In the context of Internet browsing, a cache is a temporary storage space where a web browser keeps files that may be useful at a later point. Typically, these files contain web content, such as images, videos, HTML, CSS, and more.
By enabling web browsers to store such files, caches allow frequently accessed data to be retrieved more quickly. Additionally, browser caches eliminate the need to download the data again and again on repeat visits to a web page, which translates to faster load times and a smoother all-around user experience.
What does it mean to clear cache?
Clearing cache means deleting the temporary files that your web browser has downloaded and stored. This clears your browser’s memory of previously visited web pages, meaning that it will be required to download page content again upon the next visit.
Why clear my browser cache?
There are a variety of reasons why you may opt to clear your browser cache. These include the following:
- Improving browser performance: As you visit webpages on the Internet, your browser will gradually accumulate data in the cache, and this can begin to hinder browser performance over time. Clearing your browser’s cache will free up space on your device and help your browser achieve better performance.
- Fixing webpage issues: You may find that certain elements of a webpage, like images, video, or text, are displayed incorrectly or not displayed at all when trying to view them with your browser. This can occur as a result of corrupted or outdated cache files, but clearing your cache will delete those files. This will prompt your browser to download new, up-to-date files, which will enable it to display those web pages correctly.
- Safeguarding data: The files in your browser cache might contain information that you consider sensitive. Clearing your cache will delete these files, ensuring that your sensitive data can’t end up in the wrong hands.
How do I clear my browser cache?
Clearing your cache is a relatively simple task that can be done through your browser settings. Depending on your preferred browser, the exact steps to do this may differ slightly, but we will three of the most popular options as examples here:
How to clear cache on Google Chrome
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner of your screen to open the browser menu.
- Go to “More tools” and click “Clear browsing data” in the drop-down menu.
- Select a time range and data types to delete, then click “Clear data”.
How to clear cache on Firefox
- Click on the three lines in the top right corner of your screen to open the browser menu, then click “Settings”.
- On the settings page, click “Privacy and Security” on the left side of the screen.
- Scroll down to the “Cookies and Site Data” section and click “Clear Data”.
- Select “Cached Web Content, then click “Clear”.
How to clear cache on Microsoft Edge
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner of your screen to open the browser menu, then click “Settings”.
- On the settings page, click “Privacy, search, and services” on the left side of the screen.
- Scroll down to the section labeled “Clear browsing data” and click “Choose what to clear”.
- Select “Cached images and files”, then click “Clear now”.
The cache is a storage space for temporary web files. It allows your browser to keep frequently required information and resources readily accessible. While the cache generally enables shorter load times and smoother browsing, it can also contribute to performance problems on occasion. As such it’s generally advisable to clear your cache periodically for an optimal browsing experience.