Squid Web Cache wiki

Squid Web Cache documentation

🔗 The Cache Manager

It is the Squid internal subsystem that provides a common way for registering, finding and triggering management actions. It interfaces with the outside world through the normal Squid HTTP server, responding requests made with the /squid-internal-mgr well-known URL path, or with the now deprecated cache_object: URL scheme

Sometimes it is confused with the Cache Manager CGI. This last one is just an external CGI application that reads data from the Squid Cache Manager and presents in HTML.

A table with existing actions is maintained by the subsystem. For each tuple it will bring up a unique name for the specific action, a short description and a handler to be called when the item is invoked. Some flags can be set too, like the one that indicates the requirement of a password.

🔗 Ways to access the manager reports

Squid packages come with some tools for accessing the cache manager:

Given that the Cache Manager uses plain HTTP, it’s possible - and in fact easy - to develop custom tools

🔗 Controlling access to the cache manager

The default cache manager access configuration in squid.conf is:

http_access allow localhost manager
http_access deny manager

:information_source: This default has been updated to accommodate changes in Squid-3.2. For older squid the squid.conf entries may appear different.

🔗 Remote Administration

The default ACLs assume that your web server is on the same machine as squid. Remember that the connection from the cache manager CGI program to squid originates at the web server, not the browser. So if your web server lives somewhere else, you should make sure that IP address of the web server that has cachemgr.cgi installed on it has access.

To allow a remote administrator (ie cachemgr.cgi) adjust the access controls to include the remote IPs:

acl managerAdmin src

http_access allow localhost manager
http_access allow managerAdmin manager
http_access deny manager

🔗 Password for administrative actions

A password is required to perform administrative actions such as shutdown or reconfigure the cache. For security there is no default password set, which means that these command actions are not available until you set one for them.

You can set the cachemgr_passwd directive with a specific password for one or more of the manager actions and/or access to the reports. This directive allows you to set different password for each report or group them so that multiple administrators can get different access.

Squid will use Basic Authentication for retrieving the password to access reports. If auth_param is configured that helper will be used to verify the username and password are correct. Otherwise username will be ignored and the password compared against cachemgr_passwd for the report being accessed.

The URL is required to refresh an object (i.e., retrieve it from its original source again).

These details are by default optional to access most reports in the cache manager.

Where is the IP address of your web server with cachemgr.cgi or the administrators workstation.

🔗 SMP considerations

When Squid is running in SMP mode, Cache Manager should provide a “whole Squid” view (subject to optional SMP worker and process scope restrictions not discussed here). In most important cases, it does, but there are exceptions. This section details the level of SMP support on a per-report basis.

To understand how to interpret SMP Cache Manager responses, it is useful to understand how they are computed. A Cache Manager query is received by an OS-selected worker, just like any other HTTP request. The receiving worker forwards the query to the Coordinator process (via IPC). Coordinator sends the same query to each kid process (including the original query recipient and Coordinator itself), via IPC, one by one, and aggregates kids responses. Kid K receiving Coordinator request can:

The following table details SMP support for each Cache Manager object or report. Unless noted otherwise, an aggregated statistics is either a sum, arithmetic mean, minimum, or maximum across all kids, as appropriate to represent the “whole Squid” view. If the “appropriate” choice is not clear for any of the documented objects, please either update the table to clarify or file a documentation bug report.

Name Component Aggregated? Comments
menu all yes  
info Number of clients accessing cache yes, poorly Coordinator sums up the number of clients reported by each kid, which is usually wrong because most active clients will use more than one worker, leading to exaggerated values. Note that even without SMP, this statistics is exaggerated because the count goes down when Squid cleans up the internal client table and not when the last client connection closes. SMP amplifies that effect.
  UP Time yes The maximum uptime across all kids is reported
  other yes  
server_list all no, but can be If you work on aggregating these stats, please keep in mind that kids may have a different set of peers. The to-Coordinator responses should include, for each peer, a peer name and not just its “index”
mem all no, but can be If you work on aggregating these stats, please keep in mind that kids may have a different set of memory pools. The to-Coordinator responses should include, for each pool, a pool name and not just its “index”. Full stats may exceed typical UDS message size limits (16KB). If overflows are likely, it may be a good idea to create response messages so that overflowing items are not included (in the current sort order). Another alternative is to split mgr:mem into mgr:mem (with various aggregated totals) and mgr:pools (with non-aggregated per-pool details).
counters sample_time yes The latest (maximum) sample time across all kids is reported
refresh all no, but can be  
idns queue no and should not be The kids should probably report their own queues, especially since DNS query IDs are kid-specific.
  other no, but can be If you work on aggregating these stats, please keep in mind that kids may have a different set of name servers. The to-Coordinator responses should include, for each name server, a server address and not just its “index”.
histograms all no, but can be If you work on aggregating these stats, please keep typical UDS message size limits (16KB) in mind.
5min sample_start_time yes The earliest (minimum) sample time across all kids is reported
  sample_end_time yes The latest (maximum) sample time across all kids is reported.
  *median* yes, approximately The arithmetic mean over kids medians is reported. This is not a true median. True median reporting is possible but would require adding code to exchange and aggregate raw histograms.
  other yes  
60min all   See 5min rows for component details.
utilization all no, but can be If you work on aggregating these stats, please reuse or mimic mgr:5min/60min aggregation code.
other all varies TBD. In general, statistics inside "by kidK {...}" blobs are not aggregated while all others are.

