How and why should you clear your browser’s cache?

When we cannot log in to a website like Facebook, or a specific page won’t load, we were told to clean out our cache. But what does that mean, what difference does it make, and how do you do it?

Why should you be clearing out your cache?

Your web browser, whether you are using your desktop or phone, holds large information about the sites you visit, helping to speed up page-loading times, and also the reason why Google and Facebook, among others, know which ads suits you best.

However, over time these old records can cause problems bringing up web pages because your browser might be bringing up old versions of the site for you, based on your saved cache and old passwords. Regularly deleting your cache, cookies and history usually resets this. Your logs and website data may also contain sensitive information like your credit card information that hackers can steal.

Chrome

First, copy and paste chrome://settings/clearBrowserData into your address bar to get to the right page, or press Ctrl-Shift-Delete if you are using a computer.

Then, tick the following boxes, if they’re not yet checked:

Browsing history
Download history
Cookies and other site and plug-in data
Cached images and files
And, click ‘Clear browsing data’

And you’re done!

Safari

To locate the right menu, you can press Command-Shift-Delete. Alternatively, click on the Safari menu, then Clear History and Website Data – depending on your version of Safari, you might see a little different text.

Next, select the time range of web pages you want to delete, then click ‘Clear History.

Finally, go to the Safari menu, and press Quit Safari to close the browser. The new browser you will open up will have a cleared cache. Head on to a new start!

Firefox

Go to the History menu and click on Clear Recent History. If you cannot see the menu bar, it must be hidden; Press Alt on the keyboard to make it appear. (You can use alt on other programs like Word to see hidden menus)

Be warned though that clearing your cache goes together with logging you out of any sites you’re logged in to, meaning you’ll have to key in your passwords again when you next visit sites like Facebook, Twitter and Gmail. This may also clear out your saved passwords and auto-fill out forms.

It might also remove address bar predictions and delete any shopping cart contents.