How Varnish Cache helps Improve Speed in Cloud Servers

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Try to think about the time when you encountered a slow website in the past. Chances are, that you would have simply closed the window and found something else. It’s not about being impatient or having a short attention span, it is what you, as a consumer, have been offered across the board by websites. A fast website has now become a must for any kind of visitor engagement to happen on the site. Not just that, major web search engines rank faster websites higher than their slower counterparts. In this post we will talk about Varnish Caching and how it helps improve site speed so that your website does not suffer the perils of being a slow website.

Sure there are other ways by which overall page speed can be improved like minify CSS and JavaScript files, compress images, and optimize databases etc. But adding caching to the whole mix can further amplify the overall speed of your website. Let’s try and understand this better.

Caching is storing data in a temporary storage area so that subsequent requests can be served faster. It is like a temporary spot for data between the hosting server and the user. It helps increase the speed of a website since the site’s content does not need to be fetched every time.

Caching proxy is a technique by which recently requested data and web page content is stored on a proxy server to help improve website load times and reduce bandwidth usage. It is also known as web proxy caching. Caching proxy can be configured as a reverse caching proxy server or a forward caching proxy server.

A reverse caching proxy server is located between the site visitor and the host. It intercepts the requests coming from the internet and caches the relevant data (once received) from the host. Post this, it uses the cached data to fulfil any subsequent requests. It is called ‘Reverse’ because it fetches the data on behalf of the client from one or more proxy servers and returns it to the client.

Introducing Varnish Cache
Varnish Cache is a caching HTTP reverse proxy. It can be installed on of any server that is compatible to Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and configured to cache the contents. It can improve the performance of a website without requiring to implement any major changes. Varnish Cache works on the principle of key value store; i.e. it stores data and associates a block of it with a key. It uses this key to find the data when required. If it doesn’t have the requested data, then it passes the request to the host and seeks data from there.

Varnish Cache has a long list of advantages over other caching engines. Some of them are:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Good forum support
  • Zero downtime on configuration changes
  • Works independently with any Web server
  • Multi-site set up with a single Varnish instance is possible
  • Highly customisable with an easy configuration syntax
  • Admin dashboard
  • Utilities for logging and performance evaluation

Caching is something that should be taken care at the hosting level. However, Cloud Servers may not be affordable for everyone and it may also require certain technical expertise for smooth functioning as hosting. As an alternative, ResellerClub offers Cloud Hosting. ResellerClub Cloud Hosting is where Shared Hosting is established using cloud technology. The resources needed to host the website are distributed across multiple server instances for better scalability and reliability. ResellerClub integrate Varnish Caching in their Cloud Hosting plans. Cloud Hosting in itself is quite fast as the resources needed to host your website are divided and distributed across multiple servers who work together as a single, highly powerful server. Varnish Cache when integrated with Cloud Hosting can lead to 1000% improvement in site speed. Read more about this here.

Hope this helps you get a better understanding about Varnish caching and caching technology in general. If you have thoughts or questions on this bit, please feel free to write them down in the comments section below.

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