how to install varnish cache in ubuntu

How to Install Varnish in Ubuntu

Varnish is a high performance caching module commonly used for Apache web server. Here’s how to install Varnish in Ubuntu. In this article we will see how to setup varnish, how to change port on varnish, how to configure varnish and how to restart varnish. You can also use these steps to install Varnish in CentOS, Debian, Redhat and other Linux systems.


How to Install Varnish in Ubuntu

Here are the steps to install Varnish in Ubuntu.


1. Install Apache

If you have already installed Apache web server, you can skip to step 3.

Open terminal, and run the following command to update Ubuntu modules.

$ sudo apt-get update

Then run the following command to install Apache on Ubuntu.

$ sudo apt-get install apache2

Enter Y if asked for confirmation.

Bonus Read : Find Apache Document Root in Ubuntu


2. Test Apache installation

Open web browser and type the following in address bar

You will see the default Apache web page with message “It works!”


3. Install Varnish HTTP Cache

Run the following command to install Varnish in Ubuntu.

$ sudo apt-get install varnish

Enter Y when asked for confirmation.

Bonus Read : How to Fix 503 Service Temporarily Available Error


4. Change ports for Apache

By default, Apache runs on port 80. We need to make Varnish run on port 80 and Apache run on another port (e.g 8080) to install Varnish in Ubuntu.

So open Apache’s port configuration file using the following command

$ sudo nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf


Change the line Listen 80 to Listen 8080 so it will look as shown below

Listen 8080
<IfModule ssl_module>
     Listen 443
<IfModule mod_gnutls.c>
     Listen 443

Save and exit the file.

We also need to change listening port for Apache virtual hosts. Open Apache’s default virtual host file

$ sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf

Change <VirtualHost *:80> to <VirtualHost *:8080> to make it as shown below.


<VirtualHost *:8080>

Save and exit the file.


Restart Apache web server to apply changes and make it run on port 8080.

$ sudo service apache2 restart


Bonus Read : How to Redirect Without Changing URL


5. Change Varnish Port to 80

Next we configure Varnish to listen to port 80 and forward requests to port 8080. For that, open Varnish configuration file

$ sudo nano /etc/default/varnish


Look for DAEMON_OPTS directive and change the listening port from 6081 to 80

DAEMON_OPTS="-a :80 \
             -T localhost:6082 \
             -f /etc/varnish/default.vcl \
             -S /etc/varnish/secret \
             -s malloc,256m"


Save and close the file

Next, open /etc/varnish/default.vcl using text editor.

$ sudo nano /etc/varnish/default.vcl


Its contents will look something like the following. Make sure the port value is 8080 as shown in bold

# Default backend definition. Set this to point to your content server.
backend default {
     .host = "";
     .port = "8080";


Lastly, we need to edit the port number in /lib/systemd/system/varnish.service. Open it in a text editor

$ sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/varnish.service


Change the port from 6081 to 80 as show in bold

Description=Varnish HTTP accelerator
Documentation= man:varnishd
ExecStart=/usr/sbin/varnishd -j unix,user=vcache -F -a :80 -T localhost:6082 -f$

Bonus Read : How to Fix 500 Internal Server Error in Apache


6. Restart Apache, Varnish and Systemd Daemon

Open terminal and run the following commands to restart Apache, Varnish and Systemd Daemon. This will apply all changes.

$ sudo systemctl restart apache2
$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$ sudo systemctl restart varnish


7. Test the Varnish Configuration

Run the following curl command to get the output from our web server

$ curl -I server_IP

You will see response similar to following. The response header parts in bold indicates that Varnish cache is working.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2018 20:56:11 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
Last-Modified: Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:19:34 GMT
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Type: text/html
X-Varnish: 7
Age: 0
Via: 1.1 varnish (Varnish/5.2)
ETag: W/"2aa6-56fc2ab77545d-gzip"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Connection: keep-alive


That’s it! You have installed Varnish cache in Ubuntu.

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