While all of the above information was verified at some point, the sheer number of Cache Manager objects (and their components) as well as ongoing Squid changes virtually guarantee some bugs and discrepancies. You should test statistics you rely on (e.g., in a controlled lab environment) and file bugs reports as appropriate.

🔗 Secure SMP reports

When Squid is running in SMP mode, only insecure Cache Manager requests (i.e., those received on http_port) are currently supported.

What would happen if you try to send a Cache Manager query to a secure https_port? The Squid worker receiving the management request on an secure connection does not send the response back. Instead, Coordinator and/or other processes send Cache Manager responses directly to the secure client using raw TCP socket descriptor they receive from the secure worker. Since those Squid processes do not know that the connection is supposed to be encrypted and do not have access to the encryption state, they send plain data, confusing the client which expects an encrypted stream.

To support secure Cache Manager requests (i.e., those received on https_port), we may have to restrict writing the Cache Manager response to the secure worker, but that is difficult because we still want to support large (non-aggregatable) Cache Manager responses where each worker should produce its own response stream. The secure worker would probably have to receive and forward those streams to the client somehow.

As a workaround, one could create a secure tunnel (using secure TCP tunneling programs such as ssh or stunnel) to a Squid http_port assigned to a loopback address and send all Cache Manager requests securely through that tunnel. Squid will not have to deal with encryption then and SMP cache manager queries will work. This workaround is secure only where unencrypted loopback traffic is considered secure, of course.

🔗 Understanding the manager reports

🔗 What’s the difference between Squid TCP connections and Squid UDP connections?

Browsers and caches use TCP connections to retrieve web objects from web servers or caches. UDP connections are used when another cache using you as a sibling or parent wants to find out if you have an object in your cache that it’s looking for. The UDP connections are ICP or HTCP queries.

🔗 It says the storage expiration will happen in 1970!

Don’t worry. The default (and sensible) behavior of squid is to expire an object when it happens to overwrite it. It doesn’t explicitly garbage collect (unless you tell it to in other ways).

🔗 What do the Meta Data entries mean?

Basically just like the log file in your cache directory:

If squid is much smaller than this field, run for cover! Something is very wrong, and you should probably restart squid.

🔗 What does AVG RTT mean?

Average Round Trip Time. This is how long on average after an ICP ping is sent that a reply is received.

🔗 What does “Page faults with physical i/o: 4897” mean?

This question was asked on the '’squid-users’’ mailing list, to which there were three excellent replies.

by Jonathan Larmour

You get a “page fault” when your OS tries to access something in memory which is actually swapped to disk. The term “page fault” while correct at the kernel and CPU level, is a bit deceptive to a user, as there’s no actual error - this is a normal feature of operation.

Also, this doesn’t necessarily mean your squid is swapping by that much. Most operating systems also implement paging for executables, so that only sections of the executable which are actually used are read from disk into memory. Also, whenever squid needs more memory, the fact that the memory was allocated will show up in the page faults.

However, if the number of faults is unusually high, and getting bigger, this could mean that squid is swapping. Another way to verify this is using a program called “vmstat” which is found on most UNIX platforms. If you run this as “vmstat 5” this will update a display every 5 seconds. This can tell you if the system as a whole is swapping a lot (see your local man page for vmstat for more information).

It is very bad for squid to swap, as every single request will be blocked until the requested data is swapped in. It is better to tweak the cache_mem and/or memory_pools directive in squid.conf than allow this to happen.

by Peter Wemm

There’s two different operations at work, Paging and swapping. Paging is when individual pages are shuffled (either discarded or swapped to/from disk), while “swapping” generally means the entire process got sent to/from disk.

