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varnish (57) Versions 3.3.1

Installs and configures varnish

cookbook 'varnish', '= 3.3.1', :supermarket
cookbook 'varnish', '= 3.3.1'
knife supermarket install varnish
knife supermarket download varnish
Quality 100%

varnish Cookbook

Build Status

Cookbook Version

Configures varnish.



  • Requires chef-client 12.5 and above.
  • If you are using chef-client <12.9 and the debian platform family you will need to pin to the 5.X release of the apt cookbook.


Tested on the platforms below with distro installs and upstream Varnish packaging versions 3, 4.0, and 4.1 unless otherwise noted.

  • Ubuntu 14.04
  • Ubuntu 16.04
    • Tested with Ubuntu's 16.04 distribution (version 4.1).
  • CentOS 6.8
    • Tested with 3, 4.0, and 4.1 (distro version is 2.0 which is not supported)
  • CentOS 7.3

Other versions may work but require pinning to the correct version which isn't included in this cookbook currently.

Global Attributes

These attributes used as defaults for both resources and the varnish::configure cookbook but can be also overridden with other attributes and resource properties described later.
* node['varnish']['conf_path'] - location of the default file that controls the varnish init script on Debian/Ubuntu systems.
* node['varnish']['reload_cmd'] - location of the varnish reload script used by the systemd config file. This is not used for initd currently.
* node['varnish']['conf_source'] - template file source to use for the default varnish init config.
* node['varnish']['conf_cookbook'] - template cookbook source to use for the default varnish init config.
* node['varnish']['major_version'] - the major version of varnish to install. Can be 3.0, 4.0, 4.1, and default's to 4.1.



This is not used currently but reserved for minimal configuration needed for all the resources/recipes to work correctly.


Installs the varnish package, manages the varnish configuration file, and the init script defaults file.


You can either use include the varnish::configure recipe and configure the setup using the recipe attributes described below or include varnish::default and use the resources directly.

If running on a Redhat derivative then you may need to include yum-epel as it provides the jemalloc dependency that varnish needs.

Configure Recipe Attributes

Common Settings

The configure recipe uses the resources below to get varnish and varnishlog installed and running from the vendor repo. The recipe will work without any additional configuration however there is a few common attributes that you may want to set.

  • node['varnish']['configure']['repo']['action'] - Affects the vendor repo resource. Can be set to :nothing to skip and use the systems package otherwise the default is to :configure it.
  • node['varnish']['configure']['package']['version'] - Specific varnish version to pass to the package resource. Default is to install the latest available version for the current node['varnish']['major_version'].
  • node['varnish']['configure']['log']['action'] - Affects the varnish_log resource. Can be set to :nothing to skip and not set up logging otherwise the default is to :configure it.
  • node['varnish']['configure']['config']['listen_port'] - Port number to listen on for requests to varnish. Defaults to 6081.
  • node['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['source'] - Name for default vcl template. Defaults to default.vcl.erb.
  • node['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['cookbook'] - Name of the cookbook for the default vcl template. Uses this varnish cookbook by default.

If you are using the default vcl_template then backend_port and backend_host are configurable through these parameters.
* node['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['variables']['config']['backend_port'] - The default vcl_template backend port (default: 80).
* node['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['variables']['config']['backend_host'] - The default vcl_template backend_host (default:

Any resource property in the varnish::configure recipe can be configured. The keys under the namespace's listed below will map to the property name. Refer to the resource documentation for details on all the properties.

Resource Attribute Namespace
varnish_repo 'configure' node['varnish']['configure']['repo']
package 'varnish' node['varnish']['configure']['package']
service 'varnish' node['varnish']['configure']['service']
varnish_config 'default' node['varnish']['configure']['config']
vcl_template 'default' node['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']
varnish_log 'default' node['varnish']['configure']['log']
varnish_log 'ncsa' node['varnish']['configure']['ncsa']

Recipe Example's

Use the systems varnish package and skip enabling the varnishlog daemon :

node.override['varnish']['configure']['repo']['action'] = :nothing
node.override['varnish']['configure']['log']['action'] = :nothing

include_recipe 'varnish::configure'

Use custom.vcl.erb template in my_cookbook and configure varnish to listen on port 80:

node.override['varnish']['configure']['config']['listen_port'] = 80
node.override['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['source'] = 'custom.vcl.erb'
node.override['varnish']['configure']['vcl_template']['cookbook'] = 'my_cookbook'

include_recipe 'varnish::configure'


See the example resource recipe section to see how to use these in your recipe.


