What I want to do is try to get search engines to rescan my sitemap files (plain xml files stored on server). It did recently attempt to access it but it received a not modified response (HTTP status 304) from the server.

Is there any configuration setting I can apply to apache so that any future requests to successful xml files return HTTP status 200 (regardless of if the browser issues a if-modified-since or if-none-match header or not) instead of HTTP status 304?

2 Answers 2


Let me make your question a little simpler.. :)

What ?

  • Send 200 response instead of 304

How ?

Just add this configuration in your Apache setup.

<filesMatch "\.(xml)$">
  FileETag None
  <ifModule mod_headers.c>
     Header unset ETag
     Header set Cache-Control "max-age=0, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate"
     Header set Pragma "no-cache"
     Header set Expires "Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT"

Why ?

  • Setting this in your configuration would send header not to cache this file i.e. sitemap.
  • When sitemap isn't cached, the downloader (in this case the bot), would download file again and again, instead of just reading HEADER and leaving with 304.
  • By What I want to do is try to get search engines to rescan my sitemap files, I mean making it so that google actually rescans the files when I want instead of when it is good and ready to scan again. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 16:18

I think, like this would help:

<FilesMatch "\.(xml)$">
ExpiresDefault A14515200

<files sitemap.xml> 
Header set last-modified "Sun Jul 00:00:00 EDT 2015" 

But i haven't tried, which answer code would have the sitemap.

Another way is to update your sitemap with help of Search Console API, like here:

PS: after i read your question twice, i think, these topics would be helpful too:

  • Your answer misses Cache-Control, Pragma, Expires and Etag headers, which might return 304 too.
    – skbly7
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 8:05

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