What is cache?

Cache, when talking about the Internet, is data that is stored by the browser (Explorer, Safari, Firefox or Chrome) so that when you visit a web page the next time it can load faster.

The word ‘cache’ is pronounced like ‘cash money’.

Cache holds copies of data that have been accessed on the Internet recently, such as pictures.

The data is ready to load onto your screen within seconds, so that instead of having to load the pictures from the web page again, they are accessed from the cache which is stored for the browser in your computer.

Accessing, for example, pictures from the cache in the hard drive loads much faster onto the screen than having to access them from a distant web server. Learn how to clear cache on Mac.

Cache is a high-speed access area

In general computing, cache is a high-speed access area that can be a storage device or a reserved section of the main memory.

There are two main cache types:

Memory cache – this is a portion on memory of SRAM (high-speed static RAM). It is effective because the majority of programs access the same instructions or data again and again. By storing as much of this data as possible in SRAM, the computer is saved the more lengthy route of accessing the data in DRAM.

Disk cache – this is RAM built into the disk. It evens out the flow of information between the comparatively slow disk drive and the rest of the computer by accessing data at a much faster speed than it can be written or read from the disk.

Why should I periodically clear my browser cash?

As explained above, the web browser cache is designed to speed up the display of web pages on your screen by loading pictures etc. from the cache rather than having to access them from a distant web server.

However, there is a risk that after a while you will be getting less than current versions of that web page, especially if it undergoes regular changes. Rather than using the new pictures from the webpage’s server, your screen continues to access the old old ones from your cache.

If you think you are not receiving a current version of the current web page, you should clear the cache from your browser.

Below are instructions on how to clear your cache, depending on the type of browser you use:

Android – Start the browser. Tap ‘Menu’ and then ‘More’. Select ‘Settings’. Under ‘Privacy Settings’ select ‘Clear Cache’.

Chrome – In the browser bar enter chrome://settings/clearBrowserData. Then select ‘Empty the Cache’.

Firefox – Go to ‘Tools’ or ‘History’ menu and select ‘Clear Recent History’. If you cannot see the menu bar press Alt and it will become visible. You will be given an option in a drop-down menu for a time range you want cleared. If you want the entire cache cleared, select ‘Everything’.

Internet Explorer 8 or higher – Go to ‘Tools’ or ‘Safety’ menu and select ‘Delete Browsing History’. Press Alt if menu bar is not visible. Select which items you want to delete, which in this case is ‘Cache’.

Mobile Safari – Tap ‘Settings’ from the home screen and then ‘Safari’. At the bottom of the browser’s setting screen tap ‘Clear Cookies and Data’ or ‘Clear Cookies and Clear Cache’.

Safari – Go to the Safari menu and select ‘Reset Safari’. Select the items you want to reset from the menu. From Safari 5.1 onwards ‘Remove all website data’ clears both cookies and cache.