Use Database URLs in your Django Application.
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This simple Django utility allows you to utilize the 12factor inspired DATABASE_URL environment variable to configure your Django application.

The dj_database_url.config method returns a Django database connection dictionary, populated with all the data specified in your URL. There is also a conn_max_age argument to easily enable Django's connection pool.

If you'd rather not use an environment variable, you can pass a URL in directly instead to dj_database_url.parse.

If you're interested in financially supporting Kenneth Reitz open source, consider visiting this link. Your support helps tremendously with sustainability of motivation, as Open Source is no longer part of my day job.

Supported Databases

Support currently exists for PostgreSQL, PostGIS, MySQL, MySQL (GIS), Oracle, Oracle (GIS), Redshift, and SQLite.


Installation is simple:

$ pip install dj-database-url


Configure your database in from DATABASE_URL:

import dj_database_url

DATABASES['default'] = dj_database_url.config(conn_max_age=600)

Provide a default:

DATABASES['default'] = dj_database_url.config(default='postgres://...')

Parse an arbitrary Database URL:

DATABASES['default'] = dj_database_url.parse('postgres://...', conn_max_age=600)

The conn_max_age attribute is the lifetime of a database connection in seconds and is available in Django 1.6+. If you do not set a value, it will default to 0 which is Django's historical behavior of using a new database connection on each request. Use None for unlimited persistent connections.

URL schema

Engine Django Backend URL
PostgreSQL django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2 postgres://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME [1]
PostGIS django.contrib.gis.db.backends.postgis postgis://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME
MSSQL sql_server.pyodbc mssql://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME
MySQL django.db.backends.mysql mysql://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME
MySQL (GIS) django.contrib.gis.db.backends.mysql mysqlgis://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME
SQLite django.db.backends.sqlite3 sqlite:///PATH [2]
SpatiaLite django.contrib.gis.db.backends.spatialite spatialite:///PATH [2]
Redshift django_redshift_backend redshift://USER:PASSWORD@HOST:PORT/NAME
[1]With PostgreSQL, you can also use unix domain socket paths with percent encoding: postgres://%2Fvar%2Flib%2Fpostgresql/dbname.
[2](1, 2) SQLite connects to file based databases. The same URL format is used, omitting the hostname, and using the "file" portion as the filename of the database. This has the effect of four slashes being present for an absolute file path: sqlite:////full/path/to/your/database/file.sqlite.
[3]Note that when connecting to Oracle the URL isn't in the form you may know from using other Oracle tools (like SQLPlus) i.e. user and password are separated by : not by /. Also you can omit HOST and PORT and provide a full DSN string or TNS name in NAME part.