Does Your Website Look Messed Up Following an Update? Clear Your Cache…

Are you not seeing what you should be seeing on your website after a recent update? Does the page look jumbled or “out-of-whack”? This is likely due to caching.

Hold up…What’s “Caching”?

To load web pages faster, the internet uses “caching” to store a copy of it on your local device. This way, when you visit a web page for the 2nd (or more) time, you don’t need to wait around to go retrieve that web page for the website…it just shows the copy it has on file.
  • Fancy, technical reason if you’re interested: Caching is storing copies of files in a cache, or temporary storage area, to enable faster retrieval of those files, such as when accessing a website. In essence, the information is kept close at hand rather than having to go far across the internet. Websites frequently receive hundreds of thousands or even millions of monthly visits. Every time a browser requests a web page, the server has to carry out a number of complex (and time-consuming) computations. It locates your site’s navigation, sidebar widgets, most recent postings, builds the header and footer, and more. This is where caching comes into play. By using caching, the server can reuse the final output rather than starting from scratch each time a user accesses the same website.
So, why is it messing up my site?

Glad you asked. The reason is because the “stored” (old) version of your website that your browser is loading is conflicting with some of the “new” code that was changed. This causes things to look messed up or “out-of-whack”. Annoying? Yes. Avoidable? Unfortunately not.

Does this mean everyone that goes to my site will see this messed up version?

Not at all. In fact, only a very small portion of users, if any, will see it as “messed up.” New people to the website who have never been there before will not experience any caching problems (because there is no “stored” version on their browser).

When will it go away?

Usually a person’s router or browser cache will automatically flush every 24 hours so, if it’s someone that may experience a caching problem, it’s unlikely they will after that period of time.

Alternatively, you can manually flush the cache for any browser. This will fix it for you immediately. Here is a link to an article that provides step-by-step instructions on how to do this for each major browser.

If you want to learn more about caching and why it happens, visit our in-depth article here.