How To Install Varnish on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Install Varnish on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and configuration of Varnish on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know,  Varnish Cache is a powerful open-source HTTP accelerator that can be installed in front of any Webserver such as Apache or Nginx. Varnish Cache can improve the overall performance of your web server by caching content. The Varnish cache stores the copy of user requests and serves the same page when the user revisits the webpage. It makes your website really fast and accelerates your website performance up to 300 – 1000x (which means 80% or more).

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Varnish Cache on a Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) server.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install Varnish on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Step 1. First, make sure that all your system packages are up-to-date by running the following apt-get commands in the terminal.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Step 2. Install Apache webserver.

For this part, we will be assuming that you have already installed Apache on your server and have it running properly. If not write this command in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install apache2

Step 3. Installing Varnish.

Install Varnish using apt-get command:

apt-get install varnish

After the installation is finished, start and enable varnish.service using the systemctl command:

systemctl start varnish.service
systemctl enable varnish.service

Step 4. Configuring Varnish.

The varnish is automatically configured to serve content over port 80 and fetch contents from Apache on port 8080, we need to update Apache to serve content over port 8080:

### nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf

If you have any virtual hosts configured, you will need to update these as well – ensure your configuration looks like this:


We need to configure varnish to run on port 80. First, create a file called varnish.service inside the /etc/systemd/system directory:

### nano /etc/systemd/system/varnish.service

Then, add the following configuration:

ExecStart=/usr/sbin/varnishd -j unix,user=vcache -F -a :80 -T localhost:6082 -f /etc/varnish/default.vcl -S /etc/varnish/secret -s malloc,256m

Once you save and exit that file, open up the default.vcl file:

### nano /etc/varnish/default.vcl
backend default {
    .host = "";
    .port = "8080";

Restart the Apache and Varnish service for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2.service
systemctl restart varnish.service

You can check to see if varnish is working by typing the following command:


Step 5. Testing Varnish.

The test consists of making an HTTP request via curl and verifying that it is handled by Varnish:

[ ~ ]# curl -I
 HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden
 Date: Mon, 01 May 2017 24:06:10 GMT
 Server: Apache/2.4.6 (Ubuntu) PHP/7.0.16
 Last-Modified: Thu, 16 Dec 2016 19:30:58 GMT
 ETag: "1321-5058ranty728280"
 Accept-Ranges: bytes
 Content-Length: 4897
 Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
 X-Varnish: 32779
 Age: 4
 Via: 1.1 varnish-v4
 Connection: keep-alive

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Varnish. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing Varnish Cache on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS  (Xenial Xerus) system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official Varnish website.

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