The answer is pretty easy so I usually just wrote and answered in the email. While going through my notebook of possible topics, this one came up as one that is asked about a fair amount so I thought I'd write up a quick tutorial.
The trick to reloading the page is to force the browser to not look into the cache, but rather to again make a connection to the Web and bring up the document from the server. Most people know it can be done by hand by holding the shift key and clicking the "Refresh" (on IE) or "Reload" (on Navigator) buttons. If you didn't know...now you do.
That's a proven method but it's not exactly very pretty to have text asking the user to hold and click. You want your site to do the trick either by itself, or by offering a method whereas the user simply clicks and the browser does it for them.
Below I have two methods. One will reload every so many second all on its own and the other will reload when the user asks for it.
I've seen this done a number of ways, but this is my favorite because it, again, forces the browser to load from the server. It is true that pages can become cached if they are reloaded a great many times, but I have had pretty good success with this. Try it:
And the code:
<INPUT TYPE="button" onClick="history.go(0)" VALUE="Refresh">
Use the Full URL?
Again, it's possible that a page using the methods shown above can get cached and can stop reloading from the server. A Webmaster friend told me that if you simply set up a link to the current page but use the entire URL, the page would always reload from the server because the request starts at the domain. For example, the full URL of this page is:
<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="5; URL=http://www.neox.in">
Again, the effect is the same as you'll get with the code above. It just lowers the chance of the page getting stuck in cache.