Recent interactions with some of my clients convinced me that I needed to go back to the Internet 101 archive and pull out 3 important “need to knows.”

1. How to Refresh Your Page

A client asked me to make some changes to her website. When I finished the work I called her and asked her to get on her computer to confirm the changes. She looked at the new page and said she couldn’t see anything different.

“Refresh your page,” I said.

“How do you do that?” she asked.

Okay, time for a quick lesson. To conserve resources and speed up browsing, your computer stores frequently viewed web pages in its memory. This is a good thing. But if you’ve made changes to a page and your computer is displaying its locally stored version of that page, you won’t see the changes unless you refresh your browser. When you refresh your browser, you’re asking the web server to display the latest version of the page you’re looking at – the page with the changes you’ve just made. The screen captures below indicate where the refresh icon is on three of today’s most popular browsers.

Refreshing Internet Explorer

Refreshing the Firefox browser

Refreshing the Chrom browser

Refreshing your browser using keyboard commandsYou can also refresh your browser using keyboard commands as shown in the photo to the left. Just hold down the Ctrl and F5 keys simultaneously. And for you Mac users, the keyboard command is Cmd+R.

2.  How to Clear Your Browser’s Cache

Here is a brief explanation of caching offered by Symantec’s website PC Tools.

Internet browsers use caching to store HTML web pages by storing a copy of visited pages and then using that copy to render when you re-visit that page. If the date on the page is the same date as the previously stored copy, then the computer uses the one on your hard drive rather than re-downloading it from the internet.

The truth is that refreshing your browser won’t always result in seeing the latest version of a web page. Sometimes your computer’s hard drive stubbornly holds on to its contents by keeping it deep in its memory. That’s when you need to clear your computer’s cache. Thanks to The University of Wisconsin-Madison Knowledge Base for this excellent tutorial on how to clear the cache from Internet Explorer versions 9, 10 and 11.

1.Select Tools (via the Gear Icon) > Safety > Delete browsing history….

NOTE: You can also access this menu by holding Ctrl + Shift + Delete.

Delete browsing history

2. Make sure to uncheck Preserve Favorites website data and check both Temporary Internet Files and Cookies then click Delete.

Delete browsing history

3. You will get a confirmation at the bottom of the window once it has successfully cleared your cache and cookies.

Confirmation screen

And here’s how to do it in Firefox:

firefox-clear-cache-instructions

Clearing the cache in Firefox

And here’s how to do it in Chrome:

Step 1: Click on the Chrome menu icon seated towards the right end, besides the address bar.

Chrome-Settings-Button

Step 2: Navigate to Tools -> Clear browsing data. If you love keyboard shortcuts you can use the Ctrl + Shift + Delete combination and ignore Step 1 and Step 2.

Clear-Browsing-Data

Step 3: A pop up (as shown below) will appear on your screen. Here, you can select, not just cache, but any browsing data that you wish to delete.

Data-Clearing-Options

Step 4: Since we are concerned with the browsers cache, tick mark the option reading Empty the cache and uncheck all others. In order to clear cache completely I suggest that you select beginning of time from the drop down. Click on Clear browsing data when done. Voila!

Clear-Cache-Only

3. How to Bookmark a Web Page

When you bookmark a web page you are adding it to your favorites and won’t have to keep typing in the url or worse, searching for the site on google each time you want to visit. It’s pretty easy to do in any browser. Here’s how in Internet Explorer:

Step 1. When you are on the page you want to save, click the Favorites tab at the top of the browser window then click Add to Favorites.

bookmark-ie1

Step 2. You’ll see the open dialog box below. This screen allows you to save the page to a desired folder. Pick an existing folder of create a new folder then click Add.

bookmark-ie2

Once the page is saved, all you need to do is go to the Favorites tab and you’ll see the page you saved. No more typing in the url or searching for the site on Google.

The process is pretty much the same in Firefox. Once you’re on the page you want to bookmark, click the Bookmarks tab at the top of the browser and click Bookmark This Page.

bookmark-firefox1

That’s it. Just go to Bookmarks next time you want to view the page and click. It’s pretty much the same for Chrome. The screen  capture below shows the Chrome interface. Start with the tools icon then mouse over Bookmarks which will show the screen to the left. Just click  Bookmark this page and you’re done.

Bookmarking in Chrome

Click Other Bookmarks next time you want to visit your bookmarked page.

bookmark-chrome2

And Now Back to You

If you already know this stuff then this post is clearly not for you. If you don’t, and my experience tells me there are a lot of you out there, I hope you find it helpful. If you do, please let me know.

sigfile