As of January 2022, 4.95 billion people, or about two-thirds of the world’s population, use the internet. Every day, each one of them spends close to a whopping seven hours online, on average.
If you’re in the same boat, it’s more than likely you’ve encountered the terms, history, cookies, and cache.
The big question is, do you know why it’s crucial to clear them regularly? If not, and if you aren’t deleting them either, it’s time that you learn the facts.
Don’t worry, as this guide details all the reasons you need to remove history, cookies, and cache. Keep reading, as it can make a difference in your browsing experience and online safety.
Prevents Content and Display Problems
Your browser creates a log of every website you visit, which, in turn, makes up its history. That record also includes a cache, which stores small pieces of data about each site you visit. It may also store cookies, tiny files meant to personalize your browsing experience.
All that data remains in your browser’s history indefinitely or until you clear it.
The thing is, sites that you frequent may perform updates during that period. If they do and your browser still has a record of them, incompatibilities may occur.
For example, suppose one of the sites you often visit has forms you fill out regularly. Let’s also say that they updated their site, including the forms’ online files.
If you haven’t cleared your history and cache, your browser may load the outdated files. That can then result in your browser encountering content problems or display issues.
Even if you can still access the old forms, their content may not correctly transmit after you send them. That may result in their recipient being unable to get the information you provided. So, it’s a complete waste of time on both your and their end.
Helps Minimize Unwanted Ads
Have you ever noticed how you see online ads about things you like after visiting a shopping site? If so, then that’s likely the work of cookies, which enable advertisers to show you targeted ads.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous advertisers can extend that to your email. They can use your browsing history and the cookies you accepted to gain access to your email address. It’s not going to take long before they fill your inboxes with ads you likely don’t want to see.
So, before any of that happens, take the time to remove cookies, clear cache, and delete your history.
Keeps Things Private
As noted on https://setapp.com/how-to/clear-firefox-history-on-mac, browsing history simplifies web navigation. After all, thanks to this system, you don’t have to keep typing the URL of sites you visit each time you want to check them.
However, that convenience comes with the risk of potential privacy breaches. That can happen if you use a public or shared computer. Failure to remove search history can make them privy to the sites and content you viewed.
Safeguards Your Personal Information
A browser’s cache may store the private, sensitive data that sites you visit may require. That may include your complete name, home or business address, and the last four digits of a credit card.
If you don’t clear your browser’s cache, someone who uses your computer can access all that data. That person may then use tools to guess your credit card details. They may even use your sensitive information to commit fraud or identity theft.
Financial identity theft is a federal crime, but unfortunately, 47% of people in the US fell victim to it in 2020. They also lost a staggering $712.4 billion due to those crimes.
You don’t want to be part of the statistics, so regularly clear your history, cache, and cookies.
Mitigates Risks of Potential Browser Bugs
Despite their reliability, browsers are still prone to security bugs and vulnerabilities.
A perfect example is the IndexedDB API problem discovered in Safari in January 2022. Experts said that the bug could leak browsing activity in real-time. They even warned how it could give anyone who exploits the flaw access to user credentials.
Dozens of attacks, known as cross-leaks or XS-leaks, also target browsers. Malicious sites use these programs to steal personal data from users. They can also infiltrate the browsers themselves, including their entire history.
If you don’t clear your browser history, cache, and cookies, you may fall victim to those leaks.
Protects Against Activities of Malicious Extensions
In December 2020, security experts found 28 browser extensions with malicious intentions. Fifteen were for Chrome, while the rest was for Microsoft Edge. They had codes that allowed them to collect personal data and browsing history.
Even worse, three million users could have downloaded those extensions.
Google and Microsoft have since then taken those malicious programs down. Still, that should tell you how risky it is to maintain your browsing records. That’s enough reason to perform regular clean-ups of your browser data.
Improves Performance of Browsers and Sites
It may seem counterintuitive, but clearing the cache can help boost a browser’s speed. That’s especially true if it’s been months or years since you last deleted all that stored data. Deleting that pile of information frees up space, thus, improving your browser’s performance.
There are also cases wherein cache build-up can interfere with a site’s performance. That can result from duplicate or outdated site files stored in your history. They can lead to slow-loading pages, error messages, or even unresponsiveness.
Experiencing those symptoms should tell you that it’s time to clear your browser.
Regularly Remove History, Cookies, and Cache
As you can see, deleting browser data can help improve browser and site performance. It can also prevent annoying ads from targeting you and filling your inboxes. But most importantly, it protects your identity and helps you stay safe as you navigate the web.
So, if you haven’t yet, remove history, cookies, and cache from all the browsers you use.
Did you find this article informative? If so, then we’ve got more guides to share with you, so browse more of our blog now!