Control a running Varnish instance


varnishadm [-t timeout] [-S secret_file] [-T address:port] [-n name] [command [...]]


The varnishadm utility establishes a CLI connection to varnishd either using -n name or using the -T and -S arguments. If -n name is given the location of the secret file and the address:port is looked up in shared memory. If neither is given varnishadm will look for an instance without a given name.

If a command is given, the command and arguments are sent over the CLI connection and the result returned on stdout.

If no command argument is given varnishadm will pass commands and replies between the CLI socket and stdin/stdout.


-t timeout Wait no longer than this many seconds for an operation to finish.
-S secret_file Specify the authentication secret file. This should be the same -S argument as was given to varnishd. Only processes which can read the contents of this file, will be able to authenticate the CLI connection.
-n name Connect to the instance of varnishd with this name.
-T address:port
Connect to the management interface at the specified address and port.

The syntax and operation of the actual CLI interface is described in the varnish-cli(7) manual page. Parameteres are described in varnishd(1) manual page.

Additionally, a summary of commands can be obtained by issuing the help command, and a summary of parameters can be obtained by issuing the command.


If a command is given, the exit status of the varnishadm utility is zero if the command succeeded, and non-zero otherwise.


Some ways you can use varnishadm:

varnishadm -T localhost:999 -S /var/db/secret vcl.use foo
echo vcl.use foo | varnishadm -T localhost:999 -S /var/db/secret
echo vcl.use foo | ssh vhost varnishadm -T localhost:999 -S /var/db/secret


  • varnishd(1)


The varnishadm utility and this manual page were written by Cecilie Fritzvold. Converted to reStructuredText and updated in 2010 by Per Buer.