Why clear the browser's cache?

The first time you visit a site, your browser will save some of the files necessary to display the site. The browser stores those files in its cache. Saving those files allows the browser to display the site faster the next time you visit; instead of downloading those files from a server every time the site is loaded, it can quickly pull them from the cache on your computer.

Websites, however, are constantly updated. After an updated, your browser may try to display an old, outdated file from its cached — but, since the website was updated, that file no longer exists or was changed.

Someetimes, this may result in seeing an outdated version of the site. Other times, you may encounter browser errors like run time errors, elements missing on the page, being unable to open or save an incident,  etc. Clearing the cache helps fix these issues.

Most of the time, your browser is able to clear its cache on its own. But, manually clearing the cache can resolve some of those errors. Here's how to clear the cache for the most common browsers.

Google Chrome

  • On your computer, open Chrome
  • On your browser toolbar, click More Tools Clear Browsing Data.
  • In the "Clear browsing data" box, click the checkboxes for Cached images and files and Cookies and other site data.
    • Make sure to uncheck the boxes for the other categories, especially Passwords. Leaving this checked will delete all saved passwords.
  • Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything.
  • Click Clear browsing data.
  • Close the browser and then relaunch it.

Mozilla Firefox

  • Click the menu button and choose Options.
  • Select Privacy & Security from the side panel.
  • In the Cached Web Content section, click Clear Now.
  • Close the page. Any changes made will automatically be saved.

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the gear wheel in the top right corner
  • Click on Safety in the menu
  • Click on Delete browsing history in the submenu
  • Select Temporary Internet files and website files from the list
  • Click on Delete
  • On the bottom of the page the browser notifies you when the browser cache is cleared

Apple Safari

  • The Developer menu must first be activated: Select Safari > Preferences
  • Click the Advanced icon
  • Put a tick alongside Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar. (This option is right at the bottom.)
  • A new Develop menu option appears to the left of the Window and Help menu options
  • Close any open Safari windows
  • Select Empty Caches on the Develop menu.
  • Click File > New Window to start Safari with a clean cache.