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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.


Install the varnish package.

Customizing Varnish

By default, varnish comes configured in /etc/varnish/default.vcl to use localhost:8080 as the only backend, default.vcl is called by the default systemd varnish.service file :

Description=Web Application Accelerator

ExecStart=/usr/bin/varnishd -a -f /etc/varnish/default.vcl -T localhost:6082 -s malloc,64M -u nobody -g nobody -F


systemctl enable merely makes a symlink to the default

$ systemctl enable varnish
ln -s '/usr/lib/systemd/system/varnish.service' '/etc/systemd/system/'

Override the defaults in the unit file by using systemctl edit.

$ systemctl edit varnish.service

To override ExecStart use an empty ExecStart line first and then an ExecStart with the new values. Eg.

ExecStart=/usr/bin/varnishd -j unix,user=nobody -F -a :6081 -T localhost:6082 -f /etc/varnish/default.vcl -S /etc/varnish/secret -s malloc,1G

Also, if you change the config file /etc/varnish/default.vcl you will need to reload varnish:

$ systemctl reload varnish.service

or restart

$ systemctl restart varnish.service

Manual VCL load

If the previous VCL configuration reload failed, try loading the VCL file manually:

  1. Connect to the varnish console:
    $ varnishadm -T localhost:6082
  2. Load the default VCL. Make sure it has at least one backend:
    varnish> vcl.load default /etc/varnish/default.vcl
  3. Make it active:
    varnish> vcl.use default
  4. Start the child proccess (optional):
    varnish> start