Setup Varnish Cache Server for Magento 1.9 CE on Mac OSX

When dealing with high traffic Magento installations you definitely want to implement caching mechanisms to ensure proper response times for your visitors. Apart from internal caching and indexing functionality provided by Magento there exist a couple of (external) extensions that help you speed of content delivery by e.g. caching entire pages, such as PageCache for Varnish.

Simply put, Varnish represents a reverse-proxy cache that serves as entry-point into you Magento installation and returns cached content rather than requesting Magento to re-build entire pages.

The following steps show you can setup Varnish cache server for Magento 1.9 CE on Mac OSX.

First off, make sure you have Homebrew installed and configured properly. Based on Homebrew we can easily setup Varnish by issuing the following command:

bash-3.2$ brew install varnish
==> Installing varnish dependency: pkg-config
==> Downloading http://pkgconfig.freedesktop.org/releases/pkg-config-0.28.tar.gz
######################################################################## 100,0%
==> ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/pkg-config/0.28 --disable-host-tool --with-internal-glib --with-pc-path=/usr/local/lib/p
==> make
==> make check
==> make install
  /usr/local/Cellar/pkg-config/0.28: 10 files, 600K, built in 97 seconds
==> Installing varnish dependency: pcre
==> Downloading ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/programming/pcre/pcre-8.33.tar.bz2
######################################################################## 100,0%
==> ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/pcre/8.33 --enable-utf8 --enable-unicode-properties --enable-pcregrep-libz --enable-pcregrep-libbz2 --
==> make
==> make test
==> make install
   /usr/local/Cellar/pcre/8.33: 140 files, 4,1M, built in 49 seconds
==> Installing varnish
==> Downloading http://repo.varnish-cache.org/source/varnish-3.0.3.tar.gz
######################################################################## 100,0%
==> ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/varnish/3.0.3 --localstatedir=/usr/local/var
==> make install
==> Caveats
To have launchd start varnish at login:
    ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/varnish/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
Then to load varnish now:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist
Warning: /usr/local/sbin is not in your PATH
You can amend this by altering your ~/.bashrc file
==> Summary
 /usr/local/Cellar/varnish/3.0.3: 51 files, 1,8M, built in 43 seconds

As shown in Brew’s output you can start Varnish by issuing the following command:

==> Caveats
To have launchd start varnish at login:
    ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/varnish/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
Then to load varnish now:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist

In case the following error occurs:

bash-3.2$ sudo launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist"
launchctl: Couldn't" stat("~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist"): No such file or directory nothing found to load

try a re-install first (and additionally do a brew-update/updgrade):

bash-3.2$ sudo brew uninstall varnish
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/varnish/3.0.3...

After a brew update/upgrade Varnish 4.0.0 is now being installed:

bash-3.2$ sudo brew install varnish
==> Downloading https://downloads.sf.net/project/machomebrew/Bottles/varnish-4.0.0.mavericks.bottle.tar.gz
######################################################################## 100,0%
==> Pouring varnish-4.0.0.mavericks.bottle.tar.gz
==> Caveats
To have launchd start varnish at login:
    ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/varnish/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
Then to load varnish now:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist
==> Summary
 /usr/local/Cellar/varnish/4.0.0: 93 files, 1,9M

Unfortunately, this does not fix the missing plist file problem every time.

Nevertheless, you can easily create the plist file yourself, as mentioned here https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/issues/15922:

Simply copy the contents for the plist file by calling brew cat varnish:

bash-3.2$ sudo brew cat varnish
require 'formula'

class Varnish < Formula
  homepage 'http://www.varnish-cache.org/'
  url 'https://repo.varnish-cache.org/source/varnish-4.0.0.tar.gz'
  sha1 '6ad4fcf42a505a748ae993cb6ed579159e023633'

  bottle do
    sha1 "190bba2cf0e521b489cbd64cc698ba769b18cccd" => :mavericks
    sha1 "fd12d468c2328179bd402f1592b65ef69d6f1baa" => :mountain_lion
    sha1 "0e9717e705541a34906947eb7e49ab800204e2ff" => :lion
  end

  depends_on 'pkg-config' => :build
  depends_on 'pcre'

  resource "docutils" do
    url "https://pypi.python.org/packages/source/d/docutils/docutils-0.11.tar.gz"
    sha1 "3894ebcbcbf8aa54ce7c3d2c8f05460544912d67"
  end

