How to Clear Cache for All Major Browsers

How to

Are you always being told to “clear your browser cache”?
When you’re encountering problems with a website (for example, a 304 error), it’s critical to run this test.
But what does it mean to clear your browser cache, and how do you accomplish it for your particular browser?

How to Clear Cache

When you visit a website, your web browser keeps certain information from that site in a folder called “browser cache” on your computer’s hard drive.
Most of the time, this is a good thing because it speeds up your web surfing experience by removing the need to repeatedly download the same static resources as you navigate around a page.

A website’s logo, for example, is unlikely to change, so it makes sense to save it locally in your browser cache rather than having your browser download it every time you visit a new page. However, this cache can sometimes wreak havoc on your browsing experience. It’s at this point that you’ll need to erase your browser’s cache.

Why Do You Need to Clear Your Browser Cache?

Most of the time, you are completely unaware that browser caching is taking place. It operates completely behind the scenes and has little to no impact on your browsing experience. However, things do go wrong from time to time.

You may, for example, make a tweak to your website…

However, because your browser is still serving up the cached version of that resource, you won’t see the change.
Alternatively, the cache could have become corrupted and is now interfering with the normal operation of a website.

As a result, clearing your browser cache is a recommended first step anytime you find an issue on your own (or someone else’s) site.
It won’t always solve the problem, but it’s a vital first step to rule out before assuming there’s a more serious problem at hand.

If you don’t clear the cache after using local web development solutions like MAMP, you can get the “This Site Can’t Provide a Secure Connection” problem. It’s amazing how often what you believe is a “major” website bug is actually simply a caching issue that goes away once you empty your browser cache.

How to Force Refresh a Single Page

A “force refresh” is a technique you can use before erasing your whole browser cache.
When you refresh a website, your browser often sends up the cached version rather than downloading all of the assets again. However, by utilizing a few easy hotkeys, you may circumvent the cache and force a complete refresh:

  • Windows and Linux browsers: CTRL + F5
  • Apple Safari: SHIFT + Reload toolbar button
  • Chrome and Firefox for Mac: CMD + SHIFT + R

This strategy, once again, simply bypasses the cache for the current page. It doesn’t affect the rest of your browser’s cache. As a result, if you’re having trouble with a single page, this choice is ideal. However, if you want to totally reset your experience (for example, across an entire website), you should erase your browser cache.

How to Clear Browser Cache for Google Chrome

To clear the cache for Google Chrome, get started by clicking the Three Dots icon in the top right of your browser window. Then, find the More Tools option and select Clear browsing data… from the submenu:

Google Chrome clear browsing data menu

Alternatively, you can utilize the CTRL + SHIFT + DEL hotkey combination. Chrome will start a new tab with a Clear Browsing Data popup window. Only the Cached images and files box should be checked. Otherwise, you risk erasing your browsing history, saved passwords, cookies, and other information:

Clear browser cache in Google Chrome

You can also change the timeframe at the top, though usually the default of 4 weeks is perfectly fine. Then, click the Clear browsing data button to clear your cache. And that’s it – your Chrome browser cache is now empty.

How to Clear Cache for Mozilla Firefox

To clear the browser cache for Mozilla Firefox, get started by clicking the Hamburger icon in the top right and selecting History:

Mozilla Firefox history menu
Mozilla Firefox history menu

Then, in the menu that appears next, select Clear Recent History…

Firefox clear recent history
Mozilla Firefox clear recent history

You can also access the menu by using the shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + DEL. Firefox will then open a popup. In the Time range to clear: drop-down, select Everything. Then, make sure to only check the Cache box to avoid clearing important browsing data. Then, click Clear Now to clear your cache:

Clear browser cache in Firefox

How to Clear Cache for Safari

To clear the browser cache for Safari, you have two options. If you’re ok with clearing your entire browsing history (including cookies and visited pages), you can take the easy approach and just go to Safari → Clear History:

Safari clear history

This tactic, once again, employs a scorched-earth approach. It will erase your browsing history, cookies, and other data in addition to your browser cache. You’ll need to enable the Develop menu by going to Preferences Advanced and clicking the Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar box: To merely remove Safari’s browser cache, go to Preferences Advanced and check the Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar box:

safari show developer menu

Then, you can go to Develop → Empty Caches to clear Safari’s browser cache:

safari empty caches

How to Clear Cache for Internet Explorer

To clear the cache in Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu by clicking the Gear symbol in the top right corner.
Then, from the submenu, choose Safety and click Delete Browsing History…:

Internet Explorer delete browsing history

You can also use the shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + DEL to get to the menu.
A popup will appear in Internet Explorer. To avoid clearing essential information, only pick the Temporary Internet files and website files box. Then, at the bottom, click the Delete button:

Clear browser cache in Internet Explorer

How to Clear Cache for Microsoft Edge

Click the Three Dots icon in the upper right corner of your browser window to clear the cache for Microsoft Edge.

microsoft edge settings

Scroll down and click on Choose what to clear.

microsoft edge choose what to clear

Make sure to only select the Cached data and files box to avoid clearing important information. You can also access the menu by using the shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + DEL. Then, click the Clear button at the bottom.

clear browser cache in Microsoft Edge

How to Clear Cache for Opera

To remove the Opera browser cache, go to the top left of the screen and select More Tools, then Clear Browsing Data from the submenu:

Opera clear browsing data

Set Obliterate the following things from: equal to at least the last 4 weeks in most circumstances.
Then tick only the Cached pictures and files box before clicking the Clear browsing data button:

Clear browser cache in Opera

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