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Apache and Varnish

Nathan Salt -

PROBLEM

I want to use Varnish

ENVIRONMENT

  • On-Premise Server + WebMail Installations: Version 6.0 > Current Version
  • Webmail Only Installations: Version 6.0 > Current Version

CAUSE

Speed up HTTP transactions

RESOLUTION

Varnish is a state-of-the-art, high-performance HTTP accelerator, used by sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

You can enable Varnish for your site by following these steps:

1.) Download Varnish from: http://sourceforge.net/projects/varnish/files/

2.) Untar, install:

% tar xvfz varnish-2.1.2.tar.gz
% cd varnish-2.1.2
% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/varnish/
% make && make install

3.) Open up your /usr/local/varnish/etc/varnish/default.vcl, and set this line block:

backend default {
.host = "127.0.0.1";
.port = "8080";
}

This will set the hostname and the port where your webserver will stay. This will be the connection details for your webserver. In this case, we will use a local webserver running on port 8080.

4.) Open up your Apache configuration file. Find:

Listen 80

5.) Change to your preferred alternate port:

Listen 8080

6.) Restart Apache:

% apachectl restart

7.) Start Varnish:

% /usr/local/varnish/sbin/varnishd -a :80 -b localhost:8080 -T localhost:8090 -s file,/usr/local/varnish/varnish.cache,4G

To explain the settings briefly:

-a :80 defines the port for Varnish to run on.
-b localhost:8080 defines the port and host of the webserver you want to cache
-T localhost:8090 defines the port and host for the Varnish terminal to run in
-s file,/usr/local/varnish/varnish.cache,4G defines the cache file, and the size limit.

Congratulations! You now have Varnish running.

For more information about Varnish Cache, see: http://varnish-cache.org

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