Cache and Cookies: A Beginner’s Intro

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Web browsers usually monitor what you access online in a subtle manner that might go unnoticed. The primary goal is to enable users to surf efficiently without the downtime and other interruptions.

Browser history plays a significant role in helping you navigate faster to your most-frequented website, blog, or social media page. Various cache files and cookies help enhance your online experience, but you need to clear the stored data and gain control of your surfing sessions.

Understanding and monitoring cached data and cookies allows enhancing data safety in addition to maintaining the device storage space.

Let us define the basic terms used when you talk about browser history.

Browser

An Internet browser is an application that allows you to access the web pages. Whether you want to visit a social network or Google information, the web browser is the link that permits you to browse the internet. Some of the web browsers are Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

Browser history

When you access websites, the browser takes note and records the entire history. The list includes site names and the time of visit. It also includes searches, downloads, cached data, and cookies. Since the browser stores this information locally, you can easily visit previously visited sites and pages.

Cache

The cache is a small storage unit in the CPU that holds temporary web files to enable faster loading times when browsing online. When you visit a site or open an app for the first time, the browser saves cached data into the system. Caching refers to the entire process of storing the temporary information.

For instance, if you frequently visit a particular social site, the browser saves the website’s cached data for easier access later when you revisit the site. It means the web pages will load much faster than the first time since they are in the local storage space and not the site’s servers. Moreover, cached data saves data bandwidth and maintains a seamless network experience without interruptions.

Cookies

The browser stores small data pieces in the computer’s system each time you visit a particular website. Re-accessing the website again sends the saved cookies back to the website to activate a more customized online experience. Thus, cookies are meant to better the users’ browsing activities on different websites.

The cookies tracks and takes note of your activity on particular websites. For instance, if you are shopping in a specific online store, the site’s cookies monitor the items you viewed. However, if you log out before order completion and visit the site later, the saved cookies communicate with the website and reveal your previous history and the items you viewed or placed in the cart.

Numerous types of cookies exist, but let us define two major cookies:

  • Persistent

These cookies are also called first-party, and they monitor users’ preferences online, for instance, during online shopping. Unlike other cookies, persistent will store data for a long time on your computer system until expiry or clearing.

  • Session

These types of cookies store browsing data for a short time and go after closing the web browser.

Should You Clear Browsing History?

Now that you understand the connection between cookies, cache, and browsers, the next question is should you clear your browsing history? Today, most people spend more time online searching for information and visiting numerous websites. Over time, devices accumulate with piles of cached data and cookies, which might compromise device performance, especially on mobile phones or tablets. Computers or laptops may withstand the cookies and cached data because of high memory space.

Therefore, it makes sense to clear your browser history regularly to enhance the system’s functionality on your device. Though there is no set rule for history clearing, some smartphones may require it more frequently than other devices. It is imperative to note that when you decide to clear the browsing history, the exercise also deletes piles of cache data and cookies from the local storage. Cache and cookies are beneficial to the user’s online experience; however, you might encounter system issues over an extended period. That is why it is essential to regularly clear browser history to avoid bug errors in applications, formatting problems and mitigate certain online risks