Office of Information Technology

Clearing Your Web Browser's Cache

How to delete history, cache, and cookies

What's a cache?
Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (i.e., stores) it. Thus, the browser doesn't have to newly retrieve files (including any images on the page) from the remote web site each time you click Back or Forward. You should periodically clear the cache to allow your browser to function more efficiently.

What's a cookie?
A cookie is a file created by a web browser, at the request of a web site, that is stored on a computer. These files typically store user-specific information such as selections in a form, shopping cart contents, or authentication data. Browsers will normally clear cookies that reach a certain age, but clearing them manually may solve problems with web sites or your browser.

What's browser history?
A browser's history is a log of sites that you visit. When you press a browser's Back button, you are moving back one entry the history log. Browsers will normally clear history at regular intervals, but you may want to clear it manually for privacy reasons.


Select your browser from the list below to learn more about how to clear its cache.

Internet Exporer

Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

Apple Safari


If you do not see instructions for your specific version or browser, search your browser's Help menu for "clear cache". If you're unsure what browser version you're using, from the Help menu, select About [browser name]. In Internet Explorer and Firefox, if you do not see the menu bar, press  Alt .

Note: When troubleshooting issues with any website, after clearing your browser's cache and cookies, exit your browser completely before attempting to access the site again. In Windows, close all your browser windows; in Mac OS X, quit ( Command-q ) your browser.

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