How to clear your browser cache or cookies

When you visit a webpage for the first time, it is often slow to load and display all its elements. When you visit a second time, the process seems to be instantaneous. That is because the page is not loading from scratch; rather, it is loading (at least in part) from the stored version in your web browser's memory, commonly referred to as a cache.

Sometimes, the cached version of a page is too far out of date for the current version to display properly or update quickly, so the site appears not to be loading or the graphics get jumbled together. When this happens, you may be instructed to clear your cache and/or cookies. (Clearing your cookies is not always needed, and it can cause you to be logged out of sites you've saved passwords for, as well as emptying saved shopping carts, for example. We will always recommend clearing your cache, but it is usually a matter of personal choice whether to clear your cookies as well.)

For your convenience, we have provided instructions for clearing your cache in the most popular browsers. If your preferred browser is not listed below, you may find the instructions in your browser's help menu.

Your browser's Tools or Options menu is typically located at the top right corner of the browser window, on the same line as the address bar. It may look like a gear, a stack of dots, or a set of parallel lines.

A Tools menu may look like a gear A Tools menu may look like a stack of dots A Tools menu may look like parallel lines

Internet Explorer 11

  1. Open the Tools menu.
  2. Near the bottom of the Tools drop-down, click Internet options.
  3. On the General tab, click the Delete button under Browsing history.
  4. Make sure Temporary Internet files and website files is selected.
  5. Click Delete.

Firefox

  1. Open the menu.
  2. Select History.
  3. Select Clear Recent History...
  4. Click the down arrow beside Details and make sure Cache is selected.
  5. In the drop-down called Time range to clear:, choose Everything.
  6. Click Clear Now.

Google Chrome

  1. Open the Tools menu, then select More tools.
  2. Click the Clear browsing data button.
  3. Make sure Cached images and files is selected.
  4. In the drop-down called Obliterate the following items from:, select the beginning of time.
  5. Click Clear browsing data.

Safari

  1. Click the Safari menu.
  2. Select Reset Safari.
  3. Make sure Empty the Cache is selected.
  4. Click Reset.
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