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starting point for a new Django site (with FeinCMS, deployable on Apache or Nginx using Fabric)

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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, but sometimes also with Photologue, this is reflected in my setups.

My webserver of choice is Nginx with gunicorn, since my virtual server is always low on memory. Setup for Nginx with fcgi is also provided.


  • 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
  • Django version: 1.6
  • version control: Git
  • deployment tool: Fabric
  • local development database: SQLite3
  • server database: MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • database migration: South
  • process control (optional): daemontools or supervisord


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.


  • Probably security holes - use at your own risk.
  • I could also support runit, but I didn't want to replace init
  • South still doesn't work for me, must overcome problems with several releases and multiple projects accessing the same Django app outside of virtualenvs


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,,, settings/base.py_, settings/local.py_ and supervisor.ini or
  • Set up an email account for your project’s error messages and configure it in settings/base.py_
  • If you use Nginx, change the internal port in nginx.conf (fastcgi_pass;); I use "8 + last 3 numbers of UID" (UIDs start at 1000 on Debian): id -u project_name
  • git init, always commit all changes
  • manage syncdb (initialize south)
  • fab webserver setup (once)
  • fab webserver deploy (publish new release - always last committed version!)


Add to the end of your virtualenvs activate script the setting of passwords as environment variables to avoid to have them in version control.

export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=project_name.settings

export DATABASE_PASSWORD=secret123 export EMAIL_PASSWORD=secret123

I suggest to use to create system and database accounts. Otherwise:

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

    adduser project_name
    adduser project_name wheel
  • 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;


If you use FeinCMS’ Page, consider first, which extensions you’ll need – see the docs and the FAQ – afterwards you would need to change the database table page_page by hand, since the changes aren’t detected by South!

Links / Sources


  • "Two Scoops of Django"_



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