What is “cache” and why do I need to clear it?

You don’t see any changes on your website?

If a web developer is building a new website for you, you probably experienced that some changes had been made by the developer, but when you load the website you can’t see the changes. If you visit other web pages you normally don’t notice this problem, because as a visitor you don’t know that any backend changes, like a new logo, are being made on another website. But if it’s your own website, you might wonder why changes are not visible yet. Most likely you will need to clear your browser cache.

What is “cache” anyways?

In computer-speak, cache is a place where data is stored temporarily. As a user, you already use it when using most web browsers. When you open a website, some of its contents are saved on your computer. As a website visitor, you don’t notice this process, because the saving is done in the background. As a result, this enables faster rendering and shorter loading times for the website you are visiting. The data which is stored in the cache are normally shared assets, like HTML files, stylesheets, images, etc. This is especially important because if you navigate several pages on a website, the browser does not have to download all the data again (logo, styles, etc.) but gets the required files from the cache. The browser does a high-level comparison to what has (or has not) been changed since the last visit, so that only new files are downloaded.

Why should you clear the cache…?

The cache should be cleared regularly for several reasons. Depending on your settings, the cache can grow quite large and use disk space. The more information that is saved in the cache, the slower your computer will be browsing the web.

Most likey you are working with a web developer and you are not seeing the updates to your site. By deleting the stored data form cache, the new version will be retrieved from the webserver. In many website related issues, the cache is the root of all evil. That’s why your web developer/web designer or IT-Support first asks you to clear the cache before investigating further.

Browser specific instructions to clear cache are below.

Please select your browser: