How To Clear the Cache in Your Browser (Step by Step Guide)

Clear Browser Cache

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A browser cache is a collection of temporary copies or snapshots of a website’s files, images, and code that helps visitors experience a faster load time when they next visit that same website.

Browser caching usually provides a fast and optimal user experience for website visitors, however, there are a few instances when it’s recommended to clear the browser cache periodically.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what a browser cache is, and how you can clear the browser cache in the major browsers like Chrome, Brave, Microsoft edge and more. We’ll also discuss how website owners can proactively enable browser caching on their end to ensure an optimal page speed.

What Is a Browser Cache?

A Browser Cache (pronounced as ‘cash’) is a temporary copy of the elements or assets of a particular website that will be stored on a visitor’s computer, for faster-loading of that website for future visits.

The cache only creates copies of static assets such as:

  • Media (pictures, Logo, pictures, videos, background images, etc).
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

Simply put, it’s just a collection of assets stored on your computer to help display a webpage. It’s always faster to get something from your computer (hard disk) than the internet (due to potential bandwidth and internet speed issues).

When users visit a website, their browser makes a request to that particular website’s remote servers, and that server sends back one or many of the website’s assets to the browser. Some of the static assets (as explained above) are stored on the user’s hard drives.

In many instances, caches are sometimes confused with ‘cookies’.

Cookies track specific information about a user’s web browsing experience such as:

  • The pages you have visited.
  • How many pages have you viewed?
  • How long have you spent on the website?
  • What type of content are you reading?
  • What have you clicked?
  • What’s in your shopping carts, etc.?
  • Your demographic information.

Cookies help the webmaster and advertisers to personalize your experience for that particular website, and also to show you relevant ads.

On the other hand, the browser cache is strictly local, and it’s unique to that particular website you’re visiting. Its main purpose is to help load that particular webpage faster. 

How to Clear Browser Cache?

1. How to Clear Browser Cache in Google Chrome

  1. Click the Customize and Control Google Chrome in the top right-hand corner of the browser window. (the 3-dot menu next to your profile picture).
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Expand Advanced on the left-hand side, and you will see few options.
  4. Click Privacy and Security.
  5. Open Clear Browsing data, and it will open a pop-up.
    • Under Time range Choose the All-Time option.
    • Uncheck Browsing History and Cookies and other site data.
    • Ensure that Cached Images and Files is still checked. It should tell you how much space you will potentially free up by clearing the cache.
    • Click Clear Data. This process will take a few seconds to minutes depending on how big your cache is.
Location of clear cache settings on Google Chrome browser
Clear data options on Google Chrome browser

Google Chrome Shortcut

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Chrome to access the Clear Browsing Data settings.

2. How to Clear Browser Cache in Firefox

  1. Click the 3-line menu in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Go to Options.
  3. Click Privacy & Security on the left-hand side.
  4. It should bring the Browser Privacy options. Scroll to Cookies and Site Data section.
  5. Open Clear Data, and it will open a pop-up.
    • Uncheck Cookies and Site Data.
    • Check Cached Web Content.
    • Click Clear.
Clear browsing data settings on Firefox browser
Clear cached data options on Firefox browser

Firefox Shortcut

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Chrome to access the Clear Browsing Data settings.

3. How to Clear Browser Cache in Microsoft Edge

  1. Click Settings and More (the 3-dot menu) in the top right-hand corner. Alternatively, use the shortcut Alt+F to access settings.
  2. Go to Settings towards the bottom of the browser window.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Privacy and Services.
  4. Under Clear Browsing Data, click the Choose what to clear button.
  5. A pop-up called Clear Browsing Data will open.
    • Under Time range Choose the All-time option.
    • Uncheck Browsing History, Download History, and Cookies and other site data.
    • Ensure that Cached Images and Files are still checked.
    • Click Clear Now.
Location of clear browsing data settings on Microsoft Edge browser
Clear browsing data settings on Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Shortcut

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Chrome to access the Clear Browsing Data settings.