  def install
    ENV.prepend_create_path "PYTHONPATH", buildpath+"lib/python2.7/site-packages"
    resource("docutils").stage do
      system "python", "setup.py", "install", "--prefix=#{buildpath}"
    end

    system "./configure", "--disable-dependency-tracking",
                          "--prefix=#{prefix}",
                          "--localstatedir=#{var}",
                          "--with-rst2man=#{buildpath}/bin/rst2man.py",
                          "--with-rst2html=#{buildpath}/bin/rst2html.py"
    system "make install"
    (var+'varnish').mkpath
  end

  test do
    system "#{opt_sbin}/varnishd", "-V"
  end

  def plist; <<-EOS.undent
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
      <plist version="1.0">
      <dict>
        <key>Label</key>
        <string>#{plist_name}</string>
        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
        <array>
          <string>#{opt_sbin}/varnishd</string>
          <string>-n</string>
          <string>#{var}/varnish</string>
          <string>-f</string>
          <string>#{etc}/varnish/default.vcl</string>
          <string>-s</string>
          <string>malloc,1G</string>
          <string>-T</string>
          <string>127.0.0.1:2000</string>
          <string>-a</string>
          <string>0.0.0.0:80</string>
        </array>
        <key>KeepAlive</key>
        <true/>
        <key>RunAtLoad</key>
        <true/>
        <key>WorkingDirectory</key>
        <string>#{HOMEBREW_PREFIX}</string>
        <key>StandardErrorPath</key>
        <string>#{var}/varnish/varnish.log</string>
        <key>StandardOutPath</key>
        <string>#{var}/varnish/varnish.log</string>
      </dict>
      </plist>
    EOS
  end
end

The plist content in this case is:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
      <plist version="1.0">
      <dict>
        <key>Label</key>
        <string>#{plist_name}</string>
        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
        <array>
          <string>#{opt_sbin}/varnishd</string>
          <string>-n</string>
          <string>#{var}/varnish</string>
          <string>-f</string>
          <string>#{etc}/varnish/default.vcl</string>
          <string>-s</string>
          <string>malloc,1G</string>
          <string>-T</string>
          <string>127.0.0.1:2000</string>
          <string>-a</string>
          <string>0.0.0.0:80</string>
        </array>
        <key>KeepAlive</key>
        <true/>
        <key>RunAtLoad</key>
        <true/>
        <key>WorkingDirectory</key>
        <string>#{HOMEBREW_PREFIX}</string>
        <key>StandardErrorPath</key>
        <string>#{var}/varnish/varnish.log</string>
        <key>StandardOutPath</key>
        <string>#{var}/varnish/varnish.log</string>
      </dict>
      </plist>

Now starting Varnish via launchctl succeeds:

bash-3.2$ sudo launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.varnish.plist

Time to test the service

Open a browser and navigate to 127.0.0.1:8080 (which is the port Varnish is listening to set by the configuration in the plist file from above) and check out the headers:

Accept-Ranges	bytes, bytes
Age	0
Connection	keep-alive
Content-Language	de
Content-Length	1087
Content-Type	text/html; charset=utf-8
Date	Fri, 30 May 2014 07:31:12 GMT
Server	Apache/2.4.4 (Unix) PHP/5.4.7 OpenSSL/1.0.1e
Vary	accept-language,accept-charset
Via	1.1 varnish
X-Varnish	1661470811

Congratulations, as you can see Varnish is working properly!

The next step is to configure Apache to listen to port 8080 (or any other port apart from 80) and Varnish on port 80.

That’s it 🙂

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3 Responses

  1. Fahad Rafiq says:

    Magento 1.8.1 and above versions aren’t compatible by default with the Varnish cache. Many people who upgraded their web stores to latest versions of Magento and have invested in a hosting service that uses Varnish have been left out to take full advantage.
    A System Engineer from Cloudways has written a detailed post highlighting four ways on how to properly configure Varnish cache on Magento 1.8.1 and above versions to increase site performance by 92%. More Details: http://www.cloudways.com/blog/how-to-configure-varnish-cache-magento/

  2. we use magento 1.9.1 and i would like to use varnish . we use Mamp Pro on OS X . how can we use varnish with a ssl ?

    • Hi Christian, Varnish itself is not able to handle https requests directly. Thus, you need to incorporate an additional SSL termination service (such as pound or nginx) that takes care of SSL related requests and forwards them as regular http requests with the appropriate headers to Magento. Magento will then pickup these headers and will know that your users are in a https environment. Hope that helps. Cheers

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