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This paper studies the optimal placement of web files for en-route web caching. It is shown that existing placement policies are all solving restricted partial problems of the file placement problem, and therefore give only sub-optimal solutions. A dynamic programming algorithm of low complexity which computes the optimal solution is presented. It is shown both analytically and experimentally that the file-placement solution output by our algorithm outperforms existing en-route caching policies. The optimal placement of web files can be implemented with a reasonable level of cache coordination and management overhead for en-route caching; and importantly, it can be achieved with or without using data prefetching.