Web development

The importance of clearing your cache and cookies.


You will likely use a browser most days to check your email – whether it’s for work purposes, to do an online shop or just generally peruse the internet. Whenever you use a browser, for example Chrome, it saves information from each website you visit in its cache and cookies. Clearing these can fix problems like formatting and loading issues on a website, while also making your browsing activity more secure. This is especially relevant if you’re working with a website developer and they are making changes to a staging or live website. It isn’t uncommon for changes to be made and you not to be able to see them in their finished form, due to your browser serving up what we call a ‘cached version’ of a page. Or, sometimes the browser might show you an error code when you’re trying to access a certain page – clearing your cache may also fix this too.

How to clear your cache
It’s a good idea to clear your cache as often as you can. However, if you have usernames and passwords saved, these may be ‘forgotten’ and you’d need to re-enter them. Some browsers give you some options as to what browsing data and cookies you clear. For example, Chrome:

Each browser will have its own process for clearing the cache, so make sure you take note of which one you use most often and learn how to do this. There are often free browser extensions available, which can make this process even easier.

Where do cookies come into this?
Cookies are small pieces of data from the websites you visit. Every time you visit the same website, your browser will send the cookie back to the website with data from the last visit. Under GDPR law, it is vital that businesses tell you when and how they’re using this data. However, most cookies are harmless and are needed to ensure a website can provide a seamless experience – so it’s advised that you accept the use of cookies when browsing the web.

As you can see from the previous example, it is possible to clear cached images and files as opposed to all cookies. This process should allow you to ensure you’re getting a better browsing experience without losing all your saved login details. However, we always advise using a secure password software for all login details such as LastPass to store this data, as opposed to saving them in your browser.

Written by Ruby Ribbons
Senior account manager, social secretary and resident 'baller'.