What Exactly Is “Cache” or “Browser Cache”?
Every modern web browser these days has a ‘cache’. So what is a web browser’s cache? Well first, it’s pronounced ‘cash’ (for those who don’t know), and it’s is a collection of web pages, including but not limited to: text, images, and most other media contained on them. All copy of these things are stored on your computer’s local hard drive, and/or phone’s internal storage.
WHY? This one is pretty simple actually. Having a local copy of the web pages you visit the most can make for a much faster loading time on your next visit. This is because every time your device visits a web page, it has to download all those things we mentioned earlier. By caching web pages you visit frequently, your computer or device doesn’t have to download from the internet all of that same information again. Pretty smart, right?
The real question we are asking here, is why would we ever have to clear it, and how exactly do we do that?
Why Do You Have to Clear Your Browser Cache?
You don’t have to clear it. However, there is main common use for clearing your cache.
Just think about what we said caching is. It’s saving the all the text, media, files etc from pages you visit the most frequently… So clearing that all away would mean that clearing your web browser’s cache would then force your browser to retrieve the newest copy available from the website. In most modern web browsers, all web pages that you visit should periodically update within the cache, but just keep in mind this doesn’t always work correctly. Sometimes the cache doesn’t update and you are stuck viewing an older version of the website, when it’s already been updated. This is probably the most common instance where you would clear your web browser cache.
Regardless of why you might want to do it, clearing your cache is really easy to do in all the popular browsers in use today.
Google Chrome: Clear Browsing Data
In Google Chrome, clearing the web browser cache is done via the “Settings > Clear browsing data”. To get there, click the Menu button (the icon with three stacked dots) > More Tools > Clear browsing data. Next, you need to check Cached images and files (and any other options) and then tap or click the CLEAR BROWSING DATA button. This should now clear everything you checked.
Note: Make sure you choose which time period you are clearing your cache for. You can choose from the beginning of time, or just for the last few hours.
On Google Chrome Mobile: Go to Settings and then Privacy. From there, choose Clear Browsing Data. Check Cached Images and Files and press the Clear Browsing Data button once, and then again.
Microsoft Internet Explorer: Delete Browsing History
Microsoft Internet Explorer aka “IE” is the browser that comes pre-installed on every Windows computers.
Like with other popular browsers, the fastest way to the Delete Browsing History settings is via the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut. However, if you don’t have a computer, this isn’t useful.
You can also access it by clicking the Tools button (the gear icon), then Safety, and finally Delete browsing history….
Make sure to check Temporary Internet files and website files, and last click or tap Delete.
Note: IE often refers to the cache as just “temporary internet files”. They are the same thing.
Microsoft Edge: Clear Browsing Data
Newer versions of Windows computers come with Microsoft’s Edge browser, instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
To clear the cache, click the More button (that little icon with three horizontal dots), then Settings, and then click the “Choose what to clear” button under the Clear browsing data heading. Make sure to check Cached data and files, and then click Clear.
Note: Click Show more while in the Clear browsing data menu for additional items you can erase while clearing cached files and images.
Mozilla Firefox: Clear All History
To clear your web browser cache in Mozilla Firefox, click the Firefox’s Menu button (the three-lined “hamburger” button) via Options, then click on Privacy, and finally click on the clear your recent history link.
Once there, check Cache, and then click Clear Now.
Note: Don’t forget to choose Everything from the Time range to clear set of options.
Apple Safari: Empty Caches
With a keyboard, clearing the cache in Safari is super easy with the Option-Command-E shortcut.
Otherwise you can simply just click Develop, and then Empty Caches.
Tip: If you don’t see Develop on your Safari menu bar, enable it via Preferences > Advanced > Show Develop menu in the menu bar option. Windows users who have Apple Safari installed can delete all of Safari’s stored data through the menu button > Preferences… > Privacy > Remove All Website Data
Opera: Clear Browsing Data
Click Menu > More tools > Clear browsing data.
Make sure to check Cached images and files, and then click Clear browsing data.
Note: If you want to clear your entire cache complete, make sure to choose the beginning of time option from the “Obliterate the following items from:” section at the top.
And there you have it!
If you have a browser that wasn’t listed here, feel free to contact us for assistance clearing your cache!