Configure's the varnish vendor repo.

Will configure the varnish repo specified by node['varnish']['major_version'] which can be overridden with the major_version property.


Name Type Default Value
major_version 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 node['varnish']['major_version'] (4.1 by default)
fetch_gpg_key true or false true for debian distro's otherwise false (rpm packages are not signed)


  • :configure - Configures the varnish vendor repo.


Configures the varnish 3.0 vendor repo :

varnish_repo 'varnish' do
  major_version 3.0


Configures the Varnish service through the defaults or systemd init file. If you do not include this, the config
files that come with your distro package will be used instead.

Name Type Default Value
conf string node['varnish']['conf_source']
start_on_boot true or false true
max_open_files integer 131_072
max_locked_memory integer 82_000
major_version 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 node['varnish']['major_version']
instance_name string `hostname`]`
listen_address string nil
listen_port integer 6081
admin_listen_address string ''
admin_listen_port integer 6082
user string 'varnish'
group string 'varnish'
ccgroup string nil
ttl integer 120
storage 'malloc' or 'file' 'file'
file_storage_path string '/var/lib/varnish/%s_storage.bin' where %s is replaced with the resource name
file_storage_size string '1G'
malloc_percent Integer 33
malloc_size string nil
path_to_secret string '/etc/varnish/secret'
reload_cmd string node['varnish']['reload_cmd']

You can also send a hash to parameters which will add additional parameters to the varnish daemon via the -p option. The default hash is:

{ 'thread_pools' => '4',
  'thread_pool_min' => '5',
  'thread_pool_max' => '500',
  'thread_pool_timeout' => '300' }


  • :configure - Creates the varnish configuration file from template.


Configure some parameters on the Varnish service :

varnish_config 'default' do
  listen_address ''
  listen_port 80
  storage 'malloc'
  malloc_percent 33


Name Type Default Value
vcl_name string resource name
source string "#{::File.basename(vcl_name)}.erb"
cookbook string nil
owner string 'root'
group string 'root'
mode string or integer '0644'
variables hash {}
varnish_dir string '/etc/varnish'
vcl_path string ::File.join(varnish_dir, vcl_name)


Create vcl file at '/etc/varnish/backends.vcl' using the template at 'templates/default/backends.vcl.erb' and pass it some variables:

vcl_template 'backends.vcl' do
      backends_ids: Array(1..16),
      env: 'live',


  • :configure - Creates a vcl file from a template and refreshes varnish.
  • :unconfigure - Removes the vcl file and refreshes varnish.


Name Type Default Value
vcl_name string resource name
source string ::File.basename(vcl_name)"
cookbook string nil
owner string 'root'
group string 'root'
mode string or integer '0644'
varnish_dir string '/etc/varnish'
vcl_path string ::File.join(varnish_dir, vcl_name)


Create vcl file at '/etc/varnish/default.vcl' using the file at 'files/default/default.vcl':

vcl_file 'default.vcl'


  • :configure - Creates a vcl file from the cookbook and refreshes varnish.
  • :unconfigure - Removes the vcl file and refreshes varnish.


Configures varnishlog or varnishncsa service. You can define both logfiles by calling varnish_log more than once. You can install logrotate config files if you wish as well.

Name Type Default Value
file_name string '/var/log/varnish/varnishlog.log'
pid string '/var/run/'
log_format 'varnishlog' or 'varnishncsa' 'varnishlog'
ncsa_format_string string `'%h
instance_name string nil
logrotate true or false true for vanishlog, false for varnishncsa
major_version 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 currently installed major version
logrotate_path string '/etc/logrotate.d' if varnishncsa is used otherwise nil


  • :configure - configures the varnishlog or varnishncsa service.


