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I have disputed a domain name to a cybersquatter that I expect to recover soon. The problem is that the cybersquatter has changed the cache headers and now every user who already visited the site or is going to visit the site until the domain name is given back, can see the same page until 2016.

A lot of the traffic of the site comes from Google, I will fix that by moving the domain with Error 301 and the webmasters tools. But how about those users who access directly to the site? Is there any way (I guess not) to break the client's cache settings (even the homepage is cached)?

Thank you!

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Browser usually has limited cache (even with automatic cache management in some browsers, they limit it to 1 GB or so). Most users will have much smaller cache which means older page will be removed from cache quicker (unless user visits that website very often -- like everyday or so). In vast majority of situations pages are only cached for a duration of session (until browser restarts) while images/css/js are cached for much longer periods. This means that you have very good chances that visitor will request fresh page pretty much all the time .. or at least within few days. – LazyOne Sep 12 '11 at 16:03
Thanks for your answer. In my case for example I am visiting the page quite often, the cybersquatter deleted the cache-control headers (not sure why) and despite of that the page is still cached by my Firefox browser since August 28 – Batolopo Sep 12 '11 at 22:36

Can server break clients' cache settings?

Not with HyperText Transfer Protocol - the client always has the option to clear his or her cache and or otherwise ignore the Expires/max-age value and force a new request.

Is there any way (I guess not) to break the client's cache settings (even the homepage is cached)?

HTTP clients (I tested with FireFox) should ignore Expires/max-age cache headers when the domain name points to a new server.

Once you are back in control of the domain and the domain's A/AAAA records specify the IPv4/IPv6 address of a server which does not belong to the squatter, it should only be a matter of time (longer than you might like, but less than five years) before clients' cached DNS records are updated, their old cached content is ignored, and their requests return results from your server.

Test process:

  1. Specify IP address of Server #1 for "test.cache.domain" in hosts file
  2. Create virtual host, specify high-value max-age on Server #1
  3. Create virtual host, no cache-control headers on Server #2
  4. Request "test.cache.domain" in browser (review logs on Server #1 to confirm only one request)
  5. Close browser, clear local DNS cache, specify Server #2 IP address for "test.cache.domain" in hosts file
  6. Open browser and request "test.cache.domain" (should show results from Server #2)
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