I just became a victim of a web site testing "gotcha" that I have not seen before - maybe it is worth making this more widely known. Or at least you can sympathise/enjoy the joke at my expense.
A new website is just about to go live. Yesterday I emailed the developer about one last mistake. Time is of the essence now, so she emails me back quickly saying she has fixed it, and could I please check it so that she can go live.
So I clear my cache and go and look. No, it is not fixed. I email the developer, and also CC a colleague in head office. The head office colleague then phones me to say that when he looks at the page, the mistake IS fixed. We try to work out how we could be seeing different versions of the same page:
He checks that his cache is cleared too.
I check on another computer on my network - and I still see the page with a mistake in it.
He asks a colleague to look at the site - she sees the corrected page.
We discuss how we woudl understand it if I could see the fixed page and he could not (as opposed to the other way around) - we'd assume that he is looking at a page cached on his company's server (my small network is simply a wireless router on the end of an NTL cable modem). Boy are we close here, but we don't quite realise the nature of the problem at this point.
We decide that it would be useful to ask someone else to look at the page over the Internet without having to go via the company server. Colleague's wife is phoned and obliges. She can see the corrected page, and has also seen this problem before. What we have overlooked is that my ISP may have been caching pages on their servers.
Ah ha! (or possibly Doh!). I experiment by viewing the page over my dial-up connection (which is a different ISP). And horray, I can see the corrected page and we feel it is OK to go live now.
Phew. I have not seen that one before.
What do you think - is this a useful one to bear in mind, or does "every fule no" this (except me).
As far as I know there is no way I can do anything about what my ISP caches and how long they keep it, I just have to wait for them to reload the page, or rely on having a second, backup ISP (which I like to do anyway so that I am not completely cut off from the Internet if my primary ISP goes down).