4. How to Clear Browser Cache in Internet Explorer

  1. Click the Settings icon on the top right-hand corner of the browser window..
  2. Go to Internet Options towards the bottom.
  3. On the General tab, you will notice Browsing history.
  4. Click Settings, and it will open a pop-up called Website Data Settings
    • Go to the Caches and databases tab.
    • Choose all the websites listed, and then click Delete to clear the cache.
Clear cache settings on Internet Explorer
Clear caches and database settings on Internet Explorer browser

Internet Explorer Shortcut:

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Internet Explorer to access Delete Browsing History.

Next, check the second option Temporary Internet files and website files.

Then click the Delete button to clear browser cache.

Clear cached data options on Internet Explorer browser

How to Clear Browser Cache in Brave

  1. Click Customize and control brave (the 3-dot menu) in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.. Alternatively, use the shortcut Alt+F to access settings.
  2. Go to Settings towards the bottom.
  3. On the left-hand side, expand Additional Settings.
  4. Click on Privacy and security.
  5. Open Clear Browsing Data and a pop-up will open.
    • Under Time range Choose the All-time option.
    • Uncheck Browsing History and Cookies and other site data.
    • Ensure that Cached Images and Files are still checked.
    • Click Clear data.
Clear cache settings on Brave browser
Clear browsing data settings on Brave browser

Brave Shortcut

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Chrome to access the Clear Browsing Data settings

5. How to Clear Browser Cache In Opera

  1. Click Easy Setup (the 3-line menu) in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. Scroll down to Clear browsing data towards the bottom, and it will take you directly to the Privacy protection settings, and open a pop-up named Clear browsing data.
    • Under Time range Choose the All-time option.
    • Uncheck Browsing History and Cookies and other site data.
    • Ensure that Cached Images and Files is still checked.
    • Click Clear data.
Location of clear browsing data settings on Opera browser
Clear browsing data settings on Opera browser

Opera Shortcut

Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Del on Opera to access the Clear Browsing Data settings

6. How to Clear Browser Cache in Safari

  1. Click the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Go to Preferences towards the bottom, and it will open a pop-up Advanced.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab on the right-hand side.
  4. Check the Show Develop menu in the menu bar. Then close the pop-up.
  5. Open Edit from the top menu, and pick Empty Cache.
  6. A new pop-up will open asking your permission to empty the cache. Click Empty.
Clear browsing data settings on Safari browser
Empty cache settings location on Safari menu bar

Why Do You Need to Clear Your Browser Cache?

  • Hard Disk Hygiene If you’re a heavy internet user and are spending a lot of your time visiting and browsing multiple websites, then your browser cache will continue to increase the size of temporary files in your hard drive. By clearing the browser cache, you will free up hard disk space. You can use cleanup software or eliminate the cache manually via a browser.
  • Speed and Performance You might have occasionally notice that your browser loads slower than usual. You might also be noticing 404 and 502 errors, which is another indication that browser cache is possibly corrupted. If this happens, then one of the first things you can do is to clear the browser cache.
  • Up-to-date Pages Most webmasters update their websites with new design, content, structure, etc. By clearing the browser cache, you will be visiting the most up-to-date version of those webpages.
  • Privacy If and when using a public computer, then others can also view your browsing history and activity. A good practice is to clear your cache and browsing history once you’re done using that particular computer.
  • Security In some cases, malware or adware can infect your computer when you visit certain websites; and many times you don’t know the existence of malware unless it spreads to local files and becomes more severe. A good remedy would be to clear the browser cache.

Wrapping Up

Browser caching is a beneficial process for both the website owner and the visitor.

For visitors, it means using lesser bandwidth and experiencing a faster load time while not sacrificing their user experience.

In this guide, we covered how a visitor can clear their browser cache on all the major browsers (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Brave, Safari, Opera).

What has your experience been with browser caching?

Let us know in the comments below.

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