Cache APT packages with Squid proxyJun 5, 2015
TL;DR: Know how to install and set up Squid proxy, so that you can cache packages, and hence save bandwidth if you want to install those packages again and again. Also works if you are already behind a squid proxy.
Problem: Repetitive download. Slow.
If you deal with virtual machines a lot, you might know the pain of
managing packages on each one of them. Every time I had to create a new VM,
I would run
apt-get update (to get information about all the latest packages
available for my Ubuntu system),
apt-get dist-upgrade (to install latest
versions of all packages already installed), and also install some packages
not present in stock Ubuntu image, like
git (yes, it’s 2015
and Ubuntu still doesn’t come pre-installed with
and some others. This would mean I’m downloading the same file over the network
over and over again. Now there are two ways to deal with this situation
Solution 1: Local Ubuntu mirror - Super fast but unweildy
The first solution is to download a complete Ubuntu mirror to your computer. That is, download ALL Ubuntu packages to your system, and then it is super fast. The first download will be close to 80GBs though. It would have been fine for me to download 80GBs, but you’ll realize the problem when you want to update this mirror. If you are trying to update the local mirror every week or so, each time it will ask you to download around 5GB of data. And that unfortunately is too much for me to download every few days.
Solution 2: Cache with Squid proxy - Just about perfect
The other alternative is use a local cache, using Squid proxy. It works like just another cache: if you want a package of a specific version, Squid will connect over the internet to find more details about that file. Once it gets these details, it checks if a file (package) matching those details is already present in the local cache. If it is locally present, it just sends this local copy to the requester. So the total Internet bandwidth utilised is only to get the file details, which is miniscule (Bytes) compared to downloading the whole package (MBs)j. If the details doesn’t match any locally cached packages, the proxy fetches that package from internet and responds to the requester.
Enough of theory, let’s put theory to some practice :)
All of the commands below are run on Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty).
Install Squid proxy package.
sudo apt-get install squid
/etc/squid3/squid.conf and make it contain these lines.
You will need root permissions to edit this file
acl localhost src 127.0.0.1/32 ::1 acl to_localhost dst 127.0.0.0/8 0.0.0.0/32 ::1 acl localnet src 10.0.0.0/8 # RFC1918 possible internal network acl localnet src 172.16.0.0/12 # RFC1918 possible internal network acl localnet src 192.168.0.0/16 # RFC1918 possible internal network acl SSL_ports port 443 acl Safe_ports port 80 # http acl Safe_ports port 21 # ftp acl Safe_ports port 443 # https acl Safe_ports port 70 # gopher acl Safe_ports port 210 # wais acl Safe_ports port 1025-65535 # unregistered ports acl Safe_ports port 280 # http-mgmt acl Safe_ports port 488 # gss-http acl Safe_ports port 591 # filemaker acl Safe_ports port 777 # multiling http acl CONNECT method CONNECT http_access allow manager localhost http_access deny manager http_access deny !Safe_ports http_access deny CONNECT !SSL_ports http_access allow localnet http_access allow localhost http_access deny all http_port 3128 maximum_object_size 1024 MB cache_dir aufs /var/spool/squid3 5000 24 256 coredump_dir /var/spool/squid3 refresh_pattern ^ftp: 1440 20% 10080 refresh_pattern ^gopher: 1440 0% 1440 refresh_pattern -i (/cgi-bin/|\?) 0 0% 0 refresh_pattern (Release|Packages(.gz)*)$ 0 20% 2880 refresh_pattern . 0 20% 4320 refresh_all_ims on
You don’t need to know or remember what is happening here right now. Just copy and paste :)
Restart the service:
sudo service squid3 restart
Now squid service is running, and listening on port 3128. You can use any IP
of your base system which is accessible from your VMs to get packages
via this cache. I give my base system an IP of
192.168.100.1, so I just
need to do:
to source the proxy environment variable, which we’ll use to point the APT system
to, to fetch packages from. To test if you proxy is working fine locally,
you can provide
127.0.0.1, your localhost IP instead.
And after that can start using the cache to download packages by just passing
option to the
sudo -E apt-get install <your package>
Sure there are alternative ways of using the proxy, but this is my favourite!
I’m already behind a proxy!
Worry not, add these lines to
squid.conf, restart squid and you’re all set for using the
brand new proxy instead of the old one :)
cache_peer 10.135.121.138 parent 3128 0 no-query no-digest never_direct allow all
You can go to
/var/spool/squid3 and run a
du -sch to see the total size
of cached files. I find it easy sometimes to calculate the total size of
files this directory holds, to make sure the proxy is working correctly –
if you can ‘new’ packages being downloaded, but the size of this directory
is not increasing, they’re not coming via this proxy, and you need to figure
out why :)
One more important thing I should tell is that the configuration file we’ve used not only caches APT packages, but also any static files hosted anywhere on the internet. So if let’s say you want to download an Ubuntu ISO or some other ISO multiple times in your setup (say, inside VMs), you can cache the ISO file as well with our current setup.
Tell me what is the size your
/var/spool/squid3/ directory has
reached. Mine is at 1GB right now after a year of it’s usage.