Needless to say, swapping a process is a pretty drastic event, and usually only reserved for when there’s a memory crunch and paging out cannot free enough memory quickly enough. Also, there’s some variation on how swapping is implemented in OS’s. Some don’t do it at all or do a hybrid of paging and swapping instead.

As you say, paging out doesn’t necessarily involve disk IO, eg: text (code) pages are read-only and can simply be discarded if they are not used (and reloaded if/when needed). Data pages are also discarded if unmodified, and paged out if there’s been any changes. Allocated memory (malloc) is always saved to disk since there’s no executable file to recover the data from. mmap() memory is variable.. If it’s backed from a file, it uses the same rules as the data segment of a file - ie: either discarded if unmodified or paged out.

There’s also “demand zeroing” of pages as well that cause faults.. If you malloc memory and it calls brk()/sbrk() to allocate new pages, the chances are that you are allocated demand zero pages. Ie: the pages are not “really” attached to your process yet, but when you access them for the first time, the page fault causes the page to be connected to the process address space and zeroed - this saves unnecessary zeroing of pages that are allocated but never used.

The “page faults with physical IO” comes from the OS via getrusage(). It’s highly OS dependent on what it means. Generally, it means that the process accessed a page that was not present in memory (for whatever reason) and there was disk access to fetch it. Many OS’s load executables by demand paging as well, so the act of starting squid implicitly causes page faults with disk IO - however, many (but not all) OS’s use “read ahead” and “prefault” heuristics to streamline the loading. Some OS’s maintain “intent queues” so that pages can be selected as pageout candidates ahead of time. When (say) squid touches a freshly allocated demand zero page and one is needed, the OS can page out one of the candidates on the spot, causing a ‘fault with physical IO’ with demand zeroing of allocated memory which doesn’t happen on many other OS’s. (The other OS’s generally put the process to sleep while the pageout daemon finds a page for it).

The meaning of “swapping” varies. On FreeBSD for example, swapping out is implemented as unlocking upages, kernel stack, PTD etc for aggressive pageout with the process. The only thing left of the process in memory is the ‘struct proc’. The FreeBSD paging system is highly adaptive and can resort to paging in a way that is equivalent to the traditional swapping style operation (ie: entire process). FreeBSD also tries stealing pages from active processes in order to make space for disk cache. I suspect this is why setting ‘memory_pools off’ on the non-NOVM squids on FreeBSD is reported to work better - the VM/buffer system could be competing with squid to cache the same pages. It’s a pity that squid cannot use mmap() to do file IO on the 4K chunks in it’s memory pool (I can see that this is not a simple thing to do though, but that won’t stop me wishing. :-).

by John Line

The comments so far have been about what paging/swapping figures mean in a “traditional” context, but it’s worth bearing in mind that on some systems (Sun’s Solaris 2, at least), the virtual memory and filesystem handling are unified and what a user process sees as reading or writing a file, the system simply sees as paging something in from disk or a page being updated so it needs to be paged out. (I suppose you could view it as similar to the operating system memory-mapping the files behind-the-scenes.)

The effect of this is that on Solaris 2, paging figures will also include file I/O. Or rather, the figures from vmstat certainly appear to include file I/O, and I presume (but can’t quickly test) that figures such as those quoted by Squid will also include file I/O.

To confirm the above (which represents an impression from what I’ve read and observed, rather than 100% certain facts…), using an otherwise idle Sun Ultra 1 system system I just tried using cat (small, shouldn’t need to page) to copy (a) one file to another, (b) a file to /dev/null, (c) /dev/zero to a file, and (d) /dev/zero to /dev/null (interrupting the last two with control-C after a while!), while watching with vmstat. 300-600 page-ins or page-outs per second when reading or writing a file (rather than a device), essentially zero in other cases (and when not cat-ing).

So … beware assuming that all systems are similar and that paging figures represent *only* program code and data being shuffled to/from disk - they may also include the work in reading/writing all those files you were accessing…

Ok, so what is unusually high?

You’ll probably want to compare the number of page faults to the number of HTTP requests. If this ratio is close to, or exceeding 1, then Squid is paging too much.

🔗 What does the IGNORED field mean in the ‘cache server list’?

This refers to ICP replies which Squid ignored, for one of these reasons:

🔗 Internals

At the time of initialization only a few actions will be registered. The most important of all is the menu, responsible for enumerating current available actions in the table. After this initialization various snippets of code will register different new handlers and descriptions using the Mgr::RegisterAction API.

Internally, the handlers are C functions with a common prototype.

🔗 See also

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