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Folks, we live in a highly technical world and there are things we just have to know how to do to navigate it properly. If our kids and grand-kids can do it, we can do it! One thing that will make your digital life easier is knowing how to clear your browser cache.
Why Do I Have to Know This?
Every time you click a link to view a web page, a little "web-hamster" (it's really called a "request") has to run across country or around the world to wherever that other website's pages are being stored, grab a copy of it, then run it all the way back and load it on your computer screen. That takes time, and that can be a problem. So computer geniuses created "caches" that live on your computer.
What's a Cache?
A cache is simply a collection of pages that you've requested and viewed before, that are stored on any device you use to view web pages. It speeds things up for you the viewer. When you want to view a page again the web-hamster doesn't have to run across the country now to get it since you've already viewed it before. Make sense?
Think of your cache as a bucket where things like pages viewed, images viewed, cookies, and other digital-assets are stored. BTW, you don't want to delete your cookies or you'll find yourself having to look up all of your login credentials for various sites again! No bueno.
I Know What You're Thinking...
There are coded parameters associated with these caches so they update themselves once in awhile so you don't end up viewing pages from a year ago. That begs the question then, why would I need to clear my cache?
Why Clear My Cache?
Well, that's the thing, you shouldn't have to. It's meant to run on auto-pilot but every once in awhile a page might have some issues and that wonky page file gets stored in your cache. Then you get to see it over and over again until the cache decides to update itself. But you don't have to wait.
You may manually clear your entire cache of web-pages. Then the web-hamster will be forced to venture out and retrieve new copies of each page, each time you click a page link. He'll rebuild your cache for you.
So How Do I Clear My Cache? Is It Gonna Hurt?
Like most things in life, clearing the cache is conceptually simple. It's typically located in the "Settings" which is that list of things you can do to customize your browser functions.
Find the "Settings" link for your browser, usually in the top-right corner somewhere and you're half-way home. Locate the section where you can clear your cache (don't clear your cookies!) using the linked-to directions below and that'll get you across the finish line.
I won't re-create operating-system, browser-specific instructions here because this site has already done a marvelous job of that. So follow those directions and this shouldn't hurt at all. You'll find detailed instructions there for both PC and Mac, in a variety of browsers for both platforms.
Know that each browser creates its own cache so if you habitually use more than one browser you'll have to clear the cache in each one.
Summary: Clear Your Browser Cache!
Think of clearing your cache as the step you take right before you decide to re-boot your computer or call somebody in India for help ("when all else fails, reboot!"). Re-booting clears out your device's plumbing and allows things to work again (usually) but before you take that step, try clearing your cache, especially if the issue has to do with how pages are presenting themselves on your screen.
And now you, and your kids, know.
Plan Smart. Be Safe. Serve Others.
Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP
Got An Opinion?
This post is my opinion based on almost 30 year practice as a mental health provider. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave your civil, constructive comments below. You do not need to be logged in to leave a comment.