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Turpentine is a Magento extension to improve Magento's compatibility with Varnish, a very-fast caching reverse-proxy. By default, Varnish doesn't cache requests with cookies and Magento sends the frontend cookie with every request causing a (near) zero hit-rate for Varnish's cache. Turpentine provides Varnish configuration files (VCLs) to work with Magento and modifies Magento's behaviour to significantly improve the cache hit rate.
What Is Varnish?
Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture. A high level overview of what Varnish does can be seen in this video.
Varnish Cache Video
- Full Page Caching, with hole-punching via Varnish ESI and/or AJAX, even for logged in visitors
- Configurable via standard Magento methods (Admin system configuration and layout XML), no manual editing of Varnish config required for most cases
- Able to generate and apply new Varnish VCLs (configurations) on the fly, without restarting/changing Varnish's config files or flushing the cache
- Blacklist requests from caching by URL or parameters (SID, store, etc)
- Configure cache TTL by URL and individual block's TTL
- Supports multiple Varnish instances for clustered usage
- Automatic cache clearing on actions (clearing product/catalog/cms page after saving)
- Supports non-root Magento installs (i.e. putting Magento in /store/ instead of /) and multi-store/multi-site setups
- Support for site-crawlers for cache warming, and includes a (basic) built-in site-crawler
- SSL support through Pound or Nginx
- Magento Community Edition 1.6+ or Magento Enterprise Edition 1.11+
- Varnish 2.1+ (including 3.0+)