Setting up Varnish and Nginx test cloud servers for API test


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Setting up Varnish and Nginx test cloud servers for API test

Server setup

Created two new Ubuntu 14 servers at

Changed root passwords to phoenix10

Rackspace name: api-test-nginx
ip address:
root: phoenix10

Rackspace name: apt-test-varnish
ip address:
root: phoenix10

Domain setup

Created three new A records on the domain, all pointing at the Nginx server:


These were set up on the main Rackspace portal

The A records have a ttl of 3600, so we can have changes reflected more frequently.

Varnish setup

Installed Varnish with "apt-get install varnish". Also installed git, not sure if it will be needed through.

Backed up /etc/varnish/default.vcl to /etc/varnish/default.vcl.bak

Adding new backends d6 and d7 to /etc/varnish/default.vcl. At first it didn't work because it turns out that every backend created in the vcl must be referenced at least once in the config. So I uncommented the default vcl_recv() routine and added "set req.backend = d7; set req.backend = d6;" there, so they're at least referenced. Will tweak these later once we know where the traffic needs sending. For the proof-of-concept we can probably send all /api/ requests to d6 and everything else to d7.

Changed /etc/default/varnish to have Varnish listen on port 80 rather than the default 6081.

After restarting Varnish (reload didn't work), I can see it successfully connecting to the d6 backend (as a bunch of Drupal html is coming out), when I do "curl localhost:80".

However port 80 appears to be closed on the firewall, as the page hangs when I connect to the ip address in my browser.

Running this to open the port worked: "sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT".

Nginx setup

Installed Nginx with "apt-get install nginx". Also installed git, not sure if it will be needed through.

Opening port 80 on firewall with "sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT".

I deleted the symlink /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default and created this new server config /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf, pointing all traffic at Varnish for the moment and passing along the hostname:

upstream varnish {
server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    proxy_read_timeout 12000;
    location / {
        proxy_pass   http://varnish;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;

At first Nginx wasn't loading this config so I did a stop (/etc/init.d/stop) and a start after putting some gibberish into the new config file and the start failed. Looking in the error log (/var/log/nginx/error.log) confirmed it was due to the gibberish. Removing the gibberish and starting worked.

I can now get to the d6 site on the Nginx server's IP address.

The setup looks like this: