How To Clear Your Browser Cache

Every time you use your browser, it saves information. Cookies gather data on user preferences and habits, whereas the cache is all about the webpages themselves – a place to store resources from any site visited to ensure future load times will be minimal. Most of the time, the cache optimises your browsing experience, but occasionally it can cause minor glitches and show users out-of-date content. When this starts happening, it’s a good idea to have a cache clear out.

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In this handy guide, we explain why you should clear your cache and how to do so on major browsers.

What is a Cache?

A cache is a storage location that your browser uses to collect and store temporary files and data from web pages. When visiting a web page multiple times, instead of redownloading the page content afresh from a remote server each time you open the website, the locally stored ‘cached’ files on your device will be loaded instead. This dramatically reduces load times and ensures devices run faster and more efficiently. Any content that makes up a website page can be cached, including JavaScript, CSS style sheets, html files, and visual content such as images or videos.

N.B. clearing your cache is different to clearing cookie data. Therefore, when clearing your cache, be wary of the data you are clearing. For example, clearing cookies will log you out of websites (such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and more), so you will have to remember and reenter passwords. To avoid this, ensure the option to clear cookies is not selected.

Benefits of Clearing Your Browser Cache

Frees Up Hard Drive Space
Over time, the cache can collect a lot of data, so clearing it out is likely to free up some space on your hard drive.

Ensures You See Most Recent Version of Web Pages
Clearing the cache deletes locally stores versions of webpages, meaning the next time you visit a site the browser will have to download all content again, ensuring you are seeing the latest version of the webpage. If you’ve recently edited or updated your site and the browser is still showing you the cached version, you won’t be able to see the changes in action.

Helps Maintain Security
Occasionally, malicious files, adware, malware, and viruses can be added to the cache, so clearing it out can make sure nothing untoward is hiding in there.

Can Resolve Browser Issues
Sometimes browsers run into glitches and minor errors. Perhaps it’s slow to load, you keep being served error messages, or it always glitches at a certain point. Sometimes, clearing the cache is an easy way to resolve errors like this. And, even if it doesn’t, it’s a great diagnostic first step.

How To Clear Your Browser Cache

Most browsers allow you to open the menus to clear cache, cookies, and history by hitting Control-Shift-Delete on Windows or Command-Shift-Delete on a Mac. If that doesn’t work, find your browser below and we’ll explain the steps you should follow.

Chrome

1. Open Chrome.
2. At the top right, click More (three dots).

3. Click More Tools, then Clear Browsing Data.

4. At the top, you can either select a time range or delete everything by choosing All Time
5. Check the boxes for Cached Images and Files.

6. Click Clear Data to complete.

Safari

1. Open Safari and click Safari on the menu bar at the top of the screen.

2. Select Preferencesand then the Privacytab.
3. Choose Manage Website Data…

4. Click Remove Alland then Remove Now.

5. Go back to the menu bar at the top of the screen and click Quitto save the changes.

Firefox

1. Open Firefox and click Tools (the three lines in the top right hand corner).

2. Select History.

3. Choose Clear recent history…

4. Select the appropriate timeframe and ensure the relevant boxes under ‘History’ are ticked. Click OK.

Microsoft Edge

1. Select Settings and more, then Settings, and finally Privacy, search, and services.
2. Click Choose what to clear underClear browsing data.
3. Choose a suitable time range and select the data you want to remove.
4. Click Clear data.

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