications. It most likely also displays outdated content that may undermine user experience and a business’s objectives.
If your chrome browser is slow and sluggish or displaying the same content even after modification while loading the website, then remove the website cache using the hard refresh.
However, if you want to reload the page completely, then you should use the empty cache and hard reload option from the developer tools. This will re-download the web page completely. Also, it takes a longer time than usual because it clears the cache before reloading and fetches all files again from the server.
Logically, most of the time you don’t really need to do a soft or hard refresh unless the webpage suddenly looks broken, probably due to some changes being made on the website. If the webpage still looks broken after a refresh, then only you should contact the owner of the website.