Configure varnishlog service :

varnish_log 'default'

Configure varnishncsa service :

varnish_log 'default_ncsa' do
  log_format 'varnishncsa'

Resource Recipe Example

Install and configure varnish 4.1 using vcl config default.vcl in the current cookbook as well as a backend.vcl template.

include_recipe 'apt'
include_recipe 'varnish::default'

varnish_repo 'configure' do
  major_version 4.1

package 'varnish'

service 'varnish' do
  action [:enable, :start]

varnish_config 'default' do
  listen_address ''
  listen_port 80
  storage 'malloc'
  malloc_percent 33

vcl_template 'backends.vcl' do
  source 'backends.vcl.erb'
      backends_ids: Array(1..16),
      env: 'live',

vcl_file 'default.vcl'

# varnishlog
varnish_log 'default'

# varnishncsa
varnish_log 'default_ncsa' do
  log_format 'varnishncsa'

License & Authors

Copyright 2008-2009, Joe Williams <>
Copyright 2014. Patrick Connolly <>
Copyright 2015. Rackspace, US Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

Dependent cookbooks

apt >= 2.4
build-essential >= 0.0.0
chef-sugar >= 0.0.0
yum >= 3.0
yum-epel >= 0.0.0

Contingent cookbooks

magentostack Applicable Versions
nodestack Applicable Versions
noosfero Applicable Versions
phpstack Applicable Versions
pythonstack Applicable Versions
stack_commons Applicable Versions

varnish Cookbook CHANGELOG

This file is used to list changes made in each version of the varnish cookbook.


  • Remove upper bound on yum cookbook dependency. #147
  • Add repo_gpgcheck to redhat varnish repo. #145




  • Varnish expects the varnish instance name to be hostname by default however this is sometimes different then hostname -s which is used by ohai's hostname. This seemed to only be an issue on CentOS 7.2.
  • Use /etc/varnish/varnish.params for systemd init file. This is what the package uses and I think will remove some confusion about how settings are set. #103
  • Remove /usr/share/varnish/reload-vcl on debian. This was added to support the '-j' option in varnish 4.1 however it has been fixed upstream.
  • including yum-epel for centos
  • Removing old testing files(CircleCi, kitchen-rackspace, rake) and replacing with (TravisCI, kitchen-dokken, delivery).
  • adding integration testing in ci.


  • Move recipes in default to custom resources / Move recipe and lwrp defaults config to custom resource
  • Remove unused properties
  • Don't append '.vcl' to file name
  • Fix percent_of_total_mem function
  • Include default recipe in integrations tests
  • Add configure recipe
  • Don't use default recipe to install/setup varnish
  • Don't fetch the repository key over insecure HTTP


  • Add additional attributes to allow use of template source from a wrapper cookbook
  • Move define_systemd_daemon_reload to helpers (#97)
  • Fix Chef::Exceptions::ChecksumMismatch error
  • Set Ruby vers to 2.2.3 to satisfy ruby_dep requirements (#104)


  • Fix chef 12.5 compatibility. This required a bunch of workarounds we should fix later.


  • #86 - Removed monkey patching of service providers


  • Fix a bug in the monkey patched service resource, so that the changes needed for Varnish don't affect other services. #83.
  • Update docs, Rakefile, standards. #79.
  • Add additional examples to the documentation. #74.


  • Fix default storage bug. Specify a default file storage location, as one is required with file backend, fixes #72. Adjust template for default configuration of varnish so that it won't do the file backend without a path, since that's illegal syntax.

  • Cause varnish reload to happen after restart. Delayed notifications are queued up in order. In this case, it makes sense for the reload to happen after the restart.

  • Switch from service restart to service reload. The varnish_default_vcl has been updated to perform a service reload instead of a service restart. This will prevent the cache from being cleared when a reload of the vcl file is enough.


  • Fixes #56. The apt resource may not be included, so no need to run a notification on it.


  • Make resource_name compatible with older Chef. Switch from passing an argument into resource_name to using the assignment operator '='. This will make resource_name compatible with older versions of Chef.

v1.1.0 (2015-02-16)

  • Created libraries, to eventually replace recipe functionality, currently can be used along side recipes
  • Added CircleCI support for automated testing
  • Added logrotate support
  • Added varnish(log|nsca) support

v0.9.12 (2014-03-12)

  • [COOK-4368] - Improve documentation to include all attributes





  • COOK-3095 - Add MiniTest Chef Handler and Test Kitchen



  • [COOK-2892]: Varnish restarts when vcl is updated instead of reloading


  • [COOK-1261] - fix issues with default.vcl handling


  • [COOK-873] - full daemon configuration through attributes
  • [COOK-1091] - fix path for default.vcl, via COOK-873
  • [COOK-1162] - add apt_repo recipe for using official varnish repository


  • Current public release.

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