Why You Should Clear Browser Cache
By Leo Notenboom
What’s a browser cache? How do I clear it? Why would I want to?–PC Pitstop
“Clear your browser’s cache” is the first response that tech people often give if you encounter web page problems. We’ll look at why that is and how to clear the cache.
The browser cache comes up in more of my answers than questions, but when I recommend it, the direction probably causes even more questions. Even when following instructions to empty the cache, many people aren’t clear on what this piece of magic really is and why clearing the cache would do anything at all.
Let’s review the browser cache, what it is, and why it exists. Along the way, we’ll review the steps to clear it in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, and try to dream up some reasons why that sometimes helps.
What’s a browser cache?
The browser cache exists because of a basic assumption made by the folks who design browsers: the internet is slow. Perhaps more correctly, your internet connection is slower than your computer.
What that means is that it’s faster to get something to display from your hard disk than it is to get it by downloading it from the internet. Even with today’s faster internet speeds, that still holds very true.
When current browsers were designed, people noticed that many web pages contained the same elements and many sites had these all over their pages. For example, if you look at this page, you’ll see a logo at the top. It’s actually at the top of every page on this site. So the thinking was why download the same logo for every page? Why not just download it once and then keep it so we can use it again?
This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.
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