You may have heard of the term ‘clearing your cache’. It’s one of those ones that people often remember hearing somewhere, but aren’t exactly sure why it’s important. This week at Twentyone we’ve tasked ourselves getting that straight for you, so here’s what you need to know.
Your computer has a whole range of simple little mechanisms to help make your life easier, and your browser cache is one of them. It’s basically a little digital filing cabinet that helps your browser to load websites more quickly.
Essentially, the average website is made up of thousands of pieces of information, and loading all this information at once can occasionally be a lot for your browser to process. This is especially true for larger or more complex sites.
What your cache does is save and store bits of this information when you first visit the site. Then when you go back to the same website later, it already knows some of what to display.
The cache takes a bit of pressure off your internet connection and cuts down on page loading times, because your browser can access these saved files a lot more quickly than downloading the entire webpage each time. This means less time for you sitting in front of a blank screen, which is always fantastic news!
So, you might be asking, what kind of information gets stored? Well, logos are a great example. Instead of loading the latest logo every time you visit the page, your browser will just use the information in its cache to display the version it remembers from last time.
Passwords and auto-filled sign-in information are other good examples of the types of things stored by your browser cache. If you log into Facebook, your email or your Twitter account with just one mouse-click, it’s all thanks to your cache.
The cache really is a fantastic little feature – you actually don’t have to worry too much about it getting full. If it does, it simply deletes the oldest bits of information to make room for the new stuff. If you’re not in the habit of emptying your cache regularly already, it’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
Deleting this information yourself every so often does, though, help you smooth out the odd wrinkle in your browsing experience.
If a website’s been recently updated for example, you discover a few niggles here and there when viewing it. This can be in the form of half-loaded pictures or oddly formatted text. Nothing worrying, but it can sometimes be annoying!
This is because your browser is trying to pull up old information from the cache while you’re trying to view the newest version of the page. The two don’t often mix well, which results in the bugs you see onscreen.
It’s an easy fix though – you can solve this by emptying your cache, clearing out those old digital files. The next time you visit the webpage, your browser will load and display the most recent version, as it won’t have any others stored. Hey presto! Simple problems, simple answers.
So to sum up, regularly emptying your cache means that your browser keeps up to date with the latest changes to your favourite websites. That means fewer bugs, consistent loading times and a great online experience. It basically helps keep your browser organised and on top of things – sort of like emptying out any normal filing cabinet when you think about it.
We’ve got a simple mission here at Twentyone: we’re here to help you make it on the web. Whether you’re after greater traffic to your site or a breath of fresh air in your social media strategy, our experts have the skills and enthusiasm to lend a helping hand. Why not check out our core services to find out what we can do for you?
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @twentyoneagency