When fixing common WordPress errors, one common piece of advice that you would often receive is to “clear your browser cache”.
Since you don’t need to clear browser cache for day to day internet use, most non-techy users are not familiar with the process.
In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to quickly clear your browser cache in all major browsers, step by step. We will also explain what is browser cache and how browser caching works.
What is Browser Cache?
Browser cache is a technology used by most popular web browsers to save visited website’s data on a user’s computer. This allows the browser to quickly display a webpage on your next visit.
The logic behind it is that downloading static files from a WordPress hosting server located far away will take more time than reusing the resources from the user’s computer. This reduces the overall page load time and makes your online experience faster.
Why browsers cache static content?
For example, if you visit a WordPress website then the content of your posts and pages is more likely to change than your WordPress theme.
This is why browsers keep a copy of these static files in a temporary storage folder on your computer, so they use that copy on your next website visit.
If you are using a WordPress caching plugin, then it may add guidelines for browsers to cache your static content along with expiration instructions for each resource type.
Most of the time – you never even notice browser caching happening. It runs entirely behind the scenes and usually doesn’t affect your browsing experience. But…sometimes things can go wrong.
For example, you might make a change to your site…but you’re unable to see that change because your browser is still serving up the cached version of that resource. Or, the cache might have become corrupted and is actually interfering with the proper functioning of a web page.
This is when you need to force reload that page in other words clear your browser cache.
- Force browser to refresh / reload a page (Shortcut)
- How to Clear Cache for Google Chrome
- How to Clear Cache for Mozilla Firefox
- Clearing browser cache in Internet Explorer
- Clearing browser cache in Edge
- Clearing browser cache in Safari
- Clearing browser cache in Opera
Forcing Browsers to Hard Refresh / Reload a Page
Before you clear your browser cache, you may want to try this step because it’s much faster and easier (this is what the Pros do).
Basically, when you click on the refresh button in your browser, it will load static content from browser cache. However by using a keyboard shortcut, you can force the browser to bypass cache and download a fresh version of the web page.
Simply press the following keys to force a hard refresh in your web browser.
- Google Chrome on Mac: Command + Shift + R
- Google Chrome on Windows & Linux: CTRL + F5
- Firefox on Mac: Command + Shift + R
- Firefox on Windows & Linux: CTRL + F5
- Safari: Command + Option + R
- Opera on Mac: Command + Alt + R
- Opera on Windows: Shift + F5
Normally forcing a hard refresh will solve your problem. However if it dose not, then you need to clear your browser cache to make sure that you are seeing the live version of a web page.
To clear the cache for Google Chrome, get started by clicking the Three Dots icon in the top right of your browser window. Then, find the More Tools option and select Clear browsing data… from the submenu:
Alternatively, you can also use the hotkey combination: CTRL + SHIFT + DEL. Chrome will open up a new tab with a popup window titled Clear Browsing Data. Make sure that only the Cached images and files box is checked. Otherwise, you might accidentally clear your browsing history, saved passwords, cookies, and more:
To clear the browser cache for Mozilla Firefox, get started by clicking the Hamburger icon in the top right and selecting History:
Then, in the menu that appears next, select Clear Recent History…
Mozilla Firefox clear recent history
You can also access the menu by using the shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + DEL. Firefox will then open a popup. In the Time range to clear: drop-down, select Everything. Then, make sure to only check the Cache box to avoid clearing important browsing data. Then, click Clear Now to clear your cache:
Clearing Browser Cache in Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer was the default web browser on Windows computers until it was replaced by the new Microsoft Edge browser.
However, many users still use it. If you are one of those users, then this is how you’ll clear browser cache in Internet Explorer.
First, you need to launch the Internet Explorer on your computer. After, that you need to click on the gear icon at the top right corner and then select Safety » Delete browsing history….
Next, you need to uncheck the option to ‘Preserve Favorites website data’, check ‘Temporary internet files’, and optionally check the ‘Cookies’ option.
Clearing Browser cache in Edge
Edge is the default browser on Windows 10 computers. Here is how you will clear browser cache in Microsoft Edge.
First, you need to open the Edge browser on your computer. After that, you need to click on the three-dot menu at the top-right corner of the screen and select ‘Settings’ option.
Next, you need to click on the ‘Choose what to clear’ button under the ‘Clear browsing data’ section.
This will bring up the ‘Clear browsing data’ panel. From here, you need to select ‘Cached data and files’ and ‘Cookies and website data’ options. Click on the ‘Clear’ button and Microsoft Edge will now clear browser cache
Clearing Browser Cache in Safari
Safari is the default browser on the Mac operating system. Here is how to clear browser cache in Safari.
First, you need to open the Safari web browser on your computer. After that. click on the History » Clear History… option from the top menu.
‘Clear’ dropdown menu and then click on the ‘Delete browsing History..’
Clearing Browser Cache in Opera
If you are using Opera web browser, then here is how to clear your browser cache in Opera.
Fist, open the Opera web browser on your computer. After that, click on the menu icon on the top right corner of the screen and then click on the ‘Clear browsing data’ button.
This will bring up a popup on the screen. From here, first you need to select ‘All time’ next to the time range dropdown menu. After that, check the box next to the ‘Cached images and files’ option. You can now click on the ‘Clear’ button, and Opera will empty your browser cache.