What’s Cache? Why Do I Have to Clear It?

What’s Cache? Why Do I Have to Clear It?

May 14th, 2024

Cache, pronounced like the slang for American currency or the famous country music singer, is a storage spot on your computer or web browser that saves bits of information from websites you visit, like images or website layouts. This storage means the next time you visit the same website, it loads faster because your browser has saved some of the information, so you don’t have to download the entire webpage again. But, your web browser cache can become cluttered with too much old data, slowing things down instead of speeding them up.

Clearing your cache is akin to a cleaning of your digital space. It ensures your website looks its best by loading the most up-to-date content and running smoothly for anyone who stops by. Plus, it helps protect your privacy by removing stored data that could be sensitive. While “cache” may sound technical, clearing it is a simple yet essential step for speedy and safe internet browsing. Think of it as regular housekeeping for your internet browser. There are a couple of options.

Hard Refresh To Clear Cache

A hard refresh is a shortcut. It’s less thorough but takes less time. A hard refresh consists of striking a series of keys at the same time. On most operating systems, command+shift+R or control+F5 will do the trick. This link will take you to a hard refresh guide by browser.

A hard refresh only refreshes a specific web page. For example, a web developer is revising your website’s home page design. You go to review it, and you don’t see any changes. The web developer may tell you to “hard refresh” to clear your cache. If you’re on a Mac, hit command+shift+R, and the updated home page design will appear.

Hard refreshes are best for smaller tasks. They can improve performance and don’t log you out of commonly visited websites, which can be a pain to re-enter all those passwords. Think of a hard refresh as more of a reload to view the most recent version of a web page.

Clearing Browser Cache

Clearing the browser cache is more complex. Each browser is slightly different from the others.

Typically, the steps are:

  • Go to Settings
  • Find Option to Clear Browsing Data/Cache
  • Select Types to Clear (cookies or images or both)
  • Choose the Time Frame to Clear (last week, last month, or everything)

Here’s a link to clearing the cache for each browser.

By clearing the browser cache, you are removing all cookies, images, and other saved items. Consider it a deep clean of your website. Clearing a web browser’s cache regularly provides the following advantages:

1. Improve Performance: Regularly clearing the cache can help your browser run more smoothly. Over time, cached files can become cluttered and outdated, which may slow down browser performance and page loading times.

2. Update Content: Clearing the cache ensures you view the most recent version of a web page. Sometimes, browsers load stored versions from the cache, which might not include the latest updates to the site.

3. Troubleshooting: Clearing the cache can resolve issues with web pages that display improperly or behave erratically. It removes any potentially corrupted files that could be causing the problem.

4. Privacy and Security: Clearing the cache can enhance your privacy, as it removes saved data that might include sensitive information like passwords, addresses, and browsing history. This practice is critical when using shared or public computers.

5. Storage Space: Your device’s cache can occupy significant storage space. Regular cleaning helps manage storage effectively, especially on devices with limited space.

What About Mobile?

Yes, clearing the mobile cache is separate from clearing the cache on your desktop. Since mobile devices have less storage than desktops, and most people use their mobile phones more than desktops when surfing the internet, your mobile cache should be cleared more often. Clearing mobile cache has similar procedures for iPhone and Android:

  • Open Settings and select General.
  • Go to Storage
  • Select your browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.)
  • Select Website Data
  • Select Remove All Website Data

For complete instructions on clearing cache on mobile devices, see this link.

Regularly clearing your cache on mobile devices and desktops ensures that you’re viewing the most current version of websites, protecting your privacy, and managing your device’s storage effectively. Remember, a well-maintained cache is like a well-maintained home – organized, efficient, and safe. Regularly incorporate cache clearing into your digital routine to ensure a fast, precise, and secure browsing experience.

If you have questions about website development or digital marketing, please get in touch with us at Power Marketing