Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator, developed and made available freely by Varnish Software. Depending on the application, it can result in a boost of 10x up to 1000x. With Joomla, typical acceleration is about 100 times.
Joomla doesn't make using Varnish easy, though. By default not only does it send headers that forbid caching, but also starts a session for every anonymous user. While the former is fixable using multiple freely-available plugins, the latter is an issue with the Joomla core.
MassiveScale.net has developed a patch for the Joomla core and a Varnish VCL file which work together to serve anonymous traffic from super-fast Varnish cache, while still allowing users to log in, bypassing cache. They are accompanied by a content plugin, deleting articles from Varnish cache as soon as you save them.
We did a little test: we took a sample Joomla 1.5 page and load tested it using Apache Benchmark. 10000 requests have been sent, with 20 concurrent connections. The load generator has been running on the same machine as the web server - this is not the most precise test setup, but still it gives some insight into how load times relate to each other.
|Average HTML load time||2 ms||918 ms|
|Total time taken to serve 10000 views||1.2 s||459 s|
|Requests per second||8348 req/s||21 req/s|
|Full ab output||View||View|
The results are two orders of magnitude (~100 times) better with Varnish than without it. Also, while a test without Varnish was running, load was high on the test machine. With Varnish it was close to nothing.
Interested? We add this patch upon request as a part of our Site Boost package for Joomla which also contains numerous other optimizations. We are also selling it as a self-service package with PDF instructions and 30 minutes of email support - it's just $70. Order now and make your Joomla fly.
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What is included in $70 package?
Patches for Joomla 1.5, 2.5.4+, 3.0, 3.1, VCL files for Varnish 2.1+ and 3.x, a plugin purging articles from cache (for Joomla 2.5 or higher), and 12 pages of documentation in PDF, ODT and TXT. We also add 30 minutes of support, including installation.
Will it help my e-commerce site?
Most trafic on e-commerce sites is coming from anonymous users, who just look at things without creating an account or buying anything. Varnish will help you.
Couldn't you just make it a plugin?
No, we couldn't. According to our best knowledge, there is no way a plugin can be used to bypass creating a new Joomla session. We'd be happy to be proven wrong, as patching is not the nicest solution in the world.
What was your exact test setup?
The machine was a quad-core PC with 4GB RAM and a 7200 SATA drive. It was running versions of Apache, PHP, MySQL and Varnish found in Ubuntu 11.04. The software configuration was out-of-the-box, it hadn't been tuned for performance. Joomla 1.5.23 was used with a default set of sample data.
What about 1.6/1.7/2.5.3?
These versions are unsupported. There are patches for these versions in our package, but we don't update them anymore. Both of them are at version 1.1. If you really need to upgrade them, we can do it for the standard hourly fee.
Which extensions are supported?
Most well-written extensions work well with Varnish without any extra work. The most popular ones include JomSocial, Akeeba Backup, Admin Tools and Kunena. Community Builder and VirtueMart work too, although sometimes a little tuning may be necessary.
Which extensions are known to cause a conflict?
K2 (which is trying to support Varnish, but is doing it wrong)
What Varnish versions are supported?
All versions from 2.1 up. We provide two separate VCL files - for 2.x and 3.x (but please upgrade to 3.x, really).
Can I try before I buy?
We have a sample optimized Joomla! website put online at http://joomla.varnishdemo.mvps.eu/. You can just browse this page or you can run some load testing tools against it. Try Apache Benchmark:
ab -n 2000 -c 50 http://joomla.varnishdemo.mvps.eu and observe system load.
I've seen something similar for free
Yeah, right, so did we. If you find one that really works, be sure to drop us a line.
What is your return policy/warranty?
There are no returns. Should any defects be found in our software, we will repair them for free within 3 months of sale date. If the problem is not a fault of our software, customer may be charged our standard hourly rate for time spent beyond 30 minutes included with this package.
What payment options are available?
Secure online payments are being processed by a 3rd party company, 2Checkout.com, Inc. We do not process or store any credit card data. Our physical address is: Enmasse, Iwaszkiewicza 73/9, 70-786 Szczecin, Poland.