How to Clear Browser Cache and History (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
While the efficient use of caching can help speed up a website, the cache might also cause problems with accessing a site. Therefore, it is essential to know how to clear a browser cache.
With this in mind, we will explain what a browser cache is and how to clear it using three major browsers. We will also dive deeper into the importance of clearing your website cache.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Why Should You Clear Browser Cache and History
When you use a browser, it saves some website data in your cache, cookies, and internet browsing history.
A cache itself saves files like code, images, and fonts when you visit a website. It does this to avoid repeatedly downloading the same files when you revisit the site.
Caching website data allows the browser to load sites faster and helps fix errors like loading or formatting issues. These problems typically happen due to a discrepancy between newly updated site data and the cached data available on your device.
Website owners can also use the caching mechanism to boost their website performance and improve user satisfaction.
For example, if you run a WordPress website, you can use a caching plugin to create a static version of your site to show users when they revisit it. To help save time and reduce website maintenance costs, use free WordPress caching plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache.
Cookies also save website data, but they are bits of information about user choices and characteristics. When you delete cookies, you reduce the number of sites tracking your data, clear saved passwords, and decrease the amount of personalized content you see.
In addition to cache and cookies, you can also clear history. The browsing history saves a list of your visited web pages. To clear history means to prevent people from viewing the sites you visited.
Therefore, when you clear browsing data like history, cache, and cookies, you improve web security and site performance.
How to Clear Browser Cache in Different Browsers
All browsers provide users with a way to clear the cache and other site data, but the methods may slightly differ.
In this section, we will walk you through the steps to clear a browser cache in three popular browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
Clearing the Browser Cache in Google Chrome
1. Open Chrome on your computer and click the vertical ellipsis at the upper right corner of the screen.
2. Navigate to the More tools menu option and select Clear browsing data.
3. Once the Clear browsing data window appears, pick a time frame from the drop-down menu. Note that an All time option clears your entire browsing history, cookies, and cached files.
4. Check or uncheck boxes based on what you want to clear. Options include Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files. In the following example, we only checked the box to remove all cached images and files.
5. Click Clear data.
Clearing the Browser Cache in Mozilla Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox on your computer and click the three horizontal lines at the upper right corner of the screen.
2. Select Settings.
3. Click on the Privacy & Security panel.
4. Scroll down to the Cookies and Site Data section and click Clear Data…
5. Check both the Cookies and Site Data and Cached Web Content boxes to clear both, or choose one to clear only the cache or cookies, as shown below.
6. Click the Clear button to delete the Firefox cache.
Clearing the Browser Cache in Safari
1. Click the Safari menu tab from the bar on top of the screen and select Preferences…
2. Once the pop-up window appears, click on Advanced.
3. Check the Show Develop menu in menu bar box.
4. Click on the Develop tab on the Safari menu bar at the top of the screen and select Empty Caches.
Caching allows the browser to save some temporary internet files upon a user’s first visit to a specific site. As a result, the page loads faster the next time the user accesses the same website.
Clearing your browser cache can also fix loading or formatting errors, which may occur when there is a difference between newly updated site data and cached data on the visitor’s device. In addition, clearing other site data like cookies and history can help improve web security as it prevents others from using your login info, seeing the sites you visited, and viewing the files you downloaded.
Every browser provides the option to clear cache and other site data in its settings menu, but ways to do so may differ slightly across browsers. Make sure to follow the correct steps according to the chosen browser.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about clearing the browser cache. Good luck!
Learn More About Website Maintenance
How to Clear Cache FAQ
In this section, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about how to clear the web browser cache.
What Is Cached Data?
The cache is a temporary storage location in a device. Cached data is the collection of site files and scripts saved within the cache. Whenever you visit a website for the first time, the browser sends a request to the corresponding server and saves the site files as cached data.
Is Clearing Cache Safe?
Yes, it is. The cache only stores non-essential browsing data, which won’t affect the browser’s functionality negatively. Clearing it will only free storage space and make sites load slower the first time you visit them since the browser can’t retrieve local resources.
How Often Should You Clear Cache?
It depends on how often and how long you browse the internet. If daily and a lot, it’s better to clear your cache after each browsing session or every 24 hours. If you use it less often, clearing the cache every month or two will be enough.