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What Is a Hard Refresh?

A hard refresh is a way of reloading a page on a browser that bypasses the cache and instead retrieves the actual page that is stored in the server.

The usual method of refreshing a web site is to click on the “refresh” button or, alternatively, the F5 key on the keyboard. For the Apple OS, it is the Apple key or Control key and the “R” key. In order to do a hard refresh, the user presses the command or control key and then clicking on the “refresh” button with the mouse, or pressing the F5 key. Another way to do the hard refresh is to hold the shift key, or the command or control key, and then pressing “R”. Doing any of these steps will let the browser retrieve the page as it appears on the server and not access the page based on what has been stored on the cache.

Doing a hard refresh is useful especially in certain situations. For example, it is a simple and fast way to clear forms and is also an effective way of ensuring that the page you are viewing is what is currently on the server and not just an old version of the page that has been stored in the cache. Actually, the browser will still look at the server for any changes in the page and not get it from the cache. Unfortunately, sometimes this does not happen because of an error or glitch and what the user sees is the stored page in the cache.

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