One of the easiest and least expensive ways to speed up your website is to use some form of caching. You can cache anything that is dynamic on a dedicated server. A cache is a parcel of information kept in memory or on disk for speedy access. In the world of dynamic websites, those created on the fly with server-side scripting and databases, a cache stores commonly created pages, images, and more so that the next access time is faster.
Varnish Cache is a free and open source web application accelerator that is designed to cache your websites and make them faster. Varnish Cache sits in front of the web server to cache your content, ultimately making a faster and smoother experience for your site’s visitors. Some of its features are:
- load balancing
- URL rewriting
- health checking of backends
- graceful handling of “dead” backends
Varnish Cache currently supports the following operating systems: Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS, (Open)SUSE, Gentoo and FreeBSD. It may also support others, and you are free to test it on them. It currently provides acceleration for HTTP, with plans to possibly support HTTPS in the future.
Since it is open source, released under a BSD license, you are free to download, install, and even modify Varnish Cache to suit your needs. You can also pay for commercial support, if needed. To get a copy and read the installation instructions, visit the project’s website.