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How to Set Up a Django Web Framework on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)

Reviewed on 10 May 2021 • Published on 29 October 2018
  • compute
  • installing
  • Django-Web-Framework
  • Ubuntu-20.04-LTS
  • Focal-Fossa

Django Overview

Django is a web development framework for developing dynamic websites and applications. Django allows the use of less code and eases the creation of complex websites. It provides a very good structure and easy methods that help to do the heavy lifting when writing web applications.

There are many different ways to install the Django framework on Ubuntu:

  • Django installation with pip in a virtual environment: By installing pip, you can install Django for use by any user on the system. The pip should always contain the latest stable Django. By using this method, you can install Django without affecting the entire system. This is typically the most practical and recommended approach to working with Django.

  • Django installation from packages: Ubuntu repositories contain Django packages (using the apt package manager). The main disadvantage is the version contained in the repositories may lag behind the official versions available from the project.

  • Django installation from its github repository: if you wish to install the latest development version instead of the stable release.

In this tutorial, we will install Django with pip in a virtual environment, as it is the most practical and most flexible way to install without affecting the larger system, along with other per-project customizations and packages.


Installing Django with pip in a Virtual Environment

  1. Update your local package index with apt

    apt update
  2. Check which version of Python you have installed. The version currently shipped with Ubuntu 20.04 is Python 3.8.2:

    root@Django:~# python3 -V
    Python 3.8.2
  3. Install pip from the Ubuntu repositories

    apt install python3-pip python3-django
  4. Install the venv package with pip

    apt install python3-venv
  5. Once that is done, you can now start a new project in Django. Remember that whenever you start a new project, start by creating and moving into a new project directory.

    mkdir ~/newhostA
    cd ~/newhostA
  6. Create a virtual environment within the project directory using the python command that’s compatible with your version of Python. We will call our virtual environment my_env

    python3.8 -m venv my_env

    This will install standalone versions of Python and pip into an isolated directory structure within your project directory. A directory will be created with the name you select, which will hold the file hierarchy where your packages will be installed.

  7. To install packages into the isolated environment, you must activate it by typing:

    source my_env/bin/activate

    Your prompt should change to reflect that you are now in your virtual environment. It will look something like:

    (my_env) root@Django:~/newhostA#
  8. In your environment, install Django with pip

    pip install django
  9. Verify the version installed

    django-admin --version

    which returns

    (my_env) root@Django:~/newhostA# django-admin --version

    To leave your virtual environment, you need to issue the deactivate command from anywhere on the system:


    Your prompt should revert to the normal display.


    If you need to re-activate your virtual environment, moving back into your project directory and activating:

    cd ~/newhostA
    source my_env/bin/activate

Creating a Sample Project

With Django installed, we can now start to create our project and test it on your development server using a virtual environment.

  1. Create a directory for your project

    mkdir ~/my-django
    cd ~/my-django
  2. Create your virtual environment

    python3.8 -m venv my_env
  3. Activate the environment

    source my_env/bin/activate
  4. Install django in the environment:

    pip install django
  5. To create your project, use django-admin <command> [options] which is Django’s command-line utility for administrative tasks. In each Django project, a is automatically created.

    The startproject command enables to create a new project. The command creates a directory within your current working directory that includes:

    • which you can use to administer various Django-specific tasks.
    • a directory (with the same name as the project) that includes the actual project code.
  6. Create your project(myDjangoProject). Add a period at the end of the command to place the management script and inner directory in the current directory.

    django-admin startproject myDjangoProject .
  7. Migrate the database (this example uses SQLite by default) using the migrate command with Migrations apply any changes you’ve made to your Django models to your database schema.

    python migrate

    which returns

    Operations to perform:
    Apply all migrations: admin, auth, contenttypes, sessions
    Running migrations:
    Applying contenttypes.0001_initial... OK
    Applying auth.0001_initial... OK
    Applying admin.0001_initial... OK
    Applying admin.0002_logentry_remove_auto_add... OK
    Applying admin.0003_logentry_add_action_flag_choices... OK
    Applying contenttypes.0002_remove_content_type_name... OK
    Applying auth.0002_alter_permission_name_max_length... OK
    Applying auth.0003_alter_user_email_max_length... OK
    Applying auth.0004_alter_user_username_opts... OK
    Applying auth.0005_alter_user_last_login_null... OK
    Applying auth.0006_require_contenttypes_0002... OK
    Applying auth.0007_alter_validators_add_error_messages... OK
    Applying auth.0008_alter_user_username_max_length... OK
    Applying auth.0009_alter_user_last_name_max_length... OK
    Applying sessions.0001_initial... OK
  8. Create an administrative user so that you can use the Djano admin interface using the createsuperuser command

    python createsuperuser
  9. Answers the prompts which will ask for:

    • A username, an email address, and a password for your user.
    • An email
    • A password (containing at least 8 characters)
    (my_env) root@Django:~/my-django# python createsuperuser
    Username (leave blank to use 'root'): scaleway
    Email address:
    Password (again):
    Superuser created successfully.

Modifying Django Settings

  1. Open the settings file

    nano myDjangoProject/

    To test your application, you will need to modify one of the directives in the Django settings. Locate the ALLOWED_HOSTS directive to define the addresses or domain names that may be used to connect to the Django instance.

  2. List the IP addresses or domain names that are associated with your Django server.


    Each item should be listed in quotations, with separate entries separated by a comma.

    . . .
    ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['your_server_ip_or_domain', 'your_second_ip_or_domain', . . .]
  3. Save the file and exit

Testing the Development Server

Important: Before you try the development server, make sure you open the appropriate port in your firewall. If you followed the initial server setup guide and are using UFW, you can open port 8000 by typing: `ufw allow 8000`
  1. Start the development server

    python runserver your_server_ip:8000
  2. Visit your server’s IP address followed by :8000 in your web browser http://your_internal_server_ip:8000

    which should display

  3. Add /admin/ to the end of your URL. The login page displays.

  4. Enter your username and password. The admin page displays.

    The Django project you’ve created provides the structural basis for designing a more complete site. Check out the Django documentation for more information about how to build your applications and customize your site.

Going Further?

To go further with Django, learn how to create models and configure your application with the API and the Admin Console.