Tag Archives: Browsers

Someone Told Me “Clear Your Cache (Cash)”, Huh?

I once told one of my customers, “You need to clear your cache.” and she said, “Anne, clearing cash has never been a problem for me!”;-) It was then that I realized that this is not an average term and BTW, cache is the correct spelling. First, what is a cache when we are speaking Geek.

In order to save on network traffic, when you visit a web page, a browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari…) tries to determine if you have visited the page before and, when you have, it will try to determine if there have been any changes to that page since you visited. To do this, it keeps information on your computer about where you visit in your history. In particular, it keeps whole copies of webpages that you have visited on your computer in your “cache”. So if a page has not changed, it will just display the copy of the page that is on your computer from your cache rather than getting it from the host up in the cloud. Most of the time this works great and improves the speed at which you can surf your favorite sites.

There are of course settings preset in a browser for the average web surfer. There are also setting at the hosting service for the website. These settings may work better or worse for your particular surfing habits. For this reason, sometimes, you can get a page with old information on it. If the computer decides you have a current copy on your computer and it turns out you don’t, then you see old information until time or you clear your cache.

This can cause a number of viewing problems. Old prices on a catalog page. Occasionally, if you get an error at a website caused by the website and then the webmaster fixes it, your cache can cause the error to keep happening to you even after it’s fixed. In general, this happens most frequently when you visit a page right before and then again right after a change, but sometimes, it just get’s stuck. Time can heal most wounds but sometimes you just need to clear your cache before you will see a repaired site. Certainly, you will see the fix sooner if you force the cache to clear.

So to be sure you aren’t seeing old information, you can “Clear your cache.” In more recent versions of browsers there are other things that also effect your experience. Browser providers have been adopting the term “Clearing your history.” for all of these things and they provide a Tool to do just that.

Here is how to clear your cache (history) for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari (Windows). If you don’t see menu options we reference like Tools (History for Safari) on the menu at the top of your browser, we can help you with 15 minutes of Live Support. See icon at the left or call if we are offline. We can give you a 15 minute lesson focused on using your browser that will make you much more productive.


Left click Tools | Clear Recent History
In the form that is displayed try Time Range of Last Hour. Check Cache and Clear Now.
Try visiting the page again or if you have the page still open in a tab or window, use the Refresh (icon with little green circling arrows.)

If that doesn’t fix your problem, you can try some of the other check boxes on the form. I find most frequently Active Logins, Offline Website Data, and Site Preferences do no harm to me, but your surfing habits might be different than mine.

Internet Explorer:

Left click Tools | Delete browsing history
On the form displayed make sure Preserve Favorites website data and Temporary Internet files.

If that doesn’t fix your problem, you can try some of the other check boxes on the form. I find History, Download History, and Active X Filtering and Tracking Protection data do no harm to me, but your surfing habits might be different than mine.

Safari (on Windows):

Left click History.
On the form, click Clear.

These instructions are for the most current version of these browsers (January 2013). If you have an older version… Live support. Let us help you get up to date.