Rails drop in for Varnish support.
Latest commit 512d57b Apr 8, 2015 @russ Version bump.
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rails Added rake tasks for start/stop varnishd using the settings in config… Jan 9, 2011
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.document Initial commit to lacquer. Jun 11, 2010
.gitignore add config.pass_command => pass command in vcl_fetch Jan 11, 2012
.travis.yml Adding travis.yml config. Dec 5, 2011
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README.md a bit more cleanup and readability Feb 26, 2015
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Rails drop in for Varnish support.


This gem requires ruby 1.9+

gem install lacquer  
rails generate lacquer:install


Lacquer.configure do |config|
  # Globally enable/disable cache
  config.enable_cache = true

  # Unless overridden in a controller or action, the default will be used
  config.default_ttl = 1.week

  # Can be :none, :delayed_job, :resque, :sidekiq
  config.job_backend = :none

  # Array of Varnish servers to manage
  config.varnish_servers << {
    :host => "", :port => 6082 # if you have authentication enabled, add :secret => "your secret"

  # Number of retries
  config.retries = 5

  # config handler (optional, if you use Hoptoad or another error tracking service)
  config.command_error_handler = lambda { |s| HoptoadNotifier.notify(s) }

  ### Varnish - 2.x  /  3.x  .. VCL-Changes
  ### https://www.varnish-cache.org/docs/trunk/installation/upgrade.html

  # => Purge Command  ( "url.purge" for Varnish 2.x .. "ban.url" for Varnish 3.x )
  # => purges are now called bans in Varnish 3.x .. purge() and purge_url() are now respectively ban() and ban_url()
  config.purge_command = "ban.url"

  # => VCL_Fetch Pass Command  ( "pass" for Varnish 2.x .. "hit_for_pass" for Varnish 3.x )
  # => pass in vcl_fetch renamed to hit_for_pass in Varnish 3.x
  config.pass_command = "pass"


class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  include Lacquer::CacheUtils


  listen: localhost:3001
  telnet: localhost:6082
  sbin_path: /usr/local/sbin # path to varnishd
  bin_path: /usr/local/bin   # path to varnishadm
  storage: "file,#{Rails.root}/log/varnishd.#{Rails.env}.cache,100MB"

  listen: localhost:3002
  telnet: localhost:6083
  sbin_path: /usr/local/sbin
  bin_path: /usr/local/bin
  storage: "file,#{Rails.root}/log/varnishd.#{Rails.env}.cache,100MB"

  listen: :80
  telnet: localhost:6082
  sbin_path: /usr/local/sbin
  bin_path: /usr/local/bin
  storage: "file,#{Rails.root}/log/varnishd.#{Rails.env}.cache,100MB"
    overflow_max: 2000          # for Varnish 2.x ... use "queue_max: 2000" for Varnish 3.x
    thread_pool_add_delay: 2
    thread_pools: 4             # <Number of cpu cores>
    thread_pool_min: 200        # <800/number of cpu cores>
    thread_pool_max: 4000

If only some urls of the application should be cached by varnish, Lacquer::CacheControl will be helpful.


require "lacquer/cache_control"

Lacquer.cache_control.configure do |config|
  config.register :static,              :url => "^/images",
                                        :expires_in => "365d"

  config.register :static,              :url => "^/stylesheets",
                                        :expires_in => "365d"

  config.register :static,              :url => "^/javascripts",
                                        :expires_in => "365d"

  config.register :class_section,       :url => "^(/[a-z]{2})?/(info_screens|class_sections)/%s.*$",
                                        :args => "[0-9]+",
                                        :expires_in => "1m"

  config.register :open_scoring,        :url => "^(/[a-z]{2})?/class_sections/%s/open_scoring.*$",
                                        :args => "[0-9]+",
                                        :expires_in => "1m"


In the sweeper we can do something like this

  class_section = ClassSection.find(1)
  Lacquer.cache_control.purge(:open_scoring, class_section)

This will purge "^(/[a-z]{2})?/class_sections/1/open_scoring.*$" (/sv/class_sections/1/open_scoring.js, /sv/class_sections/1/open_scoring.html)

The varnish.vcl is preprocssed when starting varnishd with the rake tasks

rake lacquer:varnishd:start


sub vcl_recv {
  # Lookup requests that we know should be cached
  if (<%= Lacquer.cache_control.to_vcl_conditions %>) {
    # Clear cookie and authorization headers, set grace time, lookup in the cache
    unset req.http.Cookie;
    unset req.http.Authorization;

  # Generates
  # if(req.url ~ "^/images" ||
  #    req.url ~ "^/stylesheets" ||
  #    req.url ~ "^/javascripts" ||
  #    req.url ~ "^(/[a-z]{2})?/(info_screens|class_sections)/[0-9]+.*$" ||
  #    req.url ~ "^(/[a-z]{2})?/class_sections/[0-9]+/open_scoring.*$") {
  #    unset req.http.Cookie;
  #    unset req.http.Authorization;
  #    return(lookup);
  # }

sub vcl_fetch {
  <%= Lacquer.cache_control.to_vcl_override_ttl_urls %>

  # Generates
  # if(req.url ~ "^/images" || req.url ~ "^/stylesheets" || req.url ~ "^/javascripts") {
  #   unset beresp.http.Set-Cookie;
  #   set beresp.ttl = 365d;
  #   return(deliver);
  # }
  # if(req.url ~ "^(/[a-z]{2})?/(info_screens|class_sections)/[0-9]+.*$" ||
  #   req.url ~ "^(/[a-z]{2})?/class_sections/[0-9]+/open_scoring.*$") {
  #   unset beresp.http.Set-Cookie;
  #   set beresp.ttl = 1m;
  #   return(deliver);
  # }

This makes it much simpler to perform cacheing, it's only setuped in one place, purge it or just let it expire.


To set a custom ttl for a controller:

before_filter { |controller| controller.set_cache_ttl(15.minutes) }

Clearing the cache:

class Posts < ApplicationController
  after_filter :clear_cache, :only => [ :create, :update, :destroy ]


  def clear_cache

Control varnishd with the following rake tasks

rake lacquer:varnishd:start
rake lacquer:varnishd:stop
rake lacquer:varnishd:restart
rake lacquer:varnishd:reload
rake lacquer:varnishd:status
rake lacquer:varnishd:global_purge  


Lacquer supports Capistrano 2.5+

For Capistrano 2.5 just add require 'lacquer/capistrano' to your config/deploy.rb file.

For Capistrano 3+ add require 'lacquer/capistrano' to your Capfile.

# Capfile
require 'capistrano/setup'
require 'capistrano/deploy'
require 'capistrano/rails/assets'
require 'capistrano/rails/migrations'
require 'lacquer/capistrano'

Adding this will give you the following cap tasks

cap lacquer:global_purge           # global_purge varnish
cap lacquer:restart                # restart varnish
cap lacquer:start                  # start varnish
cap lacquer:status                 # status varnish
cap lacquer:stop                   # stop varnish


The default TTL for most actions is set to 0, since for most cases you'll probably want to be fairly explicit about what pages do get cached by varnish. The default cache header is typically:

Cache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, private

This is good for normal controller actions, since you won't want to cache them. If TTL for an action is set to 0, it won't mess with the default header.

The key gotcha here is that cached pages strip cookies, so if your application relies on sessions and uses authenticity tokens, the user will need a session cookie set before form actions will work. Setting default TTL to 0 here will make sure these session cookies won't break.

As a result, all you have to do to set a cacheable action is the before filter above.

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2015 Russ Smith. See LICENSE for details.