Hello number one SEO community. This time I`ve got a tough question (at least for me :). Do you remove Etag from headers? What sort of implications can it have on the website. Thanks a lot for the answers.
Setting an etag is a good thing, better than not setting one at all. However using an etag on its own still means that the client needs to request a cached asset (passing the etag back to the server) and if it matches, receiving a 304 not modified response (fast, light weight) or the full resource if it doesn`t match (equivalent to not having an etag at all).
With that in mind, I`d be more interested in setting cache-control max-age and last modified headers so that once a client has downloaded the resources once - the browser won`t request in subsequent page loads until the cache becomes invalidated.
I checked the documentation for HTML5 Boilerplate+ and they are removing the etag by default because it isn`t consistently generated in a clustered web hosting environment by default.
Most websites aren`t load balanced, so the etag is consistently generated and it isn`t a problem but I guess they are just covering their bases and providing that option but it could be disabled easily if you wanted to continue serving etags.
+ Thank you very much for the answer. That was very helpful. Mobile boilerplates suggest removing Etag so I was wondering if this is the way to go. I try to build RWD websites and optimize them so I wonder if removing Etag can be helpful in this respect.