Why it’s Important to Clear Your Browser Cache

No matter what device you use, a browser will always download and store common data as you roam the internet, visiting websites. This is necessary for a few reasons, but chiefly because it’s quicker for your browser to pull the data from, say, your laptop’s hard drive, than it is from the internet.

Many websites contain the same layout across their pages so that your cache will store this information. Your browser can then retrieve this common data from your hard drive the next time you visit the website; that way, your browser will only have to retrieve and fill in each page’s text and media, etc (the content that regularly changes).

In short, by pulling data from a local source (hard drive) and then filling in the rest of the blanks from a server (via the internet), a webpage will load faster. Well, theoretically speaking, anyway. But can a cache ever be too full? And could it ever be detrimental to your device?

While it may seem counterproductive to interfere with a process that isn’t inherently harmful by design, it can certainly prove beneficial to delete all – or at least some – files. If you don’t, you may notice a decline in overall system performance, and in the functionality of some web pages. It’s also worth having a regular clear out for security purposes.

What’s the actual harm, though? Well, you probably visit thousands of web pages a year (most of us couldn’t even guess the number!), right? But how many do you revisit? If the answer is not many, then what purpose is your overflowing cache really serving? Sure, your computer could be slow for a number of reasons, but freeing up more memory could be of real benefit.

Remember: a cache does not discriminate, moderate or understand the notion of ‘Spring cleaning’. It just stores files, files, files, and more files – every time you visit a web page. So that means that when a page updates a file, your cache will store this new file, in addition to any old, now obsolete ones that came before it (for no good reason whatsoever).

Since internet providers, websites and spyware/malware programs could potentially snoop on your browsing activities, this in itself is reason enough to clear out your cache periodically. Stored common files are like digital breadcrumbs, and what you get up to online is nobody’s business but your own.