How to clear your web browser cache and why

I recently called a company, from whom I order regularly as I could no longer log into my account. The advice I received was to “clear out my cache” and call back if that didn’t help. Great advice, pity I didn’t know what my “cache” was or how to clear it out. I only had a vague notion it had something to do with my internet history, so let me tell you what your cache is why you may need to clear it and finally how to clear your cache.

Your cache is more than just the history of where you have been on the internet, when you visit a webpage or website, your computer will remember certain pieces of information. This may be picture files, or data files, the server from the website’s end will determine what information your computer stores and for how long. This may sound terrible but is commonplace for most websites, and is actually done to speed up your experience. There are ways to avoid this happening and we will discuss this a little later.

You may then ask why a company would require you to clear out your cache, the reason is simple. Just as with books and paperwork, there are updates that are required of websites, and companies are continually updating their websites.

When a website updates their site that your computer has some cached information for, you skip the longer process of extracting all the information from the website as some of it already saved in your cache. However, if a company has updated their website, the information that you have saved may no longer be relevant and you may find that you are having trouble accessing some or all of the site.

Clearing your cache means that your computer will now have to retrieve all the information including new information from the website, and thus ensuring you have the most up to date version running on your computer.

It is a little like when a computer person asks you to turn your computer on and off, all this is really doing is, giving your computer time to clear part of its active memory, and then turning it back on allows it to access all the information again, in a clear manner, where any updates are correctly installed.

You may now feel that you do not want your computer to cache information and indeed in your browser (internet) settings. You can achieve this by choosing “Incognito Mode” in Chrome, or “Private Browsing” in other browsers. This mode allows you to browse the internet but no information will be cached and little information about you except your computer will be given to the website you are visiting.

For the most part it is ok to leave your cache running as normal, but if you do need to clear your cache, below is a lots of how to do it for different web browsers:

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