Clearing your browser cache is a common phrase, but what does it mean?

12 November 2019
Mark Tuxford
Mark Tuxford

Clearing your browser cache is a common phrase, but what does it mean?

'Caching' is the process of storing data in a temporary storage area. If you look at a webpage, the files are stored and ‘history’ is created in your browser.

Why should you clear your browser cache?

When a site is being built by a developer, clearing your cache will help you see the most recent changes from the last time you viewed the website. This can help prevent confusion when people are viewing different versions of the site. The simple use of CTRL + ⇧ SHIFT + R (or ⌘ CMD + SHIFT + R for Macs) will action a ‘hard refresh’ and display the latest changes and updates. If you're using Internet Explorer you need to hold the CTRL key and click the refresh button at the top.

Why do any caching at all?

Caching a website can often help speed up any subsequent loading of pages. So normally this is beneficial, and recommended after a website is launched.

Improve your experience

Clearing your cache can give you access to the latest features and fixes. Normally developers are able to bypass your cache, but sometimes during development it needs to be manually cleared like this.

Browser Errors

Your cache can cause problems when you use your browser. Sometimes websites can be slow to load or give you error messages, in many cases you simply need to clear your cache to see the latest fixes/changes.

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