Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Browser History, Cache and Cookies, Oh My!

You may have heard of cache and cookies related to web-browsing and thought, while craving a sleeve of thin mints and a glass of cold milk, what in the world does that mean? Put simply, when a web browser is used to access the internet, that web browser, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, saves a little bit of the information from the website you are visiting. For example, if you frequently visit a webpage that contains a lot of images, your browser may save some of the images so that the webpage can load faster. Cookies and cache are also what are used to autofill your username and password on some websites.

What happens when you visit the same sites over and over again is that your web browser may try to access cached data that has timed out. That makes your browser think that you are signed in already, but the website things that you need to sign in again. This can cause a multitude of problems with the access to the site that can cause problems like blank pages, pages that look like a bunch of colored text, etc.

Periodically clearing your cache and cookies can help with this. Honestly, this is not something that I remember to do on a regular basis on its own, but it is one of the things that I try when troubleshooting a problem accessing a web page. The instructions are below, inserted from: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95582

Delete all your data

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Tools.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove.
  5. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything.
  6. Click Clear browsing data.
You can choose any timeframe for deleting cache and cookies, but generally I choose "the beginning of time." You will also have options for what types of browsing history to clear. I generally choose the top 4 boxes and that solves the problem most of the time.

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