When I activate CiviCRM I get the following notices regarding varnish status:

Varnish is running but cannot cache.

A plugin or theme is setting a PHPSESSID cookie on every pageload. This makes Varnish not deliver cached pages.

Something is setting the header Cache-Control to "no-cache" which means visitors will never get cached pages.

Something is setting the header Pragma to "no-cache" which means visitors will never get cached pages.

The site is unusable when civi is activated, I can hardly navigate the civi admin pages - I get 'page not found' errors about half the time.

Is there a way to get CiviCRM to play with varnish?


A big part of the pages in civi are not public, so as you might serve different pages to every user, they can't be cached.

But I think your problem is elsewhere, if you are "alone" on your admin pages, it should not be slow, even without varnish

Have a look at the demo pages, are you experiencing the same speed on your server? if not, there is something wrong in your install, and I'd fix that, so you do not need varnish


  • Thank you for the response. The demo site works well, I'd be very happy if my site was the same. Now to figure out what is wrong with my install... I'm using dreampress for hosting, which is set up to use varnish. I'll check performance with it turned off. Is there a way to serve cached pages for unauthenticated users when civi is installed? – HungryHippo May 23 '17 at 17:22
  • Hi Hippo - I have a WP front-end w/Civi installed (it looks like a plugin) and I used FastestCache but I think it is probably similar to Varnish - it just caches the WP pages and not Civicrm. CiviCRM has its own caching system, including caching complied Smarty templates. But FastestCache doesn't try to cache Civicrm. Turn off the Varnish plugin and try to access Civicrm - it may be you have other trouble, e.g., if you don't have URL rewriting enabled. – Lesley Evensen Jun 22 '17 at 21:27

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