starting point for a new Django site (with FeinCMS, deployable on Nginx using Fabric)
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.
docs DARM: add migrations and license sections Apr 9, 2016
requirements use different dotenv implementation (installable with pip) Apr 10, 2017
reusable_app_project import missing Exception Apr 25, 2016
.gitignore ignore .env files and development databases (new name) Jun 3, 2014
.project PyDev: add Django nature Feb 9, 2011
.pydevproject Eclipse settings update Apr 9, 2016


generic django project

This is my starting point for a new Django site, mixed and stirred from several public sources and spiced with my own enhancements.

I normally work with FeinCMS and its medialibrary, this is reflected in my setups.

My webserver of choice is Nginx with gunicorn, since my virtual server is always low on memory.


  • server OS: Debian/Ubuntu based Linux
  • local OS: MacOS X (only some local settings are OSX specific)
  • web server: Nginx/gunicorn or Nginx/fcgi
  • Python version: 2.7 or 3.x
  • Django version: 1.9+ (1.6+ should work)
  • FeinCMS version: 1.5+
  • version control: Git
  • deployment tool: Fabric
  • local development database: SQLite3
  • server database: MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • process control (optional): supervisord or daemontools


Django’s startproject doesn’t do enough. I’m a programmer, thus lazy, and try to reduce redundant work like repeating the same setup steps over and over. (DRY)

Just copying/cloning this generic project to a new site isn’t ideal either, since general changes don’t affect all dependent sites, but I got no idea how to do that.


I’m trying to keep this current and to implement what I learn from my actual projects and best practice advise. But since I mostly do other things than starting new django projects, I’m always far behind.

  • While I try to adhere to best practices, there are probably security holes - use at your own risk.
  • Since I update this template after experiences with my actual sites, the commits are often not atomic.
  • I handle migrations wrongly, will try to fix soon.
  • pip-installed requirements are not fixed on a version.
  • I could also support runit, but I didn't want to replace init.
  • I’m not using daemontools any more, so its configuration is outdated.


  • gunicorn runs internally on an unix socket, because I find file locations easier to control than server ports.
  • I’m integrating Let’s Encrypt certificates and automating their renewal.
  • My nginx settings get an A+ rating at SSLLabs



This project template itself has no special license. Do with it what you want. Attribution is appreciated. Corrections are welcome. I’m not responsible for your failure, damage or loss.

Since it’s a collection of (modified) snippets from different sources that may have different licenses, it would be impossible to untangle.

Following Django’s documentation I suggest to use a 2-clause BSD license for your own projects.

How To


  • Copy generic_django_project
  • Rename "django_project" (this would be the project root as created by startproject)
  • Replace all occurrences of lowercase "project_name" with your project name. This is also the webserver and database server username! The "project_name" directory is the one that would be created by startapp.
  • Check the settings in server-setup and django_project/settings:,, supervisor.conf, settings/, settings/ etc.
  • Adapt LICENSE to your needs if you might publish your project. The 2-clause BSD license is just a suggestion.
  • Set up an email account for your project’s error messages and configure it in settings/ and .env
  • cd into your project directory, virtualenv . (create virtual environment; make sure you use the right version)
  • . bin/activate (activate virtual environment)
  • bin/pip install -r requirements/local.txt (install requirements)
  • cd <project_name>
  • vi .env (create .env file, see below)
  • ./ migrate (initialize migrations)
  • git init, always commit all changes
  • fab webserver setup (once)
  • fab webserver deploy (publish new release - always last committed version!)

Following 12-factor design, we now set our passwords and other secret settings as environment variables to avoid to have them in version control. I suggest to go the dotenv route:

Put your settings into a .env file in the django_project directory, to use with django-dotenv. Don’t forget to tell git to ignore .env files!


Alternatively add the settings to the end of your virtualenvs activate script:

export SECRET_KEY=secret123
export DATABASE_PASSWORD=secret123
export EMAIL_PASSWORD=secret123


  • Create the user

    I suggest to copy to your webserver’s root/admin account and use it to create system and database accounts.

    scp root@www.yourdomain.tld:/root/bin/

    Otherwise look into that script. This is just a part of the necessary setup:

    • create user and sudo-enable it (I suggest via a admin group, but you can also add the user to sudoers):

      adduser project_name --disabled-password --gecos ""
      adduser project_name admin
    • create database user and database (schema):

      mysql -u root -p
      # at first setup only: we installed MySQL without user interaction,
      # so there’s no root password. Set it!
      use mysql;
      update user set password=password('...') where user='root';
      # create user and database for our project:
      create user 'project_name'@'localhost' identified by '...';
      create database project_name character set 'utf8';
      grant all privileges on project_name.* to 'project_name'@'localhost';
      flush privileges;
  • Create your .env file at /var/www/project_name (or use virtualenvsactivate script), see above.

  • publish your project (fab webserver setup)

  • Open your firewall for tcp 433 (not default on some systems).

  • Request a SSL certificate, see e.g.

    sudo /opt/letsencrypt/certbot-auto --config /etc/letsencrypt/configs/ certonly


If you use FeinCMS’ Page, consider first, which extensions you’ll need – see the docs – the migration is somewhat tricky.

Since the setup requires monkey patching FeinCMS’s models, you must pull their migrations into your app, as outlined in the docs. The same is true for Plata.

Have a look at Feinheit’s FeinCMS compatible apps, content types and plugins: ElephantBlog, Plata, form_designer etc.

Instead of FeinCMS’s medialibrary, consider to use django-filer instead, there’s some support for it in FeinCMS, but not yet here.

Links / Sources