How to clear your browser cache
It may not sound like the most thrilling of tasks, but knowing how to clear your cache really comes in handy when it comes to solving problems on your website. Often when changes are made – whether it’s a backend technical update or a visible design change – you may find that it doesn’t show up immediately on your machine. That’s not because it hasn’t taken effect, but because your cache is showing you an older version of your website.
This is because old files are stored in your browser’s cache. To quickly clarify, your website cache is not your browsing history, nor is it your cookies.
People have a tendency to group them all together, and while it’s true that they’re related, they all serve very different functions.
Your browser’s cache stores information about websites, like images or files, so it doesn’t have to keep retrieving the data every time you visit.
Cookies typically store your user-specific information, including the information from online forms, shopping cart contents, or even authentication data.
Your browser history is simply the log of websites you visit. Many browsers are set to auto-clear this information after a specific period of time, but be sure to check your browser’s settings for exact details.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s clear your cache!
How to clear your cache
You’ll be glad to hear that clearing your cache is quite a straightforward process, but it varies slightly depending on what browser you’re using. We’ve included instructions for each of them below!
- Start by opening the application. Once it’s open, go to the top left of your screen and go to the “Safari” tab (next to the Apple icon on your Mac) and select Preferences.
- Click onto the Advanced tab.
- At the bottom there’s a tick box, which says, “Show Develop menu in menu bar” box — select it.
- Then go to the Develop Menu at the very top of your screen.
- Scroll down to “Empty Caches” and select it. Alternatively, you can type the short key — ⌥⌘E.
There won’t be any pop-up notification or update to tell you so, but rest assured that’s all it takes until you’re done!
If you’re using Chrome, there are a few ways you can do this. We’ll list the two main ways here. The first way will be the fastest and easiest for most users, whereas the second process works for Mac users only.
- Start by opening the application.
- Then type (or copy and paste) chrome://settings/clearBrowserData into the search bar.
- That’s it! (Easy, right?)
- For Mac users, simply go to “Chrome” at the top of your screen and select “Clear Browsing Data”. Alternatively, once you open the browser you can use the shortcode keys ⇧(Shift), ⌘(command), and ⌫(backspace).
- Once the menu is open, simply uncheck browsing history, uncheck cookies, and be sure “Cached images and files” is selected.
- Then click “clear data”.
- Open Firefox.
- Click the menu button and select Preferences.
- Go to the Privacy and Security panel.
- Once you’re in the Cookies and Site Data Selection, you’ll need to select “Clear Data”.
- This should open up a separate window. From here you should have two tick box options. Make sure the box next to cookies and site data is unselected. Also, make sure the box next to “Cached Web Content” is selected.
- Hit the clear button.
And that’s it!
Internet Explorer 11
Use the keyboard shortcut
- Press the Control, Shift, and Delete keys together.
- Pop-up window will open called “Delete Browser History”.
- Be sure the only tick box selected is “Temporary Internet files and website files”.
- Click the “Delete” button at the bottom of the window.
Use the window menu
- Click Tools (cog) button in the upper right hand corner of your browser.
- Point your curser to “Safety” and then select “Delete browsing history”.
- Tick the check box next to “Temporary Internet files and website files” and untick all others.
- Click “Delete” at the bottom of the window.
Benefits of clearing your cache
As we’ve previously discussed, there are many benefits to clearing your cache. To summarise, regularly clearing your cache means:
- Your browser stays up to date with the web’s latest changes
- You’ll experience fewer bugs
- Your browser will maintain consistent loading times
- You’ll enjoy an overall better online experience.
Another large benefit of clearing your cache regularly is that you’ll likely experience fewer login issues on all websites you visit, no matter how frequently or infrequently you use them.
And last but not least: privacy! Since the cache stores images and data from websites you visit, it also stores a bit of your browsing history. If you’re looking to clear your browsing history, then it’s important to make sure you also clear the cache.
Generally, if you’re experiencing issues or bugs on a particular website, including your own, we always recommend you start by clearing your cache. You might be surprised how often this simple measure solves the problem!
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