Deployment of pip-installable Django projects
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A standard stack for Django, using python packaging and Fabric for single-line deployments on Debian/Ubuntu machines.

A "bundle" is like an app on, or an instance on You can deploy as many bundles as you want on a single machine.

This isn't intended for large-scale deployment but rather small sites fitting on a single server (although you can scale vertically).

Almost everything here is implemented, a couple of things are still missing:

  • Bundle destruction


  • Python (duh)
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis (RQ tasks, cache backend)
  • Gunicorn
  • Supervisor
  • Nginx
  • Sentry, using a remote sentry server
  • GIS-ready by default
  • HTTPS handling with A grade from
  • XSendfile support


  • Package your django project, you should be able to pip install it from a private location. Your package should be able to configure itself completely using environment variables.
  • Put your private requirements (if any) into a vendor/ directory, as python packages.
pip install ssh
pip install

Create a file in your project root:

from fab_bundle import env, task, bootstrap, deploy, destroy, ssh

def production():
    """Use the production server"""
    # SSH login info
    env.user = 'bruno'
    env.hosts = ['']
    env.key_filename = '/path/to/id_rsa'
    env.admin = ''

    # Nginx
    env.http_host = ''

    # Django
    env.wsgi = 'project.wsgi:application'
    env.env = {
        'SECRET_KEY': 'production secret key',
        'DATABASE_URL': 'postgis://localhost:5432/',
        '…': 'etc etc',

Bootstrap the server setup:

fab production bootstrap

Deploy your package:

fab production deploy

This runs sdist, uploads the package and its private requirements to the server and updates or creates the bundle's environment and layout.

For subsequent deploys you don't need to run bootstrap again, although doing so is harmless.

To deploy a specific version (for instance for rolling back), add your version number as an argument:

fab production deploy:1.1.2

Note that this will not re-upload the package if it's already been uploaded.

Should you ever need a plain shell, do:

fab production ssh


Python requirements

You need to add the following packages to your environment:

  • django-redis-cache
  • psycopg2
  • redis


Every day you get an email with the load average, out-of-date packages and disk space available on your machine. This email is sent to env.admin:

env.admin = ''


Fab-bundle checks for the presence of ssl_key and ssl_cert in env:

env.ssl_cert = '/path/to/ssl_cert.crt'
env.ssl_key = '/path/to/ssl_cert_key.key'

Just set them to local files on your machine and your site will be configured to be HTTPS-only, with:

  • HSTS support
  • Secure session and CSRF cookies
  • Permanent redirection from non-SSL to SSL requests
  • HTTPS on static and media serving


Gunicorn uses the gevent worker class, gevent and greenlet will be installed in your bundle virtualenv.

It also uses 2 workers by default. To change the number of workers, do:

env.workers = 4

The WSGI entry point for gunicorn must be configured in env.wsgi.

Bundle location

Bundles are put in $HOME/bundles by default. To change this, set bundle_root:

def production():
    # ...
    env.bundle_root = '/var/www/bundles'

STATIC and MEDIA files

You can configure your application to use the correct locations using the STATIC_ROOT and MEDIA_ROOT environment variables:

MEDIA_ROOT = os.environ['MEDIA_ROOT']

These locations are served under the /static/ and /media/ URLs, respectively.


Set a SENTRY_DSN environment variable:

env.env = {
    'SENTRY_DSN': 'https://…',

Then use raven directly. By default raven looks for the environment variable:

from raven import Client
client = Client()

Sending Email

Expose your email configuration secrets as an environment variable:

env.env = {
    'FROM_EMAIL': 'Example <>',
    'EMAIL_URL': 'smtp://user:password@host:587',

Then make your application configure its email backend using that environment variable.


Fab-bundle will try to install postgres 9.1. If it's not available on your system, you'll need to check which version you have, make sure you pick the one that works with postgis as well:

apt-cache search postgis

This outputs stuff like postgresql-8.4-postgis. Then set:

env.pg_version = '8.4'

You will get daily DB backups in $HOME/dbs, they're kept for 7 days and then rotated, so it's up to you to back them up offsite if you need to.

To configure your application, set an environment variable:

env.env = {
    'DATABASE_URL': 'postgis://postgres:@localhost/',

Then make your application configure its database backend using that environment variable.

For each bundle, you get a database with the bundle's http_host as database name.


Only Nashvegas is currently supported.

def production():
    # ...
    env.migrations = 'nashvegas'

Note that you need to provide the path to your migrations in NASHVEGAS_MIGRATIONS_DIRECTORY, for instance in your settings:



They're enabled by default. To disable them:

def production():
    # ...
    env.staticfiles = False

Cron tasks

To add scheduled tasks:

def production():
    # ...
    env.cron = (
        ('*/30 * * * *', './env/bin/ command_name'),

Commands are run from your bundle root. This folder contains:

  • the virtualenv in env/
  • the environment variables in envdir
  • the nginx, supervisor, etc config in conf/
  • the nginx, supervisor and gunicorn logs in log/
  • the static and media files in public/
  • the python packages in packages/

Cron commands' stdout and stderr are appended to <bundle_root>/log/cron.log.

Private index server

If you have your own PyPI for deployments, you can point to it like this:

def production():
    # ...
    env.index_url = ''

Note that it will be passed to pip's --index-url argument, not --find-links or --extra-index-url so you need all your dependencies here.

RQ tasks

RQ support is opt-in. You can set the number of workers like this:

def production():
    # ...
    env.rq = {
        'workers': 1,

You still need to specify the python requirements yourself. Note that the rqworker will use the redis database specified in env.cache. You also need to pass this number to your application using an environment variable and configure the RQ setting:

env.env = {
    'REDIS_URL': 'redis://localhost:6379/2',

RQ = {
    'db': int(urlparse.urlparse(os.environ['REDIS_URL']).path[1:]),

Make sure you use the DB id from this setting when you enqueue new tasks.

Custom settings

If you need custom settings, the pattern is the same as with email and database settings: define environment variables and parse them in your application's settings file.


Nginx has the ability to serve private files and leave your upstream server decide whether the file should be served or not via a header. This is called XSendfile

To make this work with fab-bundle, set env.xsendfile to the list of locations you want to protect:

env.xsendfile = [

Note that your MEDIA_ROOT is served under the /media/ URL prefix.

Then in your view:

response = HttpResponse(mimetype='application/octet-stream')
response['X-Accel-Redirect'] = '/media/private/'
return response


Fab-bundle installs the libraries required by geodjango and creates all the databases from a spatial template. If you don't need this, you can disable GIS support by setting env.gis:

env.gis = False

Rolling back

Had a bad deploy? It happens. Rollback to a previous version, let's say 1.2:

fab production deploy:1.2

Backing up

Databases are dumped every day, you can sync them as well as your media files using a script such as:

#! /bin/sh
mkdir -p log dbs
RSYNC="rsync -avz -e ssh"
$RSYNC $HOST:dbs/*/$DOMAIN* dbs
$RSYNC $HOST:bundles/$DOMAIN/public/media .
$RSYNC $HOST:bundles/$DOMAIN/log/*.gz log

Cleaning up

Want to remove your app? This will remove everything related to your bundle:

fab production destroy