What happens when I Refresh (F5) my browser?

Did you know that… when you refresh the page on your browser by pressing the F5 key (or by selecting Refresh or Reload in the menus), that the browser simply “re-sends” the last message that was sent to the server of the website you are using?

This means that whatever you last did on the browser, will be repeated.

There are no problems with this when you are just browsing through information pages, but when you are doing something that will cause updates, then that update transaction will be repeated, which can potentially cause problems.


For those who’d like to know more…

Let’s say you are on a site where you have a membership, and you are updating your ‘profile’ information.

If you’ve just clicked the “My Profile” link and then you refresh, it will replay the request to see your profile information, no problems.

If you’ve just updated some information and then you refresh, it will replay the update, which shouldn’t normally cause any problems, as it should just apply the same update, but it does depend on what the update was, and what the consequences of the update were?

However, if you are adding some information and then refresh, you will likely add that same information again, creating duplicates.

So, next time you go to refresh your browser, just have a think about what it is going to do, and consider whether maybe you need to request the information a different way, like clicking on the original link that brought the page to you in the first place?

2 Responses to What happens when I Refresh (F5) my browser?

  1. Krishna January 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Wayne, thanks for sharing this tip with us. Just to clarify, what is the consequence of creating duplicates? Is that because it will slow down the functionality of our site, or does something else happen? Cheers Krishna

    • wayne January 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Krishna,
      it was just to give some sort of example of the consequences of replaying an Add or Insert of something… could be anything, on any type of website.
      The consequence of creating duplicates, is that you will have two (or more) of whatever it is, instead of just one… like refreshing when you are making a payment for something online… you might end up making two payments.

      The main point is that Refresh doesn’t actually “refresh” the page, it replays, or re-actions, whatever you just did to get to that page.

      Cheers, Wayne

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