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Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture. A high level overview of what Varnish does can be seen in the video attached to this web page.

Configuration Files

  • Used for parameters and command line arguments. When you change this, you need to run service varnish restart for the changes to take effect.

Debian based


Redhat / CentOS


  • The VCL file. You can change the file name by editing /etc/default/varnish if you want to, but it’s normal to use the default name. This contains your VCL and backend-definitions. After changing this, you can run either service varnish reload, which will not restart Varnish, or you can run service varnish restart, which empties the cache.
backend default {
   .host = "localhost";
   .port = "8080";