varnish 2.15 - bypass caching for mobile devices?

Caunter, Stefan scaunter at
Fri Feb 18 17:33:23 CET 2011

We use the vcl_error redirect technique with success:


You can edit the example to suit different UAs and mobile views. The “no referrer” is important, to prevent continuous redirects once we land on the target site. 


in vcl_recv


                if (!req.http.referer && ~ "" && req.http.user-agent ~ "[aA]ndroid|[bB]lack[Bb]erry|

DoCoMo|[iI][Pp]hone|NetFront|Opera Mini|PalmOS|PalmSource|Symbian OS|webOS|Ipod|lg9700|nokiae|nokian|blackberry9|htc") {

                        error 751 "Moved Temporarily";



in vcl_error


if (obj.status == 751) {

                set obj.http.Location = "";

                set obj.status = 302;




Stefan Caunter 


Torstar Digital

m: (416) 561-4871



From: varnish-misc-bounces at [mailto:varnish-misc-bounces at] On Behalf Of Stig Bakken
Sent: February-18-11 10:37 AM
To: Mike Franon
Cc: varnish-misc at
Subject: Re: varnish 2.15 - bypass caching for mobile devices?


Browser recognition is a royal pain to begin with, and even more so with mobile browsers (their user agents may differ between requests in some cases).


I would suggest you move all of the browser/device detection logic to your backend, but store the detected device in a cookie.  If varnish sees a request without that cookie, it redirects the user to a browser/device detection backend (using wurfl or deviceatlas for detection), which again redirects to the original page with an extra parameter in the URL which makes the final destination set the cookie.


From there on, you can extract the device cookie with varnish and append it to your varnish hash, as per


Of course, the browser detection backend URL must not be cached. :)


 - Stig


On Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 3:56 PM, Mike Franon <kongfranon at> wrote:


Right now everything has been working great with this config, but we
discovered an issue with our mobile devices, not ever getting to the
apache redirect we setup to go to our mobile site, since it gets the
cached version of our home page.  Is there a way to say if a mobile
device by agent to bypass caching all together and let it pass through
to the apache redirect which then goes to another site all together?


Here is my default.vcl

sub vcl_recv {
if (req.url ~ "^/$" || req.url ~ "^/samples"){
               unset req.http.cookie;

else {

sub vcl_fetch {
   if (req.url ~ "^/$" || req.url ~ "^/samples"){
       set beresp.ttl = 300s;
       set beresp.http.cache-control = "public, max-age = 300";
       set beresp.http.X-CacheReason = "varnishcache";
       unset beresp.http.set-cookie;

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Stig Bakken
CTO, - free your phone!

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