Clearing your browsing cache and accumulated browsing data is often an easy way to speed up your browser. In this blog, we will clarify the difference between your browser cache and browsing data, explain why and how you clear it.
What is a browser cache?
Simply put, your browser cache stores information you accumulate from websites. Mainly, it stores information from websites that doesn’t change, also referred to as “static assets,” so that the page will load faster the next time you visit. It is also where downloaded files are kept temporarily, as they are being processed.
Browsing data is sometimes confused with the cache. Browsing data is a much broader term, and it is often what people are referring to when they talk about “clearing their cache.” Browsing data can include:
- Saved Passwords
- Stored Payment Information
- Browsing History
- Browser Cache
Why do I need to clear my browser cache and data?
An accumulation of data in your browser cache will slow down your browser. This may seem counter-intuitive since the whole point of a cache is stored information that helps websites download faster. However, the fact of the matter is, any excess amount of files on your computer will slow things down.
Another part of this is security. If you visit a site that may seem a little phishy (pun intended), the first thing to do is clear your browsing data immediately. If the website is downloading malware onto your computer, this may not completely solve the problem, but it’s an excellent start. Once you clear your cache, run a virus scan. If you are on a work computer, always contact your IT department if you’re worried you may have stumbled upon something harmful.
How Do I Clear my Browsing Data?
The way you clear your browsing data depends on your browser of choice. We will cover the different ways to clear data on the four most popular browsers amongst our customers. To save some time, follow the quick links below to your preferred browser.
Google Chrome is widely recognized as the most popular browser on the market. It is fast and easy to use,; no surprise coming from Google. In fact, Microsoft Edge (see next section) is based on Google Chrome technology.
To clear your browsing data on Google Chrome:
- Open Google Chrome
- Click the “more” menu on the browser’s upper right-hand corner
- Scroll down to “More Tools”
- Select “Clear Browsing Data”
- Choose a time range
- Select the types of information you want to remove
- Click “Clear Data”
Microsoft Edge is Microsoft’s new browser application. It replaced the clunky yet nostalgic Internet Explorer.
Please note: Microsoft is no longer supporting Internet Explorer. It is not a secure browser to use. We urge all our customers to switch over to Microsoft Edge. (You can import all your Internet Explorer bookmarks into Microsoft Edge. This article will show you how.)
To clear your browsing data on Microsoft Edge:
- Open Microsoft Edge
- Select “Settings and More” on the upper right-hand corner of your screen
- Select “Settings”
- On the “Settings” sidebar, go to “Privacy and Settings.”
- Under “Clear browsing data,” click the blue button that says, “Chose What to Clear.”
- Select the time range you want to delete from
- Select all the types of browsing data you want to delete
- Select “Clear Now”
Mozilla Firefox makes clearing your browsing data a little trickier, just because you have to clear your cookies and cache separately from your history. This isn’t hard, though, so do not worry.
To clear your browsing data on Firefox:
- Open Mozilla Firefox
- Got to your Menu in the upper right-hand corner of your screen
- Got to “Options”
- Select “Privacy and Security” from the “Options” sidebar (left-hand side)
- Scroll down to “Cookies and Site Data”
- Click “Clear Data”
- Select the data you want to clear and hit “Clear.”
To clear your browsing history on Firefox:
- Repeat steps 1 – 4 from above
- When you are back on the “Privacy and Security” page, scroll down to “History.”
- Click “Clear History…”
- Select a time range
- Select the “History and Data” you want to delete
- Click “OK”
Safari is Mac’s staple browser. They are no longer supporting the application on PC’s, and so we do not recommend using it outside of iOS. For that reason, these directions are for your Mac.
Clearing your Safari browser cache and data on your iPhone or iPad is different. You can find directions for that in the article from apple.
To clear your browsing data on Safari:
- Open Safari
- On your top toolbar, click the “Safari” menu
- Scroll down to “Preferences”
- Go to the “Privacy” tab
- Click “Manage Website Data…”
- Click “Remove all” or, if you want, select the specific websites you want to clear data
- Confirm by clicking “Remove Now.”
Still experiencing slow speeds after clearing your browser cache and data?
If you are still experiencing slow speeds after clearing your browser cache and other data, you might want to do some additional troubleshooting. Check out our post “How to Get the Most Out of Your Internet Connection” for some additional tips.
Additionally, you may want to confirm that you have enough bandwidth for all your Internet needs. Download our free bandwidth Calculator to see if you have the speed you need.