Varnish 5.0 Release Note

This is the first Varnish release after the Varnish Project moved out of Varnish Software’s basement, so to speak, and it shows.

But it is also our 10 year anniversary release, Varnish 1.0 was released on September 20th 2006.

That also means that we have been doing this for 10 years without any bad security holes.

So yeah… 5.0 is not entirely what we had hoped it would be, but we are as proud as one can possibly be anyway.

To keep this release note short(er), we have put the purely technical stuff in two separate documents:

How to get Varnish 5.0

Source download

Packages for mainstream operating systems should appear in as soon as they trickle through the machinery.

Reasons to upgrade to Varnish 5.0

The separate VCL/VCL labels feature can probably help you untangle your VCL code if it has become too complex. Upgrading from 4.1 to get that feature should be a no-brainer.

The HTTP/2 code is not mature enough for production, and if you want to start to play with H2, you should not upgrade to 5.0, but rather track -trunk from github and help us find all the bugs before the next release.

The Shard director is new in the tree, but it has a lot of live hours out of tree. Upgrading from 4.1 to 5.0 to get that should also be a no-brainer.

We have also fixed at lot of minor bugs, and improved many details here and there, See Upgrading to Varnish 5.0 for more of this.

Reasons not to upgrade to Varnish 5.0

None that we know of at this time.

Only in very special cases should you need to modify your VCL.

Next release

Next release is scheduled for March 15th 2017, and will most likely be Varnish 5.1.

The obligatory thank-you speech

This release of Varnish Cache is brought to you by the generous support and donations of money and manpower from four companies:

  • Fastly

  • Varnish Software


  • The company which prefers to simply be known as “ADJS”

Without them, this release, and for that matter all the previous ones, would not have happened.

Even though they are all employees of those very same companies, these developers merit personal praise:

  • Martin - HTTP/2 HPACK header compression code, stevedore API, VSL

  • Nils & Geoff - Shard backend director, ban-lurker improvements

  • Guillame - HTTP/2 support for varnishtest

  • Dridi - Backend temperatures etc.

  • Federico - Too many fixes and ideas to count

  • Lasse - Our tireless release-manager

  • Devon - Performance insights and critical review.

  • The rest of the V-S crew - Too many things to list.

We need more money

Until now Varnish Software has done a lot of work for the Varnish Cache project, but for totally valid reasons, they are scaling that back and the project either needs to pick up the slack or drop some of those activities.

It is important that people understand that Free and Open Source Software isn’t the same as gratis software: Somebody has to pay the developers mortgages and student loans.

A very large part of the Varnish development is funded through the Varnish Moral License, which enables Poul-Henning Kamp to have Varnish as his primary job, but right now he is underfunded to the tune of EUR 2000-3000 per month.

Please consider if your company makes enough money using Varnish Cache, to spare some money, or employee-hours for its future maintenance and development.

We also need more manpower

First and foremost, we could really use a Postmaster to look after our mailman mailing lists, including the increasingly arcane art of anti-spam techniques and invocations.

We also need to work more on our documentation, it is in bad need of one or more writers which can actually write text rather than code.

We could also use more qualified content for our new project homepage, so a webmaster is on our shopping list as well.

Finally, we can always use C-developers, we have more ideas than we have coders, and since we have very high standards for quality things take time to write.

The best way to get involved is to just jump in and do stuff that needs done.

Here is the Varnish Cache github page.

And here is the Varnish Projects homepage on github.

Welcome on board!