Why can't I see my changes immediately?
Sometimes when you make a change to your website, the changes you've made won't immediately be visible to you online. Here, we cover the main reasons this can happen, and a few tips you can try out to get around the issue.
What is caching?
In order to ensure that websites load quickly, website content is sometimes "cached", or stored at various points between your computer and our web servers. This allows for the content to be displayed quickly in your web browser, rather than being downloaded from our server from scratch each and every time you access the site. The downside of this behaviour is that sometimes your old content can continue displaying from the cache long after you've changed it on our server.
It should be pointed out that our servers do not cache your content. As soon as you overwrite a file on our servers, it is physically impossible for them to continue serving the old file, as it no longer exists. Any changes you make are available immediately on the internet... There is no delay.
Put simply, if you're seeing old content, it is not coming from our servers.
The most common two places that your website content is cached are your web browser and your ISP.
Clearing your web browser's cache
There are several ways to ensure your web browser fetches the latest version of your site.
1) Refresh the web page. Often overlooked, you will need to refresh the page in your browser in order to see the changes you've made. In order to "force" a refresh, you typically hold down the Control key while hitting Refresh on a Windows computer, or the Command key on a Mac.
2) Clear your web browser's cache. In Internet Explorer, the cache is usually referred to as "Temporary Internet Files", which can be deleted via Tools -> Internet Options. In Firefox, this option is labelled "Clear Private Data".
3) Restart your web browser. Restarting the browser can also assist in ensuring that the cache is cleared and page loads aren't coming from your cache.
4) Trick the browser into refreshing the page. In the unlikely event that the above doesn't work, a handy trick to force a refresh can be to try accessing your page with or without the "www", depending on what you were using. Your browser will typically treat these as two different pages and will sometimes load one correctly while the other still shows cached content. Likewise, adding a question mark after your URL can have the same effect (i.e. "http://exampledomain.co.nz/" vs "http://exampledomain.co.nz/?")
5) Try another web browser. If the page loads correctly in another web browser, you've confirmed that the problem is limited to your original browser.
What if your ISP is caching your content?
Less likely than your web browser cache, it is still possible that your ISP may be caching the content in order to speed things up for their customers. Unfortunately, this can only be verified and corrected by your ISP. They will be able to check whether your connection is subject to caching, and also whether the website in question is currently in the cache.