What is Caching

When providing the best online experience for users, speed is of utmost importance. There are many ways to improve site performance, but caching is one of the most common ways.

What is Cache

Cache is a storage layer that temporarily holds data, such as HTML pages and images after visiting a website. Saving this type of information allows the site to load faster the next time it is visited. This is similar to keeping a book on hand rather than having to return it to a library and check it out each time you need it for reference. It becomes second nature and the process is much faster. Caching works the same way and is used to speed up the load time of websites.

How Does Caching Work

Every time you visit a website, your device needs to retrieve all of the data associated with the site. When you have accessed it for the first time, some information gets automatically stored on your computer or mobile device to help speed up the load times for subsequent visits. Users can’t select what information is stored to increase the speed of loading. This is predetermined by the website developers based on what they believe will offer the best experience for the visitor. These are typically data, such as images, files, scripts, and other multimedia on a website.

Types of Caches

There are two types of caches: server and browser. Server caching is done on the server of course, and browser caching takes place on the client (user) side.

Server Caching

Retaining websites that have been visited along with other files, makes it much faster than having to go through the process each time in order to retrieve the content. This process is a quick one, but it still saves time to retrieve the cached version since it is already cached and the cache server is physically closer to the end user.

Browser Caching

Browser caching works in a similar way. In addition to the content of the page, your browser downloads the resources, such as fonts and Javascript files. Images are the top items that need to be cached since they take the longest to download. This also helps your browser load the site faster the next time you visit it.

Clearing Your Cache

The ideal load time for a website is about two to three seconds. This time is crucial to keep visitors from leaving before the site loads and keep them returning.  While cached information is used to improve online experience, it can also bog down websites when you have too much information saved.  

Most devices have their own cache cleanup, but sometimes it is necessary to clear your browser cache. Clean out a cache that is full can help enhance speeds or to fix pages that aren’t displaying correctly.

How to Clear Your Cache

Here are the basic steps on how to clear your cache for the most common browsers:

Google Chrome

Click on the three vertical dots from the upper right corner and click on More Tools and then select Clear Browsing Data. Select the box for Cached images and files and then click on the Clear data button. See Google’s support page for help clearing this data on mobile devices.

Clear browsing data - cached images and files - google chrome


From the Safari dropdown menu, select Preferences. Click on the Advanced option and check the box for Show Develop menu in menu bar and close the Preferences window. From the Develop drop-down menu, select Empty Cache. You can also opt to clear your history by selecting Clear History from the History drop-down. Visit Apple Support for advanced options.

Microsoft Edge

Click on the three dots menu from the upper right corner and select Settings. Type in “cache” in the search bar and click on the blue Choose what to clear button. Select the appropriate time range, check the box next to Cached images and files and click on the Clear now button.  

Clear browsing data - cached images and files - microsoft


Click on the three horizontal lines and select Settings. Choose the Privacy & Security panel. In the Cookies and Site data section, click on Clear Data. Select the box for Cached Web Content and then click on the Clear button. To set your cache to automatically clear, visit their tutorial.

Clear cached web content - Firefox

See our How to Flush DNS Cache resource guide for more information on clearing DNS cache.

Caching: Refreshing Your Memory

Cached data is temporary memory that is stored after visiting a website. There are two types of cache: browser and server and caching on both speeds up a website’s load time. Devices have a cache cleanup, but sometimes it’s necessary to clear your cache manually in order to reduce the amount of stored information that can affect your browsing or for privacy protection. Caching is used to improve your online experience.

If you found this useful, why not share it? If there’s a topic you’d like to know more about, reach out and let me know. I’ll do my best to bring you the content you’re looking for!

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Tanya Valdez
Tanya is a technical writer at DNS Made Easy. As a former educator and customer service representative, she has a great talent for making complex topics like authoritative DNS easy to understand.

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