*Your Browser! Caching! (Hit Your F5 Key Now!)*
Basic Cache settings for IE7, Firefox & Netscape Browsers
By: Warlord & Bigunwhistle & Others
04 May 2007
(Updated 02 February 2010)

Many people look at the public Alpha Website and see old dates on the page... You'd be surprised how many people write us to ask if we're going to update the site ever again... (sigh)

The "Web Site" that They're Seeing is actually not "Our Web Site"; They're seeing a three month old copy of the Web Site that's been stored on their Hard Drive by their "Browser Cache"... they don't know how to change their Browser's settings to update their Browser's Cache each time they visit a Web Site, and/or they don't think to hit their Browser's "Refresh" button (or simply hit their "F5" Key) to see what's changed in the last few months... Worse, they don't seem to notice that they haven't seen any new articles in several months (Even though our site says: "New Articles Every Month!")...

Your Browser wants to be Fast... so what it does to Appear fast (Especially on a dial-up service) is two things:
1. Caching (the subject of this article)
2. Pre-fetching

Caching
Almost everything you see while browsing the web is downloaded to your hard drive by your browser and stored in it's cache of files. Since many pages rarely change, the Next time you go to this same page, your computer will see the name of the file, look in it's cache, and think "I have this same file/page already, no need to spend time and bandwidth downloading it again", so it just shows you the same page it downloaded last time from the copy it stored on your harddrive.

When a site changes (and now, with many more people having high speed connects, pages change more often), your browser may not see the new changes.. it depends on how you have your settings for your browser. That is why your browser asks you questions during set-up like "Will you be using a dial-up account, or will you be using a DSL or cable connect to the internet?" It needs to know how to pre-configure your browser so it gives you maximum speed.

However, with the slower speeds (again) your browser caches more heavily, and you may see an out-of-date page (especially when you KNOW we update our public side EVERY month, and have never missed an update in over 15 years!!!).. People with Huge OLD caches write to ask for membership positions we haven't had in 4 months.. or they ask when we'll be accepting new member when we DO have openings showing, all because their caches are set to "max" and they don't think (or know) to hit their reload/refresh button to see the ACTUAL page NOW.

Remember this simple fact: The "Reload/Refresh Button" (Or hitting your "F5" key) Re-downloads/Refreshes a page, "No matter what".. giving you the most recent page...

Some people's browser settings are so bad, that they accuse site owners of having Porn on their sites.. One guy's kid had been sneaking to look at porn on the net late at night... the browser cached a picture named "image233.jpg".. as you can imagine, there's probably a million pictures on the net named "image233.jpg".. but he had the cache settings set so high on his older browser that right there in the middle of the survival article, His browser showed him a porn picture from His cache on His hard drive. After much e-mail, I talked him though seeing where, exactly, his computer had been visiting without his knowledge.

This is Not uncommon, folks... Many people carry around Huge outdated caches on their hard drives because they don't know any better... they used to have dial up, but now they have Broad-band, but they never changed their browser's cache settings to reflect the higher speed connect, so the old browser never checks to see if the page has changed since last month (or last week, or yesterday). Your cache needs to update regularly ("Each Visit" is the Norm now).

"However", Many dialup and cable companies do the Exact same thing to make their Service appear faster!!! Every time you download a page to look at it, it uses Their bandwidth, so They keep whole special servers Filled with Cached Webpages and pictures their members have visited so that they can give you the page from Their Servers rather than downloading the page/pictures again... this is the Bane of Website Administrators, because when we make a change to our sites, it may be weeks before Your web provider updates their cache boxes (Also called a "Squid box" due to the software used on their server)... There's nothing you can do about that except call and complain... but the good news is, that's being SLOWLY phased out now as companies really lay the fiber optics they told you they already had laid... But, expect to see these old tricks again as companies again over-sell their bandwidth and have to find ways to cut corners to make their service appear faster than their competitor's, taking advantage of their customer's ignorance to do it. Our servers are rated among the fastest on the net.. we keep them that way for Survival Purposes... our pages are kept small and simple, so that people using Any internet device can get the Preparedness info they need during a disaster.. even from a modern cell phone if that's the only way they can connect to the net.. (Rubicon members just Fire Up their yearly "Rubicon DVD" and get the info they need from IT, but that's a different topic altogether)

