Fix Common Website Errors By Clearing the Browser Cache

When something goes wrong with a website, such as images and content failing to load, your browser’s cache may be to blame.

Whenever you a visit a website, your browser downloads files—images, HTML, Javascript, CSS, and even video—to show you that website. The next time you visit the same website, your browser uses the files stored on your computer in order to decrease page load times. But sometimes your browser doesn’t realize those files are corrupted or not outdated, and the result is a broken-looking website.

Why Should You Clear the Cache?

There are a number of reasons you should clear out your cache.

    1. Clearing the cache forces a website refresh. If you notice random errors on a website you regularly visit, such as broken images, clearing your cache will force your browser to download the latest files.
    2. Free up memory. Your browser’s cache files can take up quite a bit of space, especially on a mobile device. Clearing your cache will give you wiggle room.
    3. Privacy. Your cache file is a virtual map of the websites you’ve visited and data you’ve accessed. Protect your privacy and the privacy of your clients by occasionally clearing your browser cache.

With these benefits, let’s go over how to clear the cache of every major desktop browser.


To clear the cache in Chrome, click the hamburger menu next to the URL bar and select Settings. Scroll down your settings page until you see a heading labeled Privacy. Under that heading, click Clear browsing data…; a pop-up menu, as shown below, will appear.


Select the items, including Cached images and files, you want to clear from the beginning of time. Once you have made your selections, click Clear browsing data. Depending on this size of your cache file, this may take a moment.

If you’d like, you can also install the Cache Killer extension, which will clear your browser cache every time you open Chrome.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Keyboard shortcut (Mac). [Command] + [Shift] +[Delete]
  • Keyboard shortcut (Windows). [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Del]


Clearing the cache in Firefox is a similar to clearing the cache in Chrome. Click the hamburger menu, located to the right of the URL bar, and select the gear icon labeled Preferences.


At the bottom of the left-hand side panel, select Advanced. Once you are in the Advanced panel, click Network. Under the heading Cached Web Content you will have the option to click Clear Now to get rid of your cache.


Under this tab, you also have the option to override Firefox’s automatic cache management. We recommend leaving the defaults, but if you own a device with limited space, it may be worth lowering the cache space limit.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Keyboard shortcut (Mac). [Command] + [Shift] +[Delete]
  • Keyboard shortcut (Windows). [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Del]

Note: The keyboard shortcut will also delete your cookies, browsing, and download history. To prevent that from happening, click Details on the pop-up menu.


To delete your cache and other website data, click Safari in the toolbar and select Preferences.


Once you are in the preferences, select Privacy. From here, you can select Remove All Website Data. A pop-up will come up informing you that all of your website data will be cleared in one fell swoop. Click Remove Now.


If you would prefer that Safari does not erase all your website data, you will need to click Details… and manually go through each website. However, this is probably more effort than it’s worth.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The latest version of Safari in OS X El Capitan have disabled some keyboard shortcuts. If you are running an older version of Safari, [Command] + [Option] + [E] will work.

Internet Explorer

To clear the browser cache in Internet Explorer, click the Gear icon. A drop-down will appear, select Safety and click Delete browsing history… .

Image Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madision

Image Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madision

A Delete Browsing History Menu will appear. To ensure that you clear all your browsing data, uncheck Preserve Favorites website data. Unlike other major browsers, Internet Explorer refers to the cache as Temporary Internet files. Check Temporary Internet files and any other data you’d to clear and click Delete.

Image Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Image Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison

After a moment, Internet Explorer will have cleared your cache and other website data.

Keyboard Shortcut

  • Keyboard shortcut (Windows). [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Del]

Now that you’ve learned how to clear your cache, you have a solution for a huge chunk of Internet browsing issues you may stumble upon. Start saving space and ensuring your security by periodically clearing out your cache today.

Featured image: “Closeup of finger on delete key in a keyboard.” from Shutterstock.

Leave a Reply