One of the most frequent steps that our Support team asks our clients to do when we're working with them to figure out an unexpected issue is to clear the cache and cookies from their browser. Like it or not, it's an important first step for almost any troubleshooting procedure.

What is caching?

The 'cache' is a tool used by your internet browser to speed up the page loading process. Any element that appears on multiple pages within a single site - for instance, the image file representing your company’s logo - will be placed in the browser's cache. This is really just a local folder on your hard drive that stores a copy of frequently-accessed page resources. Because it's faster to load an image from your hard drive than it is to download it from a remote server, the browser just goes back to the cache every time it needs to display the logo when you surf to a new page. This saves not only the time needed to download the image file, but it also conserves network bandwidth. Caches are a very effective way to make browsing the web faster, more convenient and less aggravating.


What are cookies?

Cookies are also files that are saved on your hard drive. Instead of representing content that's displayed on a website though, they represent settings selected by the individual person who's using the browser. For instance, if a user browses to a website, signs into their account, and selects the "remember me" option, then the next time the user visits that site, they won't have to type in their username - the site will 'remember' it because the user's preference to do so was written into a 'cookie' file that was saved on their computer's hard drive. Any time a site asks a user to select preferences, there's a good chance those preferences will be saved in a cookie.


So why is it sometimes a problem to keep the cache and cookies around?

Because sites change and develop over time. When a site is updated, the files saved in the cache may conflict with what's actually coded into the website. 

Depending on what files are stored in the cache for a given website, caching errors can be fairly broad in scope. If a logo file is cached, the error could be limited to simply displaying outdated content. But if one of the files that controls how the website operates is cached, then the end user can see some unexpected, buggy behaviour. The length of time that a file remains in the cache varies; most browsers have controls allowing users to dictate how long cached files are kept around before the browser decides they're outdated and need to be refreshed. From our perspective, having a user clear their cache and cookies when we're troubleshooting an issue is a way to ensure that we're seeing exactly the same website as the person we're working with.

MYBOS is a system undergoing continuous transformation thus requiring more frequent updates than what is usual for other such applications. Some of these updates are behavioural and that’s why some times our users observe buggy behaviour if they haven’t cleared their cache after an update is applied. While we feel their pain, this is how the internet browsers work and unfortunately there is not much we can do to change a browser’s behaviour. We hope you understand.