Disabling Varnish in DreamPress

Hi! I’m new to the forums, I have DreamPress 2 hosting, and I’m trying to better understand how Varnish works and if/how I might disable it either temporarily or permanently. I’ve submitted two tickets and had a couple of live chats, but I thought someone here might be able to provide me background information to ask the right questions.

Background: I recently migrated my website from GoDaddy (weathertiger.org) to DreamPress (weathertiger.com) in preparation for the launch of my business. Overall, I am very happy with the increased usability of DreamHost’s ftp servers and the website loading speed compared to GoDaddy, but I’m experiencing issues with some of the plug-ins on which my site relies since the switch. I’m a member of WPMUdev’s premium services, and my website relies on Appointments+, Membership 2 Pro, E-Newsletter, Google Analytics +, Snapshot, Ultimate Branding, SmartCrawl, and other plug-ins. I have been getting strange behavior with Appointments+ in particular, and across several of these plug-ins in general, and after taking a Snapshot of my site and testing it locally and on GoDaddy, I am not able to reproduce the problems elsewhere, so it seems to be a conflict with my hosting here. After corresponding with the WPMUdev support, they asked that I ask to have Varnish disabled to see if that fixed the issues.

Major Questions:

  • Is it possible to disable Varnish either temporarily and/or permanently? I’ve submitted a ticket requesting just that, but have lost a day of work waiting for an answer. If it turns out that Varnish is causing conflicts with the plug-ins I need from WPMUdev, perhaps I could rely on their caching (part of the WP Hummingbird plug-in) or another plug-in like W3 instead?
  • I’ve read elsewhere in the forums that DreamPress isn’t “worth it” with Varnish disabled – is that true? There are features beyond Varnish that I like, but if it’s not the best hosting plan for me I’m open to other options.

I hope we can find a quick resolution, because I would rather not have to go through another migration before launch and would like to stick with DreamHost. This is the last big issue we’re waiting on (specifically, getting Appointments and Membership reliably working) to launch a marketing campaign and open our business, so I appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks!

(If there’s a chance it’s something other than Varnish causing my problems, I’m all ears! It just seems like Varnish is the likely culprit, since I’ve had trouble with plug-in settings unexpectedly reverting after having made changes on the admin side.)

They won’t disable Varnish on DreamPress. If the issue is with varnish, you may want to move to a regular VPS. Varnish can help speed up your site, but many kinds of basic sessions and HTTPS break it. If you need those things, you probably want a VPS over DreamPress.

Thanks. You’re right and I ultimately figured this out, but the technicians in the livechat were very misleading which slowed me down:

Lost a lot of time waiting for something that was never going to happen… I was initially on the fence and should’ve just gone with VPS in the first place.

Just FYI, HTTPS doesn’t break Varnish (anymore). We fixed that and now you can totally cache with HTTPS.

But yes, Tech should have been corrected about the whole ‘we don’t disable’ Varnish. I’ve passed that on to the support folks as a reminder. The point of managed WP hosting is … well … we manage it :slight_smile: So yes, we are going to keep everything the same as best we can. We can add in special Varnish rules for you, and disable it to help debug, but a the end of the day, varnish (and Memcached) should be on.