Lessons Learned From The Dash: Easy Django Deployment

This is going to be a series of posts that talk about what I learned from the Django Dash. I think it’s a really fun competetion that is also a great learning experience. I hope that this series catch on, and other people write about some of the things that they learned in the Django Dash.

What I learned

The thing that I learned about during my dash project was the awesomeness that is Gunicorn. It is an awesome HTTP server that I think has really solved the “how do I deploy Django” problem.

Here are the steps involved in deploying a site using the gunicorn:

  • pip install gunicorn

  • Add ‘gunicorn’ to your installed apps

  • ./manage.py run_gunicorn -b –daemon

It really is that simple. Gunicorn is the fastest way to having a production ready web server serving your site that I’ve found in the Django realm. However, Gunicorn by itself isn’t production ready. It is recommended to deploy something in front of it. We used Nginx, which is another super simple web server.

Here is basically the simplest possible configuration of nginx that will work for your gunicorn backend server.

server {
        listen 80;
        server_name  example.com;
        access_log  /var/log/nginx/example.log;

        location / {

After you restart Nginx, you should be able to hit your server at port 80 and have it be serving your Django web app. This allowed us to get our application into production during the dash in about 10 minutes, which was a great time saver.

I’d be curious if people have had any trouble with Gunicorn in deployment, because as far as I’ve seen its production ready. As a “first Django deployment” set up I think it’s hard to beat. I’ve also noticed that is uses significantly less RAM than an Apache/mod_wsgi set up (I know this can be configured away, but by default it’s much better). This is great for the memory constrained deployment platforms a lot of us are running on.

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!