Cache is a computer component that temporarily stores information so that if you need to request the same information again, it can be quickly retrieved.
In Web terms, when you download a web page, the data is “cached,” or temporarily stored on your computer. The next time you want that page, instead of requesting the file from the web server, your web browser just accesses it from the cache, so the page loads quickly.
While caching can save time, if the web page is updated frequently, as are pages with news, sports scores or financial data, you may not see the most current information. In this case, using the Refresh or Reload button will direct your browser to download fresh data from the server.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I clear my cache?
If you are not able to view the most recent version of a website, even after hitting the Refresh or Reload button, chances are your computer is still viewing the page from your Internet cache. In order to view the updated page, you will need to clear your computer’s cache. The steps to do this vary depending on the browser you are using.
In Internet Explorer, go to the menu and select Internet Options. Under the General Tab, look for Browsing History and click “Delete…” On the pop-up window, check the box for “Temporary Internet files and website files” and click Delete.
In Mozilla Firefox, go to the Options menu and select the Privacy tab. Under History, click “clear your recent history.” In the pop-up window, select the time range you want to clear. To empty your cache completely, select “Everything” from the drop-down menu. Now click “Details” and check the box next to “Cache.” To keep everything else, uncheck the other boxes. Then click Clear Now.
In Google Chrome, click the setting button at the top right of your browser window. Select More Tools and then Clear Browsing Data. Check the box next to “Cached images and data,” uncheck anything you don’t want removed, and select the appropriate time frame. To remove all cache, select “from the beginning of time.” Then click the “Clear browsing data” button.
What is CPU cache?
Your computer also uses cache to store frequently accessed information in faster memory. If your operating system needs to access the same information on a regular basis, storing it on your hard drive, which runs much slower than your CPU, is inefficient and could impact your system’s performance. Therefore, modern processor chips include their own cache, typically in multiple, hierarchical levels. Like your web browser, when your CPU need information, it will first check the cache. If the information it needs is there, the data is available almost instantly. When you’re shopping for a new computer, it’s a good idea to research the CPU cache, because the more cache available, the less your computer will have to access slower memory, and the faster your computer will run.