How do I empty my cache?

Have you ever been asked by your web provider or an IT support technician to empty your browser’s cache? Clearing the cache is a common solution to many minor web glitches you may come across while working with websites.

When you visit a website, your browser downloads the contents of the pages you open and stores them in a cache so the pages will load faster the next time you visit that website. This can cause issues when a file on the website has changed since you last visited, but your computer is still using the old one stored in your cache.

So how do I empty the cache?

Start by holding down the ALT key while refreshing the page. That should force the browser to download new content for the page you’re viewing. If that doesn’t fix the issue, you’ll need to find your browser preferences and empty all the files in the cache. Figure out which browser you’re using, then follow the instructions below.

Clearing your cache in Internet Explorer:

Follow the instructions below for Internet Explorer 8.

  1. Click on TOOLS in the toolbar at the top of your screen
  2. Select DELETE BROWSING HISTORY
  3. A window will come up similar to the screenshot below. Be sure that “Temporary Internet Files” is checked
  4. Click DELETE
Follow these instructions for emptying your cache in IE 8.

Follow these instructions for emptying your cache in IE 8.

Clearing your cache in Mozilla Firefox:

If you’re using a PC, follow the instructions below or watch the video here.

  1. Click on TOOLS in the menu bar at the top of your screen
  2. Select OPTIONS
  3. Click on the “Advanced” menu item
  4. Select the “Network” tab
  5. Click the button CLEAR NOW

If you’re using FireFox on a Mac, instead of following steps 1 & 2, you’ll find the menu under FIREFOX > PREFERENCES. Then follow steps 3-5 above.

This screenshot shows the window you'll see if you're using Mozilla Firefox browser on a PC. Start by selecting TOOLS > OPTIONS.

This screenshot shows the window you'll see if you're using Mozilla Firefox browser on a PC. Start by selecting TOOLS > OPTIONS. This screenshot is from version 3.5.5

Clearing your cache in Apple Safari:

If you’re using a PC, go to EDIT > EMPTY CACHE, then click EMPTY.

On a Mac, you can empty the cache by holding down SHIFT + COMMAND + E, or go to SAFARI > EMPTY CACHE, then click EMPTY.


This post is part of Vision Design Group’s Weekly Web Tutor: Web tips & resources for savvy website owners. Subscribe to the Weekly Web Tutor to receive the tips by email every Thursday.

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