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How to Clear the Cache and Cookies in Your Web Browser

As you browse the internet and visit websites your browser downloads and stores files locally on your computer that contain the CSS, Javascript, images and other files that are used to display websites.

When you revisit a website your browser checks which content was updated and downloads only the updated files not already stored in the cache. This reduces bandwidth on both the user and server side allowing the page to load faster. Therefore cache is especially useful for slow or limited internet connections.

Why should I clear my cache?

Browser cache can become quite large and take up a substantial amount of hard drive space if it is not cleared for a significant amount of time. Each time you visit a website the data is downloaded regardless of whether you revisit that website or not. Therefore the cache may be filled with data from websites you will never visit again.

Your cache may store an old version of a website that has since been updated and therefore it does not render properly and prevents you from seeing changes to the site. This is especially common for newly deployed website designs displaying the an old version of the site until the cache is cleared. If you’ve recently updated your site but still seeing the old content, it’s often solved by clearing your cache. Your shopping cart and password information may also be saved or airline companies may be monitoring you using cookies. If you have security concerns or websites that are formatting improperly then we recommend you clear your cache.

Clearing your web browser’s cache, cookies, and history may remove data such as the following:

  • Saved passwords
  • Address bar predictions (e.g. Chrome, Firefox)
  • Shopping cart contents, etc.
  • Cached website styles

All browsers’ menus are different, however, so we have compiled directions on how to clear the cache of modern browsers. In most cases the shortcut below will open the menu to clear your cache, however if it does not work please see the browser specific instructions below.

  • To clear your cache, cookies, and history, press Ctrl-Shift-Delete (Windows) or Command-Shift-Delete (Mac). If this doesn’t work, follow the instructions below for your specific browser.

Internet Explorer 8 and up

  1. From the Safety menu, click Delete Browsing History, or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + DEL.
  2. Check Temporary Internet Files and History, and then click Delete.
  3. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Edge

  1. Click on the Hub icon (three lines)
  2. Click on the History icon (clock icon).
  3. Click on Clear all history.
  4. Select Cached data and files. (check any additional items you’d like to clear)
  5. Click the Clear button.
  6. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Firefox 

  1. From the History menu, select Clear Recent History or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + DEL.
  2. Choose the range of time for which you would like the cache cleared.
  3. Next to “Details”, click the down arrow to choose which elements of the history to clear; to clear your entire cache, select all items.
  4. Click Clear Now.
  5. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Google Chrome 

  1. Click the Menu icon and select the History menu item, or enter “chrome://history” in the URL bar.
  2. Select Clear browsing data.
  3. Choose the range of time for which you would like the cache cleared.
  4. Ensure that only Cached images and files is selected.
  5. Finally, click the Clear Browsing Data button.
  6. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Safari 

Hover your mouse over the top of the browser to uncover the main safari menu.

From the Develop menu, select Empty Caches. If you do not have a Develop menu, proceed with the steps below:

  1. From the Safari menu, select Preferences.
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. Check the box next to Show Develop menu in the menu bar (the develop menu should now be displayed when you hover over the top of the browser).
  4. Close Preferences and select Empty Caches from the Develop menu.
  5. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

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