Cache is a reserved storage location that collects temporary data to help websites, browsers and apps load faster. Whether it's a desktop computer, laptop or phone, web browser or app, you'll find a variety of caches.

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What is cache?

You're most likely familiar with this if you've tried to troubleshoot your computer or needed to clear your browsing history - here, you've probably been prompted to clear your cache.

Advantages of cache

From a user point of view, there are three advantages of caches.

  • They make everything run faster. The main benefit of cache is that it improves system performance. For example, by storing local copies of website files, your browser only needs to download this information the first time you visit the site and can load the local files on subsequent visits.
  • The save data. To help improve performance, apps cache recent and frequently used data. Not only does this allow everything to run faster as previously mentioned, but in some cases it can allow apps to operate "offline". For example, if you don't have internet access, an app can rely on cached data to continue working even without a connection.
  • They store data for later use. There is a lot of efficiency in downloading files only once. If a copy of a file is cached, the app doesn't have to waste time, battery and other resources downloading it each time. Instead, the app only needs to download modified or new files.

Disadvantages of cache

While modern software is often very dependent on the use of cache, there are also some drawbacks.

  • They can take up a lot of storage space. In principle, a cache is a small store of files. But sometimes caches can grow large and thus limit the free space on your device. Clearing the cache can delete the files and restore a large amount of memory.
  • A corrupted cache can make your device behave badly. If there is something wrong with a file stored in the cache, it can cause it to display incorrect data, fail or even crash. Therefore, it is common and necessary to clean up your cache from time to time.
  • Caches can prevent apps from loading the latest version of a website or other data. In theory, apps should only use the cache to display files that have not changed since the last visit. However, this doesn't always work, and sometimes the only way to see the latest version of a website or other info is by clearing the cache, forcing it to download everything new.

Read more about speed optimization.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

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