Even after working at a web design company for a couple of years, I’m still not exactly what people would call “technologically gifted.” After all I still use a Mac in my own time, which is a cardinal sin around these parts. I have also been known to stare vacantly at my computer screen and mumble “What’s it doing? Why is it doing that?” However I have picked up on a couple of sneaky tricks which I use constantly at work that have saved me countless headaches. If you have a website and dislike headaches, you need to know them too!
CTRL+F Keyboard Shortcut
Let’s start with an easy one. If you need to find a specific word or phrase on a page, just hit the CTRL + F keys on the keyboard. A little box will appear in the top right of the page, and you can type in what you’re looking for there. It will highlight the word or phrase on the page – boom, you will never need to scroll through long website pages looking for a certain piece of information ever again. For my fellow Mac users, that’s Command + F for the same effect.
Ctrl+F5 Keyboard Shortcut
This is a trick that some people in our office like to call the ‘super refresh.’ When simply hitting the refresh button on a page to reload it is not enough, that’s where CTRL + F5 comes in. When you hit these two buttons at once on your keyboard, it forces the page to load from the server rather than the cache. If you want to be sure you are looking at the most up to date version of a website, this is the way to do it. For Mac users, the trick is slightly different – Command + R should do the job.
How to Empty the Cache
Sometimes if significant changes are made to your website (for example if it was moved to a different URL) then hitting CTRL + F5 won’t be enough and you will need to clear the cache. Here is a handy link with step by step instructions on how to that, no matter what browser you use: http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/home/
If you are having technical difficulties viewing a website, one of the first things you’ll be asked to do is clear the cache – so I highly recommend bookmarking that link!
The Wayback Machine
Ever wanted to look at a website but discovered it doesn’t actually exist anymore, or it’s been suspended? Well if you’re lucky, it just might have been archived on this site: http://archive.org/web/ Proof that once something is on the internet, it never really disappears.
You may have experienced the pain of working in an office that has certain websites blocked (cough, Facebook) and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Luckily proxy blockers exist, allowing you to dodge firewalls and look at whatever you like. A couple of free examples are http://www.proxyfoxy.com/ and https://www.hidemyass.com/proxy They can also have a more practical use, as they let you check what your site looks like using a different IP address. So if your IP has been blocked for whatever reason, you now have a way to get around it.
BONUS TIP: Google Is Your Friend!
A lot of people don’t realise they have almost unlimited tech support at their fingertips. Before calling anyone, ALWAYS Google the problem first and 9 times out of 10 you will find something helpful. If you’re experiencing an issue, it’s probably affected a whole bunch of other people too. A quick Google often leads to other people discussing problems on forums like http://whirlpool.net.au/ and even Yahoo Answers can be helpful occasionally.