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Tech Term: Cache

Tech Term: Cache

You may have heard technology professionals use the word “cache,” pronounced cash, in their day-to-day duties, but do you really know what it means? Generally, the context of this word is that users should “clear the cache,” but unless you know what that process entails, you won’t really understand what the cache does or why it’s used in this way. This week’s tech term is cache, so let’s see what hidden treasures this word yields.

What is a Cache?
Like many words used in computing, a cache has a meaning outside of technology and computers. In short, a cache is a hidden collection of something or another. Perhaps your office kitchen has a hidden cache of goodies, or you keep a small cache of bottled water under your desk for emergencies. Either way, a cache is a collection of something that is generally meant to be hidden away--something that isn’t typically seen by the general masses.

In regards to computing, a cache is a hardware or software function that stores data so that it can be processed faster in the future. This can be something as simple as a cache for your network’s data so that it can travel faster down the pipeline, or it could be a web browser storing information so that it can load webpages faster. Either way, the cache is meant to help your organization better access the information it needs to succeed.

What Happens If You Clear the Cache?
So how does the phrase “clear the cache” come into play? If you clear the cache on your web browser using a keyboard shortcut like Ctrl+F5, you give your device a chance to update any information that’s stored by it. This includes cookies and other data that the website might store. This is helpful for if a website has been updated since the last time you visited it, or if you are using a web application that has recently been updated. Caches are generally most effective when they are kept small, so keep this in mind to get the most out of your technology.

Of course, you’ll want to think twice about clearing the cache or making any drastic changes to your network without consulting a professional. Of course, the process of caching is a little more complicated than this, but if you need to know more, we’re always happy to discuss with you what you do need to know. To learn more about caching and all things technology, reach out to us at 312-253-4321.

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