BTW, Your browser's cache usually will Not cache Some types of pages, like pages with "CGI" extentions and other types of files that change a lot, or are interactive (Like game pages, or chat rooms)

 

Pre-fetching
This is much like caching, but as you sit and read a page, your browser pre-downloads ALL of the links embedded in that page (and the page you just came from) so that when you finish reading a page and click on a link in that article, your browser has already downloaded it, and it appears to come up instantly... however, this unnecessarily uses a LOT of OUR bandwidth (and your ISP's bandwidth) so of course "we", and your ISP, dislike these "Pre-fetchers", and many of us put scripts in place to stop them since some of them can REALLY get carried away and try to download everything on a Website.. on a broadband connect, that can waste MANY megs of bandwidth, and fill your hard drive with MEGS of stuff you'll never read, or that will have changed by the time you get back to read it (and again, since it's cached, you may not be reading the most recent updates).. and some web sites have software that will automatically slow (or stop) your connection if it finds you using this pre-fetching software (ours for example).

Anyway.. below is a list of common browsers, and "Normal" cache settings that will make sure you are "usually" seeing the most common updates.. these show how to clear caches by just limiting how MUCH info is allowed to be stored in your caches, other ways are to simply choose the option to "NOT" cache at ALL (Besides, you don't want someone seeing what you've been looking at on the web do you? It's none of their business!) or you may choose to TIME the cache, for example, "Check my cached copy against the original online version every time I visit this site"

This list will be updated as our member add browsers and methods to this article.. so be SURE to hit your reload/refresh button when you come back to make SURE you see any changes we've made to it ;)

and again, Remember this simple fact: Hitting your "Reload/Refresh Button" (or your F5 Key) Re-downloads a current copy of a page, "No matter what".. giving you the most recent page...


(FireFox's Reload/refresh button, usually Top Left on your browser)

 


(IE's Reload/refresh button, Again, Top Left on your browser)

 


(Netscape's Reload/refresh button, Top Left on your browser - NOTE: Netscape has been discontinued)

BTW, Some trivia, Since I've been on the net since the first days it was open to the public, and ran Old BBS's before that.. if you wonder why Netscape and IE look so similar, it's because they used to be the SAME browser!!! It came on 4 diskettes, and was called "Internet in a box".. the two software programmers had a split, one wanted to sell out (to Microsoft) and the other didn't.. so as of this writing, you have "Netscape" (Update: Netscape has been discontinued; It has Morphed into "Mozilla's FireFox", which is MOST excellent!), and "Internet Explorer" (Microsoft).

(Update: 02 FEB 2010) FireFox 3.5.7
Click "tools" go to "options"
Then Click "advanced" and click the "network" tab
You will see a section called "Cache" Clear the cache and set it to "50"
Now go to the "Privacy" Tab. Put a check mark beside "Clear History when FireFox Closes"
Click "Settings" in that same tab, and then make sure there is a check mark beside "Cache".
Click OK, Then click OK again.
Restart FireFox

FireFox 2.0.0.3
Click "tools" go to "options"
Then Click "advanced" and click the "network" tab
You will see a section called "Cache" Clear the cache and set it too "50" and click ok.
Restart firefox

Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.11
click [TOOLS]->[Internet Options]

When the menu appears:
Click the [GENERAL] Tab
Locate "Browsing History" and click [SETTINGS]
A New window will open "Temorary Internet Files"
Now locate "Check for newer versions of stored pages" under that click the radio button for [Every time I visit the webpage]
Then lower your "Disk Space to use" to "50" and click "ok" and "ok" again then restart internet explore

Netscape 7.X on a broadband connect (Discontinued)
"Edit" --> "Preferences" --> "Advanced" --> "Cache"
"Cache: 20MB" and then click "Clear Cache"
"Compare the page in the cache to the page on the network:"
"Every time" (a bit slower loading, but if you go back to a page before rebooting your computer, it will pick up any changes made in the few minutes or so)
or
"Once per session" (OK for most users that shut down their computer every day)

Click "OK"
Warlord & Bigunwhistle & Others



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