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How E-Tags Improve Website Performance and User Experience


As the internet has evolved, web page loading times have become increasingly important. In fact, research has found that 47% of people expect a web page to load in less than 2 seconds. Beyond the benefits of lower bounce rates and higher rankings on Google, fast loading websites also improve user experience.

One technique that has gained popularity in recent years is E Tags.

E Tags, also known as entity tags, are HTTP response headers. Their primary purpose is to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred from the server to the browser for a specific asset. These assets can include images, CSS files, JavaScript files, and more.

When the browser requests an asset, the server responds with an E Tag. The E Tag is essentially a unique identifier for the asset, created by the server as it serves the asset. The browser stores the E Tag in its cache, along with the corresponding asset. When the browser requests the same asset again, it sends the E Tag along with the request.

The server then checks whether the E Tag matches the identifier for the current version of the asset. If it does, the server can respond with a 304 Not Modified status code, indicating that the current cached version can be used instead of serving a new copy of the asset. This process is known as a conditional request, and it eliminates the need for the server to transfer the asset again, reducing server load and speeding up the loading time for the user.

PROs and CONs

E Tags can also benefit users who access a website from a slow or unreliable network. In these cases, it may be beneficial to reduce the number of requests that are necessary to load a page. By using E Tags, the server can tell the browser which assets are already cached, allowing the browser to avoid requesting them again.

However, it is important to note that E Tags are not always beneficial. If the E Tag is not implemented correctly, it can actually increase the load time of a page. For example, if the E Tag is changed every time the asset is updated, the benefit of using E Tags is lost, since every request will result in a 200 OK response instead of a 304 Not Modified response.


Overall, E Tags are a powerful tool to improve website performance and user experience. By reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred from the server to the browser, they can help speed up the loading time for both new and returning visitors. However, it is important to implement E Tags correctly to avoid any potential negative impact on website performance.

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