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Advanced Web Caching Strategies with Varnish


Using Varnish Cache on ServerStadium’s infrastructure (VM Pricing, Dedicated Servers) offers an effective solution to speed up website load times and reduce server load by caching content and serving it from memory.


  • A ServerStadium VM or dedicated server (VM Pricing, Dedicated Servers)
  • Basic understanding of web server configuration and HTTP protocols.
  • A web server like Apache or Nginx already running on your server.

Step 1: Set Up Your ServerStadium Environment

  1. Choose a Server: Opt for a ServerStadium server appropriate for your web application’s traffic and caching needs.
  2. Server Preparation:

    sudo apt update
    sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install Varnish Cache

  1. Install Varnish:

    Varnish can be installed from the official repository:

    sudo apt install varnish

Step 3: Configure Varnish for Your Web Application

  1. Configure Varnish as a Reverse Proxy:

    Example Varnish configuration (/etc/varnish/default.vcl):

    vcl 4.0;

    backend default {
    .host = "";
    .port = "8080"; // Port where your web server is running

    sub vcl_recv {
    // Add your custom caching rules here
    if (req.url ~ "^/images") {
    // Cache image files for 12 hours
    set beresp.ttl = 12h;

    This configures Varnish to cache content from the web server running on localhost port 8080, with specific rules for caching images.

Step 4: Advanced Caching Strategies

  1. Implement Custom Caching Rules:

    VCL example for handling cookies and static content:

    sub vcl_recv {
    // Remove cookies for static files to enhance caching
    if (req.url ~ "\.(css|js|png|gif|jpg|svg)$") {
    unset req.http.cookie;

  2. Cache Invalidation:

    VCL example for cache invalidation based on a custom header:

    sub vcl_recv {
    if (req.http.x-purge-method == "invalidate") {
    ban("req.url ~ " + req.url);
    return (synth(200, "Cache invalidated"));

Step 5: Integrate Varnish with Your Web Server

  1. Adjust Apache Web Server Settings (example):

    Edit Apache configuration to listen on a different port (e.g., 8080):

    Listen 8080
    <VirtualHost *:8080>
    // Other Apache settings

    Ensure Varnish is listening on port 80 in /etc/default/varnish:

    DAEMON_OPTS="-a :80"

Step 6: Monitor and Optimize Varnish Performance

  1. Monitor Varnish:

    Use tools like varnishstat to monitor cache hit rates and performance.

  2. Optimize Cache:

    Regularly analyze caching patterns and adjust your Varnish configuration for optimal performance.


The above examples provide a foundational setup for using Varnish Cache on your ServerStadium server. Tailor these configurations to your specific use case for optimal performance. For further guidance, explore the ServerStadium knowledge base or reach out to our support team.

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