Web Development

Difference between F5 and Shift F5 (Ctrl F5)

By Mary, on February 24, 2021, updated on November 29, 2022 - dev - 2 min read

If you are like me, as soon as a web page loads badly, I become a compulsive refresh user by pressing F5 or Shift F5 (Ctrl FR or Ctrl+r or Ctrl+Shift+r).

But what is the difference between these 2 actions? What happens in the browser when you do either combination, F5 or Shift F5 (Ctrl F5)?

[Solved] F5 and Shift + F5 (or Ctrl F5)

This is what the Google Chrome browser help says (here):

F5 and Shift + F5

The classic reload: F5

This action reloads the page, taking the page cache into account, i.e. we often reload the same page, the one cached (text, images, javascript files, …).

Depending on the expiry of the cache, you may not get the same page. If the cache has expired, a new page will be reloaded. If an element of the page has its cache expired, this element will be reloaded.

Other shortcut: Ctrl + r

What does shift f5 (ctrl F5) do: forced reload

This action forces the page to reload regardless of the cached content by retrieving a completely reloaded page. This action retrieves the most recent content of the page visited.

This is generally slower than a simple refresh (F5), as the data is not directly retrieved from the cache.

If you are in the situation where an element of the page has not loaded, an image for example, the simplest way is to do the combination Shift + F5.

Other shortcuts: Ctrl + Shift + r or Ctrl + F5.

On Mac and Apple: Apple + R or Command + R

This operation is the same on most modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Brave, Edge, …).

Ctrl f5 vs Shift F5 ?

There is no difference between the use of these two shortcuts.

Delete the cache

Shift + F5 or Ctrl F5 does not delete the cache, but ignores it.

To clear the cache, you need to open the option to clear the browser’s cache, via the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Delete (or Ctrl + Shift + Del).

You will get a window similar to this one, here the Opera browser, where you will choose the items you want to remove from the cache:

opera cache delete

Warning: by deleting some cookies, you will be disconnected from some tools (Gmail, …).

As you are here, take a look at this video. It's our future. It concerns us all.