Logging in VarnishΒΆ

One of the really nice features in Varnish is how logging works. Instead of logging to normal log file Varnish logs to a shared memory segment. When the end of the segment is reached we start over, overwriting old data. This is much, much faster then logging to a file and it doesn’t require disk space.

The flip side is that is you forget to have program actually write the logs to disk they will disappear.

varnishlog is one of the programs you can use to look at what Varnish is logging. Varnishlog gives you the raw logs, everything that is written to the logs. There are other clients as well, we’ll show you these later.

In the terminal window you started varnish now type varnishlog and press enter.

You’ll see lines like these scrolling slowly by.:

0 CLI          - Rd ping
0 CLI          - Wr 200 PONG 1273698726 1.0

These is the Varnish master process checking up on the caching process to see that everything is OK.

Now go to the browser and reload the page displaying your web app. You’ll see lines like these.:

11 SessionOpen  c 58912
11 ReqStart     c 58912 595005213
11 RxRequest    c GET
11 RxURL        c /
11 RxProtocol   c HTTP/1.1
11 RxHeader     c Host: localhost:8080
11 RxHeader     c Connection: keep-alive

The first column is an arbitrary number, it defines the request. Lines with the same number are part of the same HTTP transaction. The second column is the tag of the log message. All log entries are tagged with a tag indicating what sort of activity is beeing logged. Tags starting with Rx indicate Varnish is recieving data and Tx indicates sending data.

The third column tell us whether this is is data comming or going to the client (c) or to/from the backend (b). The forth column is the data being logged.

Now, you can filter quite a bit with varnishlog. The basics option you want to know are:

-b Only show log lines from traffic going between Varnish and the backend servers. This will be useful when we want to optimize cache hit rates.
-c Same as -b but for client side traffic.
-i tag Only show lines with a certain tag. “varnishlog -i SessionOpen” will only give you new sessions. Note that the tags are case insensitive.
-I Regex Filter the data through a regex and only show the matching lines. To show all cookie headers coming from the clients: $ varnishlog -c -i RxHeader -I Cookie
-o Group log entries by request ID.

Now that Varnish seem to work OK its time to put Varnish on port 80 while we tune it.

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