Force an entire site to become readonly. In a sort of hackish way.
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.gitignore Add support for selective read-only db when multi-databases are used Oct 14, 2015
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README.rst Version bump Dec 18, 2016



A way to globally disable writes to your database. This works by inserting a cursor wrapper between Django's CursorWrapper and the database connection's cursor wrapper.


The library is hosted on PyPi, so you can grab it there with:

pip install django-db-readonly

Then add readonly to your INSTALLED_APPS.:

    # ...
    # ...


You need to add this line to your to make the database read-only:

# Set to False to allow writes

When you do this, any write action to your databases will generate an exception. You should catch this exception and deal with it somehow. Or let Django display an error 500 page. The exception you will want to catch is readonly.exceptions.DatabaseWriteDenied which inherits from django.db.utils.DatabaseError.

There is also a middleware class that will handle the exceptions and attempt to handle them as explained below. To enable the middleware, add the following line to your

    # ...
    # ...

This will then catch DatabaseWriteDenied exceptions. If the request is a POST request, we will redirect the user to the same URL, but as a GET request. If the request is not a POST (ie. a GET), we will just display a HttpResponse with text telling the user the site is in read-only mode.

In addition, the middleware class can add an error-type message using the django.contrib.messages module. Add:

# Enable

to your and then on POST requests that generate a DatabaseWriteDenied exception, we will add an error message informing the user that the site is in read-only mode.

For additional messaging, there is a context processor that adds SITE_READ_ONLY into the context. Add the following line in your

    # ...
    # ...

And use it as you would any boolean in the template, e.g. {% if SITE_READ_ONLY %} We're down for maintenance. {% endif %}


There aren't any tests included, yet. Run it at your own risk.


This will work with Django Debug Toolbar. In fact, I was inspired by DDT's sql panel when writing this app.

However, in order for both DDT and django-db-readonly to work, you need to make sure that you have readonly before debug_toolbar in your INSTALLED_APPS. Otherwise, you are responsible for debugging what is going on. Of course, I'm not sure why you'd be running DDT in production and running django-db-readonly in development, but whatever, I'm not you.

More generally, if you have any other apps that modifies either django.db.backends.util.CursorWrapper or django.db.backends.util.CursorDebugWrapper, you need to make sure that readonly is placed before of those apps in INSTALLED_APPS.

The Nitty Gritty

How does this do what it does? Well, django-db-readonly sits between Django's own cursor wrapper at django.db.backends.util.CursorWrapper and the database specific cursor at django.db.backends.*.base.*CursorWrapper. It overrides two specific methods: execute and executemany. If the site is in read-only mode, then the SQL is examined to see if it contains any write actions (defined in readonly.ReadOnlyCursorWrapper.SQL_WRITE_BLACKLIST). If a write is detected, an exception is raised.


Uses the MIT license.