Compiling Varnish from source

If there are no binary packages available for your system, or if you want to compile Varnish from source for other reasons, follow these steps:

Getting hold of the source

Download the appropriate release tarball, which you can find on .

Alternatively, if you want to hack on Varnish, you should clone our git repository by doing.

git clone

Build dependencies on FreeBSD

To get the dependencies required to build varnish from source you can either:

pkg install automake pkgconf py36-sphinx py36-docutils pcre libtool

And optionally, to be able to run all the testcases:

pkg install haproxy nghttp2 vttest

Or if you want the built from sources:

cd /usr/ports/www/varnish6
make depends clean

Then continue Compiling Varnish

Build dependencies on Debian / Ubuntu

In order to build Varnish from source you need a number of packages installed. On a Debian or Ubuntu system, use this command to install them (replace sudo apt-get install if needed):

sudo apt-get install \
    make \
    automake \
    autotools-dev \
    libedit-dev \
    libjemalloc-dev \
    libncurses-dev \
    libpcre3-dev \
    libtool \
    pkg-config \
    python3-docutils \
    python3-sphinx \

Optionally, to rebuild the svg files:

sudo apt-get install graphviz

Recommended, in particular if you plan on building custom vmods:

sudo apt-get install autoconf-archive

Optionally, to pull from a repository:

sudo apt-get install git

Then continue Compiling Varnish

Build dependencies on Red Hat / CentOS

in the following shell commands, replace sudo yum install if needed.

Install sphinx

  • On Red Hat / CentOS 8, sphinx is not included in the default repositories, so execute these steps to include it from the PowerTools repository:

    sudo dnf install -y 'dnf-command(config-manager)'
    sudo yum config-manager --set-enabled PowerTools
    sudo yum install -y diffutils python3-sphinx
  • On Red Hat / CentOS <= 7, install sphinx:

    sudo yum install -y python-sphinx

The following step should conclude installation of the required packages:

yum install -y \
      make \
      autoconf \
      automake \
      jemalloc-devel \
      libedit-devel \
      libtool \
      libunwind-devel \
      ncurses-devel \
      pcre-devel \
      pkgconfig \
      python3-docutils \

Optionally, to rebuild the svg files:

yum install graphviz

Optionally, to pull from a repository:

yum install git

Then continue Compiling Varnish

Build dependencies on MacOS

To compile varnish on MacOS, these steps should install the required dependencies:

  • Install xcode via the App Store

  • Install dependencies via brew:

    brew install \
        autoconf \
        automake \
        pkg-config \
        libtool \
        docutils \
  • Add sphinx to PATH as advised by the installer:


Then continue Compiling Varnish

Build dependencies on a SmartOS Zone

As of SmartOS pkgsrc 2017Q1, install the following packages:

pkgin in autoconf automake libedit libtool ncurses \
         pcre py27-sphinx python27 gmake gcc49 pkg-config

Optionally, to rebuild the svg files:

pkgin in graphviz

Optionally, to pull from a repository:

pkgin in git

Building on Solaris and other Solaris-ish OSes

Building with gcc should be straight forward, as long as the above requirements are installed.

By convention, consider installing Varnish under /opt/local using:

./configure \
        --prefix=/opt/local \

Alternatively, building with Solaris Studio 12.4 should work considering the following recommendations:

  • have GNU nm in $PATH before Solaris nm

  • Provide compiler flags for configure to include paths under which dependencies are installed. Example for /opt/local:

    ./configure \
            --prefix=/opt/local \
            --mandir=/opt/local/man \
            CPPFLAGS="-I/opt/local/include" \
            CFLAGS="-m64" \
            LDFLAGS="-L/opt/local/lib -R/opt/local/lib"

Compiling Varnish

The configuration will need the dependencies above satisfied. Once that is taken care of:

cd varnish-cache
sh configure

The configure script takes some arguments, but more likely than not you can forget about that for now, almost everything in Varnish can be tweaked with run time parameters.

Before you install, you may want to run the test suite, make a cup of tea while it runs, it usually takes a couple of minutes:

make check

Don’t worry if one or two tests fail. Some of the tests are a bit too timing sensitive (Please tell us which so we can fix them). However, if a lot of them fail, and in particular if the b00000.vtc test fails, something is horribly wrong. You will get nowhere without figuring this one out.


And finally, the true test of a brave heart: sudo make install

Varnish will now be installed in /usr/local. The varnishd binary is in /usr/local/sbin/varnishd. To make sure that the necessary links and caches of the most recent shared libraries are found, run sudo ldconfig.