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How do I Delete Web History?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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When people use a web browser, it often keeps track of the places they’ve been. If they want to make sure that no one else can gain access to this very open record, they’ll need to find a way to delete web history. Though there are some obvious reasons why people delete their histories that suggest greater interest in private topics, there are plenty of other reasons why deleting histories could make sense. These could include making sure that another member of a household doesn’t see shopping sites where gifts could have been purchased or it could spring from a desire to clean out the history, cookies and all others to see if a browser runs a little more quickly.

Each person wanting to delete web history is usually best served by following directions for the browser used, which are widely available on the Internet. Many browsers do have a command located under a history tab that says something like “clear all history” or “delete history.” Clicking this is only part of the process, and the command may take a while to fully operate if a history is huge, encompassing weeks or months of searching.

Using the delete web history command is usually only step one. People may need to “clean” in a few other areas. They may, for instance, want to get rid of all cookies, and there are several different ways this may be accomplished. Often, people find cookie deletion steps in their preferences or security preferences and can opt to get rid of all cookies. Again, having a guide for specific search engines is useful to locate this area quickly.

Other steps in completely clearing web history might include getting rid of forms, clearing a cache, and deleting files. These steps may be necessary for total security and privacy. That might appear to fully delete history, were it not for the fact that many companies keep track of searches people make on their sites. These could include shopping sites, search engines like Google®, and entertainment sites like YouTube® and others.

To get rid of recent searches, people usually need to perform the above actions, clearing history and dropping cookies before they log in to one of these sites. They then need to search for privacy settings, and can often alter settings so that subsequent searches aren’t tracked and all searches before are deleted. How to delete web history of this type is usually individualized to each site and not always an option.

People who routinely want to delete web history or clean cookies have access to a number of programs that may do this automatically. Cookie cleaners are programs that remove cookies when a computer boots or shuts down. History cleaners can perform cleanings of cookies and search information on many major browsers, and these programs might also be worth investigating.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Drentel — On Mar 18, 2014

As the article alluded to, with some computers you have to delete your web history to get the machine to operate better. I had a desktop computer that required me to delete the web history every ten to 30 minutes, depending on how much I was surfing the Internet at the time.

I always knew I needed to delete when the computer slowed down, or it started malfunctioning. Sometimes the machine would just freeze and I would have to restart it. The whole process was frustrating.

By mobilian33 — On Mar 17, 2014

When I first began to use a desktop computer it was at work. I didn't have a home computer at the time and I wasn't familiar with computers at all. Of course this was some years ago. Anyway, I was fascinated by the computer and I ended up searching sites that I shouldn't have been on.

Unfortunately, at that time, I didn't have enough experience with computers to even know there was such a thing as browsing history. To make a long story short, I was totally embarrassed when my boss had me come into her office so we could review several of the websites I had visited. Believe me, I couldn't pass them off as work related.

The good news is didn't get fired, and I have been a stickler for deleting my browsing history ever since that day.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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