Advanced topics

This tutorial has covered the basics in Varnish. If you read through it all you should now have the skills to run Varnish.

Here is a short overview of topics that we haven't covered in the tutorial.

More VCL

VCL is a bit more complex then what we've covered so far. There are a few more subroutines available and there a few actions that we haven't discussed. For a complete(ish) guide to VCL have a look at the VCL man page - ref:reference-vcl.

Using In-line C to extend Varnish

You can use in-line C to extend Varnish. Please note that you can seriously mess up Varnish this way. The C code runs within the Varnish Cache process so if your code generates a segfault the cache will crash.

One of the first uses I saw of In-line C was logging to syslog.:

# The include statements must be outside the subroutines.
        #include <syslog.h>

sub vcl_something {
                syslog(LOG_INFO, "Something happened at VCL line XX.");

Edge Side Includes

Varnish can cache create web pages by putting different pages together. These fragments can have individual cache policies. If you have a web site with a list showing the 5 most popular articles on your site, this list can probably be cached as a fragment and included in all the other pages. Used properly it can dramatically increase your hit rate and reduce the load on your servers. ESI looks like this:

The time is: <esi:include src="/cgi-bin/date.cgi"/>
at this very moment.

ESI is processed in vcl_fetch by setting do_esi to true.:

sub vcl_fetch {
    if (req.url == "/test.html") {
        set beresp.do_esi = true;  /* Do ESI processing */

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