I understand that Ctrl + Refresh fetches fresh content from browser without reading the cache. Then what is Ctrl + Shift + Refresh for?

Ctrl + Refresh request header are like this:

Cache-Control : max-age=0

for Ctrl + Shift + Refresh

Pragma : no-cache <br>
Cache-Control : no-cache

What is the real difference?

  • 4
    What browser are you using? Ctrl+Shift+F5 does nothing in both Firefox 3.5 or IE 6.
    – mlevit
    Aug 3, 2009 at 4:20
  • 2
    I always thought CTRL+SHIFT+REFRESH was a gimmick programmers told their clients...
    – user2980
    Aug 3, 2009 at 4:45
  • @user2980 well you're wrong :)
    – RomanSt
    Sep 8, 2011 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


Both are identical to the browser on the local machine. The headers you mentioned are the only difference.

The Ctrl+Refresh header means that any caching servers along the way should return a fresh copy of the page.

The Ctrl+Shift+Refresh headers mean that any caching servers along the way should return a fresh copy of the page, and should also not cache the page for any future requests. In other words, the next time the page is requested, it should either use a previous cache of the page or request a fresh copy, but should not use this one.

Pragma: no-cache is the HTTP 1.0 version of Cache-Control: no-cache. There is no HTTP 1.0 equivalent to Cache-Control: max-age=0.

RFC2616 section 14 subsection 9 has relevant information: w3c.org: RFC2616 sec 14.9.1


There is another difference, and a big one at that.

When you hit Ctrl+Refresh, for every cached object that has a Last-Modified or ETag header, the browser will issue a request with an If-Modified-Since or If-None-Match header. The server may then choose to respond with a 304 Not Modified, without re-sending any data (assuming the data is, in fact, not modified).

When you hit Ctrl+Shift+Refresh, the browser won't issue such conditional If-* headers, leaving the server no option but to send the data again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.