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Deploying Django App

Posted by vladimir gorea on Sun 03 June 2018 Updated on Sun 05 July 2020


How to set up a Django app deployment on an Ubuntu server: initial configuration of the server and then setting up the app.


Deploying Django app is not an easy task. Need to take care of setting up the server, proxyserver, SSL certificate, database connections.

  1. Install nginx, python, virtualenv, certbot, postgresql etc
  2. Create user named as app
  3. Clone the app repo in the home folder of the user
  4. Make virtualenv
  5. Run the scripts for the app - install requirements, collectstatic, etc
  6. Create gunicorn_start file in the user dir
  7. Create nginx config file
  8. Add gunicorn service to systemd or supervisor

Initial setup

Create user with sudo rights

adduser {name}
paswd {name}
usermod -aG sudo {name}
su {name}

Once we have the user set up, there are still a few steps to take care of:

Install python,django,virtualenv,nginx,gunicorn

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade
sudo apt install certbot
sudo apt install python-certbot-nginx
sudo apt-get -y install build-essential libpq-dev python-dev
sudo apt-get -y install postgresql postgresql-contrib
sudo apt-get -y install nginx
sudo apt-get -y install supervisor
sudo systemctl enable supervisor
sudo systemctl start supervisor
sudo apt-get -y install python3-virtualenv
sudo apt-get -y install python3-pip

Some projects might require install an optional memory key-value database for caching like Redis

Set up django project

Create new user for each app

python3 -m venv {project_name}
source ~/www/{project_name}
pip install -r repo/requirements.txt
python collectstatic
python makemigrations
python migrate
python createsuperuser

Set up PostgreSQL

sudo apt-get -y install build-essential libpq-dev python-dev
sudo apt-get -y install postgresql postgresql-contrib
su - postgres
createuser {db_username}
createdb {db_name} --owner {db_username}
psql -c "ALTER USER {db_username} WITH PASSWORD '{password}'"

Set up Gunicorn (acting as proxyserver)

Create gunicorn_start file in {app root}/bin/

# gunicorn_start file


cd $DIR
source ../bin/activate


exec ../bin/gunicorn ${DJANGO_WSGI_MODULE}:application \
  --name $NAME \
  --workers $WORKERS \
  --user=$USER \
  --group=$GROUP \
  --bind=$BIND \
  --log-level=$LOG_LEVEL \

Make it executable

chmod u+x bin/gunicorn_start

Add gunicorn to supervisor or systemd

This step is required for making sure django app is run even if it stops - Set up supervisor /etc/supervisor/conf.d/{name}.conf

sudo supervisorctl reread
sudo supervisorctl update

Set up nginx

Create vhost file in /etc/nginx/sites-available/{name}

upstream app_memeashirt_test {                                                                    
    server unix:/home/smileservices/www/ fail_timeout=0;

server {                                                                                          

    # add here the ip address of your server                                                      
    # or a domain pointing to that ip (like or                       

    keepalive_timeout 5;                                                                          
    client_max_body_size 4G;                                                                      

    access_log /home/smileservices/www/memeashirt/logs/nginx-access.log;                          
    error_log /home/smileservices/www/memeashirt/logs/nginx-error.log;                            

    location /static/ {                                                                           
        alias /home/smileservices/www/memeashirt/repo/static_col/;                                

    # checks for static file, if not found proxy to app                                           
    location / {                                                                                  
        try_files $uri @proxy_to_app;                                                             

    location @proxy_to_app {                                                                      
      proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;                                
      proxy_set_header Host $http_host;                                                           
      proxy_redirect off;                                                                         
      proxy_pass http://app_memeashirt_test;                                                      
      auth_basic "Restricted Access";                                                             
      auth_basic_user_file /etc/nginx/memeashirt.htpasswd;                                        

Make a soft symlink to enable the virtual block

ln -s /etc/ngnix/sites-available/{name} /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/{name}

Check the nginx configuration and restart it

sudo nginx -t
sudo service nginx restart

Set up ssl

We'll create the SSL certificate ourselves, for free, using certbot

sudo certbot --nginx -d {domain name} 

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