Refreshing a page does not always truly refresh the page. If you click on the refresh button, or press the <F5> key, you will refresh the page but it is common for some browsers to use a cached version of the page. This is a soft refresh.

A hard refresh is the name for the method used to force the browser to go back to the web site and “fetch” the page (and data) again. This is accomplished very easily. The first method is by pressing the <Shift> and clicking on the refresh button at the same time. The second method, my preferred one, is pressing the <Ctrl> key and the <F5> key at the same time. These are the PC methods.

To perform a hard refresh using Apple‘s MacOS: hold down the <Option> key and click the refresh button.

Now, the question still remains, why hard or soft refresh? My simplest explanation would be to insure I am looking at the most up-to-date version of a web page. If I am not certain after a soft refresh, then a hard refresh will clear that up.