In the animal world, ‘cache’ is the “food storing behaviour of animals”. While this is interesting in itself, this isn’t quite what we’re talking about in this instance!
We’re interested in web, or internet, caches.
We like the definition from the guys at ComputerHope.com:
Internet cache is used to help improve how fast data is opened while browsing the Internet.
In most cases, each time a web page is opened, it is sent to your browser’s temporary cache on your hard drive.
If that page is accessed again and has not been modified, the browser will open the page from your cache instead of downloading the page again.
This saves users a lot of time, especially if that the user is using a modem, and can also help save the web page owner on bandwidth.
Quite often when we’re telling clients to view updates to their websites, they can’t see them – even though the changes have definitely been made! This is a classic case of web cache, and to get around it you need to force your internet browser to reload the webpage.
This can be done by either holding down the SHIFT key and pressing F5, or by holding down CTRL and hitting REFRESH in your browser.
Each of these methods gives the same result – it forces your web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc) to reload the most recent version of the webpage you are looking at.
So there you go, now you know what a web cache is!