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What is Varnish?

September 10, 2019

Learn about Varnish, a reverse-web-proxy-caching system designed to accelerate content-heavy websites. 

Purpose

Varnish accelerates content-heavy websites. It is a reverse web proxy caching system that intercepts all queries before reaching the web server. Varnish focuses exclusively on websites created with HTTP and works with both static and dynamic content.

 Read Four Ways We Make Your Magento Store Faster.

Function

Many web requests produce an identical response, therefore a website will run more efficiently if these responses are cached rather than generated. Varnish stores its cache in virtual memory instead of on the hard drive, thereby conserving CPU resources otherwise consumed by these repeated requests. This accelerates the website's function as Varnish increases the rate at which it responds to requests.

Varnish primarily uses VCL and most policy decisions are made according to VCL code. This makes Varnish somewhat more adaptable than other HTTP accelerators; however, poor malloc or pthreads implementation will diminish its performance. 

Turpentine

Nexcess designed Turpentine, a full-page extension for Magento, to modify Varnish so as to drastically enhance its performance on our dedicated servers using the eCommerce platform.

For proprietary information about Varnish, visit the Varnish Software website.

For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email or through your Client Portal.

Jason Dobry