Perhaps one of the most useful, and one of the most misunderstood, aspects of your computer is the device cache. Any time you are having an issue with viewing a website (or if you know that the site has been updated but you cannot see the update), the first thing you should do is clear out your cache.
But what exactly does your cache do? And when and how should you go about clearing it out?
Here’s what you need to know about your device cache:
What is the purpose of your browser cache?
While many people have computers (or smart devices) with very fast processors, many of these devices still crawl slowly when loading websites because of the relatively slow speed of their Internet connection.
When you visit a website, your computer saves data from this site into your cache. The next time you visit the same website, the computer doesn’t have to wait on your Internet connection to pull the data again. Instead, it draws on it from the saved data on your hard drive. The content isn’t necessarily saved to your cache. Instead, things like the logo, template, and page design are saved to make loading next time much easier.
Why should you clear your cache?
When your cache gets full, it recycles data that hasn’t been accessed lately. Then, the next time that data is needed, it has to be downloaded again.
When you visit a website that has been updated or changed dramatically, your browser can get confused. Basically, the data coming from your computer’s cache doesn’t mesh with the data coming from the website and it can cause problems with accessing the site.
If you are developing a website, the same thing can happen. You can make updates and changes to your site, but not see them unless you clear your cache.
How do you clear your cache?
Here are videos that will walk you through how to clear your cache depending on the browser you are using:
- Google Chrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlMldg1SpNY
- Microsoft Internet Explorer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK4kYn9ETgU
- Mozilla Firefox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gytod8qFJK4
- Safari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgLyyPDfpA8
Our computers are a lot like our houses—every so often they require cleaning and maintenance. In order to get the most out of your system, it’s important to do this maintenance including clearing out your browser cache regularly.
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