What Are the Benefits of Clearing the Cache?

When you use your browser to look at a website for the first time, it stores information from the site in temporary files in its cache. When you go to the site again, your browser will load it from the cache copy rather than downloading it all over again from the Internet. This process aims to speed up your overall browsing experience. Website pages can contain many different elements -- if you load them up from the stored cache version, you'll have quicker load times. Caching files can have some disadvantages, however, and it sometimes makes sense to clear the cache.

Maximizing Speed and Performance

  1. If you spend a lot of time online or have been visiting websites for a long period, then you may build up a sizeable cache. This may affect the speed and performance of your computer as you surf online, especially if you are low on hard drive capacity anyway. Clearing the cache frees up some space and may just speed things back up again. Keep in mind that this may not make a huge difference -- you're more likely to see a slight change.

Viewing Most Recent Pages

  1. Each time you revisit a website, your cache is supposed to check to see if it has changed so that it can serve you the most up-to-date pages. This doesn't always work; sometimes the cache will load its older stored page instead, so you may not always get the newest version. If you clear the cache periodically, you force your browser to start over, ensuring that you are viewing updated pages and information.

Maintaining Security

  1. If you are using a public computer or one that is accessible by other people, then clearing your cache may help protect your privacy. If you don't do this, then anyone who uses the computer and the browser after you may be able to see what you have been doing. The cache can also store private data required by some websites, which could give the next user on the computer access to sensitive or personal information. The cache's temporary files may also be a target for adware, malware and virus files.

Fixing Browser Errors

  1. There are times when your cache can cause problems when you use your browser. For example, you may find that certain websites are slow to load, will not open, return an error message, hang at a certain point or otherwise refuse to respond as they should. In many cases, you can fix these kinds of errors by clearing your cache before closing and reopening your browser.