Cookie vs. Cache
Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock
Have you ever been asked to clear your “cache,” with absolutely zero idea of what that means or what you’re being asked to recognize, let alone reorganize or clean? In tech terms, a “cache” is your computer’s record of the bits and pieces of each website that it anticipates will look the same the next time you visit. This storage locker of sorts is meant to speed up the process of your Internet page visits. A “cookie,” on the other hand (not the chocolate chip kind) is more like a personal log of what you did on a given website during your last visit—what you clicked on, which items you added to your wish list, the password you entered. “While that might sound a little sinister, both are really meant to make the site more convenient for you,” says Jeremy Arnold, co-founder of Launch, a social dating app for singles and matchmakers. “When a website isn’t working properly for you specifically, it’s often because of an unexpected error connected to one of those two tools—i.e., something was changed on the website, but your stored records aren’t registering the change properly.” When this happens, a tech support agent will often encourage you to ‘clear your cookies and cache,’ which wipes out those archives to solve the problem.