Clearing Your Browser History and Cache –Why it’s Important

Clearing Your Browser History and Cache –Why it’s Important

We are spending more and more time online and have more usernames and passwords than we can possibly keep up with. With all the hacking and phishing going on you should be using more than one password for all these online accounts.

Browsers retain information as you surf websites and could eventually cause problems with logging in or loading websites. You should try to get into a habit of clearing your cache, browser history, and clearing the cookies on a regular basis.

The drawback to clearing this is that your saved usernames and passwords will be deleted, and you’ll need to re-enter them the next time you try to login. But by clearing cookies and cache, your privacy is more secure, and your browser will work better.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on your computer by the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) while you are browsing the internet.  Cookies remember certain information, such as items added to your cart, or record your browsing activity, log ins, or pages visited. They are also responsible for remembering your name, address, password or credit card information so you don’t have to enter it every time you complete a form or make an online purchase.

Each time you pull up that same website, the browser sends the cookie back to the website with all the info from the last visit. Browser cache is usually overwritten when you reach a certain amount but will store information about your browsing history until you clear it.

If you’re your favorite website isn’t letting you log in, or isn’t loading correctly, is showing an error, or you think you might be seeing an older version of the site, try clearing your cookies.    It’s also a good practice to be sure you are also using the latest version of your browser.

What is a browser cache?

When you visit a website, your browser captures certain assets of the site and stores them on your computer’s hard drive. Some of the assets your browser will store include, images, logos, and the websites style coding.

Browsers cache what are known as “static assets”, which are parts of a website that do not change from visit to visit. This is also why your web designer might tell you to clear your cache after making changes to your website so the new assets will show correctly.

Some website pages will take longer to fully download and become functional because they have a lot of pieces or their assets are large. That’s why you may notice that when you first click on a page, the text appears before the images. That’s because text is small and takes less time to load, while a high-resolution image, or many images, will take longer.

Caching speeds up browsing. Once you’ve downloaded an asset, it stays on your computer for a time. Retrieving files from your hard drive is faster than retrieving them from a remote server, which is where the website lives, no matter how fast your Internet connection.

Click on the browser you use below to see the instructions clearing your browser cookies and cache:

Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Internet Explorer

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