When you run into an issue, have you been confused by the guidance to “clear your cache”? Despite sounding like something for which you’ll need to clear your calendar for the afternoon to do, in actuality it’s fairly simple.
What is a Cache and Why Should I Clear It?
In simple terms, a browser cache takes elements from the websites you visit and saves them in a database. The next time you go to a website you’ve visited before, caching results in faster page load times and a better overall user experience. For instance, caching allows you to see the items you’ve left in a shopping cart, retain login credentials and any personalized user preferences (like font size) you’ve input previously.
Most of the time, you won’t even notice browser caching is happening. It runs entirely behind the scenes and usually doesn’t affect your web browsing. However, sometimes the cache might have become corrupted and interfere with a web page’s proper functioning. A simple and effective first diagnostic step when encountering an error is to clear the browser cache. Another reason to clear the cache is if you’re re-visiting a website for a quote, say for a flight, and want to ensure you’re not being pegged as a captive audience, willing to pay a higher rate. In this latter case you can clear your browser cache or alternatively open a new page incognito, instructions for which you can find in our previous post here.
How to Clear Your Browser Cache
Instructions will vary depending on which browser you are using. We’ll cover two of the most popular ones here. When using by far the most popular browser in the world, Google Chrome start by clicking the “three dots” in the top right of your browser window. Then find the More Tools option and select Clear browsing data from the submenu (see image below).
You can change the time frame you’d like cleared. Select the Time Range field, then make your choice from one of the options like the last hour, 24 hours, 7 days (default choice), 4 weeks, or “All time” (not since the dawn of history, at least not yet…).
Hit the blue “Clear data” button (see immediately above, right), and you’re done.
To clear the browser cache for the 2nd most popular (and apparently the fastest) web browser, Safari, the most straightforward way is to go to Safari > Clear History. This will clear your entire browsing history including cookies and website data.
A popup window appears to let you choose a desired timeframe to delete including the last hour, today, today & yesterday, the entire history. Finally, click on the Clear History button to finish.
Now open a new tab on your web browser and go to the desired website, and you should enjoy a fresh start.
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