When loading a website, modern web browsers such as Safari, Chrome and Firefox will store data from the page in a process known as caching.
The benefit of caching is the faster loading of the webpage next time you visit, because the browser doesn’t have to go searching for certain aspects of the page from the server. This makes for a faster, more enjoyable browsing experience.
When changes are made to a website, the old version of the website can sometimes still be stored in the cache, meaning that the changes are not reflected in your browser. This can sometimes create confusion when you’re trying to view changes to your site.
However, clearing your cache is a simple process. Here we go through several methods to clear your cache.
Restart your browser or computer
One of the most foolproof ways of clearing your browser is to restart your browser. It’s best to completely quit the program by navigating to File > Quit (Chrome/Safari/Firefox > Quit on Mac).
Alternatively, you can also restart your computer. This will, in most cases, shut down all programs, allowing you to start afresh when re-opening your browser upon restart.
Just be aware that depending upon how your cache operates, further steps may be required. Let’s dig into those now.
How to clear your cache in Google Chrome
Time needed: 1 minute.
Clearing your cache in Google Chrome is a simple process you can complete within a few steps. The instructions below refer to clearing the cache on a Mac, however the steps on a PC should be largely the same.
- Click the ‘Menu’ button at the top right of the browser window
Locate the button, which features three dots stacked on top of one another. It should look something like this:
- Click ‘Settings’
It should be located towards the bottom of the menu and look like this:
- Scroll down and click ‘Advanced’
Following the previous step, the settings menu will open. Scroll right down to the bottom and click ‘Advanced’, which will open even more options.
- Under ‘Privacy & Security’ find and click ‘Clear browser settings’
Here you’ll find the settings to reset your browser cache.
- Select your options to clear your cache
In the dialogue that will appear you’re presented with the ‘Basic’ cache clearing settings. In most cases, these are all you need to worry about. There are advanced settings, which you can explore, however we won’t cover that here.
Select the stored data you wish to clear. Generally, you’ll want to deselect the options for ‘Cookies and other site data’ (which stores saved passwords and access data) and ensure that the ‘Time range’ equals ‘All Time’; this will ensure you flush the cache completely.
Once you’re happy with the settings, click ‘Clear data’.
- Return and refresh the page you want to view
You should now find that any changes to the website are now reflected.
Chrome bonus: Incognito mode
If all of the above seems like a hassle, or you’d prefer just to maintain the cached data on certain websites, you can use Google Chrome’s Incognito mode.
Incognito mode only retains a cache for as long as your Incognito browser session. Once you quit and re-open Incognito, no data is retained. This makes it perfect for testing changes to a website.
To access Incognito mode on a Mac you can either use the shortcut: Shift + Command + N, which will open a new Incognito browser window (signified by the darkened frame). Alternatively navigate to File > New Incognito Window.
Note: As Google will warn you when you open it, Incognito mode won’t make you invisible. Here’s the warning:
Now you can browse privately, and other people who use this device won’t see your activity. However, downloads and bookmarks will be saved. Learn more
Chrome won’t save the following information:
- Your browsing history
- Cookies and site data
- Information entered in forms
Your activity might still be visible to:
- Websites that you visit
- Your employer or school
- Your Internet service provider
Clearing your cache in Apple Safari
To begin clearing your cache in Apple’s Safari browser you’ll need to turn on the ‘Developer’ menu. This is hidden by default, but fear not! It’s a simple additional step to reveal it.
The Developer menu can be activated by selecting Safari > Preferences, clicking the ‘Advanced’ icon (look for the cog symbol), then putting a tick alongside ‘Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar’. This option should be found at the bottom; see below:
With that done, you’ll now see the ‘Develop’ item appear in the tool bar at the top of your screen, between ‘Bookmarks’ and ‘Window’.
Let’s get clearing (Safari)!
With the ‘Develop’ menu now revealed, simply navigate to ‘Develop’ > ‘Empty Caches’. It’s a good idea to open a new window after carrying this process out, though not essential.
Does Safari have an Incognito mode?
Yep, but it’s called ‘Private Window’ browsing. To activate a new ‘Private Window’, simply navigate to ‘File’ > ‘New Private Window’ (Shift + Command + N is the keyboard shortcut).
Like Chrome, you’ll get a warning message when you open a Private browsing session in Safari:
Private Browsing Enabled
Safari will keep your browsing history private for all tabs in this window. After you close this window, Safari won’t remember the pages you visited, your search history, or your AutoFill information.
You can see how simple it is to clear your cache. If you’re having trouble, or have any questions, feel free to get in touch, or comment below.