Home How-Tos What is Browser Cache? Know its Purpose and How to Clear It

What is Browser Cache? Know its Purpose and How to Clear It

browser cache

Cached data is information saved in Internet browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari and can be easy to use, but it can also take up a lot of space in the memory of the PC or smartphone. This data is used to make browsing faster and more efficient since features such as photos and documents are already saved on the user’s computer. The following are all the details about the cache, how it works, and also the difference between cookies and history.

What is a Cache and what is it for?

A cache is a term used to classify a particular set of saved information that reflects static components of the site, such as images and documents in general that form the page. The good thing about this is that every time you open a page, your browser doesn’t have to request all the data from the Internet, loading it from the cache in a process that saves bandwidth and makes browsing faster since it’s faster to read files on your computer than to request them from the Internet.

One thing about caching is that it can take up a lot of space. Some browsers, such as Firefox, allow you to manage the limits, but by default, the Mozilla app can take up 1 GB of your hard drive space with data that may not even be that relevant. It is because of these factors that the habit of removing cached data from time to time is recommended.

Where is the cache on your computer

Locations will vary depending on the browser, which may use a different directory structure. Using Google Chrome as an example, you can find the cached files in the browser by opening the directory:

C:\Users\<your-name>>ApplicationData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache.

Since it is not practical to manually navigate to these directories every time the user prefers to perform a cleaning, browsers usually offer cache cleaning features.

How to clear your browser’s cache

Any current browser will have built-in tools that allow cached data to be cleaned easily. Using Firefox as an example, simply open your browser options, and in the “Privacy and Security” tab, find the “Clear data” button in the “Cookies and website data” field. A dialog will appear and then just select the cache for deletion. Although the process may vary slightly from browser to browser, the dynamics are similar: just look in the privacy and security options for the clearing tools to delete the cache.

Difference between cookies, cache, and history

Cache are local copies that browsers use to load websites faster, using the logic that reading files on the computer is much faster than reading this data from scratch from the Internet. Browser history is just a list of the addresses the user visits, usually arranged chronologically. The idea is that history allows you to find a previously accessed site, but does not remember the address.

Cookies are another type of data stored on your computer. The idea is that they record the access data and usage preferences of a given site so that when you access the address, all preferences are loaded automatically, including with automatic login. Cookies are what allow direct access to the Facebook home page, and no login is required, for example.

As long as cookies are applied correctly, they are safe and useful. The problem is that these files, which act as digital identifiers, can be used to track data on the Internet and generate profiles about user behavior on the network.

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