There are two major reasons why you should clear out your cache or Internet browsing history occasionally:
Both of these things contain files which take up memory space on your computer, which can slow it (or your Internet connection) down. In fact, some may be doing so unnecessarily.
For instance, with your browsing history, you probably won't need to remember every single website or web page that you've been to. You probably have the ones that you visit most frequently saved as bookmarks, so you can get back to them easily.
Also, whenever something about a web page changes, your cache has to make a new copy of the information. This means that your cache ends up storing files regarding obsolete versions of the web page, which are irrelevant and don't help to speed up the loading of websites.
Both your cache and Internet browsing history contain clues as to where you've been on the Internet. Websites, Internet providers, snooping programs, or even just people who use the same computer as you do can look at them to figure out what you've been up to on the Internet.
So, in a nutshell, clearing your cache or Internet history once in a while frees up memory space on your computer, which can help it to run faster. It also makes your Internet activities harder to track.
Here are some quick instructions on how to clear cache and browsing history in each of the main web browsers. Note that we’ve also created more detailed instructions (with screenshot images) in separate tutorials in the “Extra Resources” section.
If some pictures to go along with these instructions would be useful, have a look at this illustration-aided tutorial on how to clear your browsing history, put together by our brand ambassador, Abby Stokes. (NOTE: you may need to have Adobe Reader installed to view it.)
Or, you can watch this video on YouTube by Abby on how to clear your Internet history.
Click the menu icon in the top-right corner (it looks like three bars stacked on top of each other), move your mouse cursor over More Tools, and click Clear Browsing Data.
Make sure that the check boxes beside "Browsing History" and "Cached Images and Files" are marked. If they aren't, click them to mark them.
Click the drop-down menu beside "Obliterate the Following Items From:" and select to delete files from The Past Hour, The Past Day, The Past Week, The Last 4 Weeks, or The Beginning of Time (i.e. delete all files of the chosen types on your computer at the moment).
Click Clear Browsing History.
For a more detailed explanation, please visit our How to Clear Cache and Browsing History in Chrome tutorial.
Click the menu icon in the top-right corner (it looks like three horizontal bars), click on the History button, and then click Clear Recent History.
Make sure the check boxes beside "Browsing and Download History" and "Cache"" are marked. If not, click them to mark them.
Click the drop-down menu beside "Time Range to Clear" and select to clear files from Last Hour, Last Two Hours, Last Four Hours, Today, or Everything (i.e. delete all files of the chosen types).
Click Clear Now.
For more detailed instructions, see our How to Clear Cache and Browsing History in Firefox tutorial.
Click the "Tools" icon in the top-right corner (it looks like a little cog or gear), move your mouse cursor over Safety, and click Delete Browsing History.
Make sure the check boxes beside "Temporary Internet Files and Website Files" and "History" are both marked. If not, click them to mark them.
To see the full procedure, check out our How to Clear Cache and Browsing History in Internet Explorer tutorial.
Well, that does it for our lessons on what a cache and Internet browsing history are, and how to get rid of them if you need to. Next, we'll look at cookies... the computer kind, not the baked goods kind.
Learn how to use
Was something in this tutorial missing, confusing, or out of date? Or did it give you all the information you needed, and you just want to say "thanks"? We'd love to hear what you thought!