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Django

Note: These instructions are primarily intended for individual user accounts. If you are using a group account, you may wish to consider apphosting instead.

Django is a popular web framework for Python applications. At the OCF, you can host it using our regular web hosting, though for groups with virtual hosting, we strongly recommend instead using our application hosting service instead, as it provides a first-class solution for webapps.

Running a Django app

The steps below assume you have already created a Django application. If you haven't, take a look at the Django documentation for help with that.

  1. Copy your Django application to your OCF account. For example, you can use scp to upload it, or if you're using source control, clone it using git (or another tool) into your home directory.

    In the steps below, we'll assume you put it at ~/app in your home directory.

  2. Inside your project directory, create a virtualenv and install your dependencies. For example, to create a Python 3 virtualenv, try:

    user@tsunami:~/app$ virtualenv -p python3 venv
    user@tsunami:~/app$ venv/bin/pip install django
    

    You'll want to install at least django to start with. If you're using other packages, install those too. You can also install from a requirements.txt file, if you have one.

    For full details on how to use pip, see the pip documentation.

  3. Inside that same virtualenv, install the flup6 package. You can just copy-and-paste the below snippet:

    user@tsunami:~/app$ venv/bin/pip install flup6
    

    If you're using a requirements.txt file, you might want to add it there as well. This part varies by how you're organizing your project.

  4. Make a directory under public_html to house your application. For example, ~/public_html/django. You can also just use public_html directly if desired.

  5. In the directory you just created, make a file called run.fcgi with the file contents:

    #!/home/u/us/user/app/venv/bin/python
    import os
    import sys
    
    sys.path.insert(0, os.path.expanduser('~/app'))
    from flup.server.fcgi import WSGIServer
    
      # Replace "djangoapp" below with your application name
    from djangoapp import wsgi
    if __name__ == '__main__':
        WSGIServer(wsgi.application).run()
    

    Make sure to replace the first line of run.fcgi file with the actual path to your project's virtualenv Python. You can find it by running the command readlink -f ~/app/venv/bin/python.

    Make sure also to replace from djangoapp with the name of your Django application (that's the name of the directory containing your wsgi.py file).

  6. In the same directory, run chmod +x run.fcgi.

  7. In the same directory, create another file called .htaccess with these contents:

    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    # Change "user" and "django" to your username and whatever directory
    # name you made in public_html, respectively.
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /~user/django/run.fcgi/$1 [QSA,L]
    

Your app should now be accessible! Note that you will likely have to add 'www.ocf.berkeley.edu' to the list of ALLOWED_HOSTS in your application's settings.

Making assets available

While your application may load, things like images, stylesheets and javascript might still be failing to load. Generally, the best way to get these to load is to set the following settings in your application:

STATIC_URL = '/~user/app/static/'
STATIC_ROOT = '/home/u/us/user/public_html/django/static'

Make sure to change user and app in STATIC_URL to the correct paths, same with u/us/user and django in STATIC_ROOT.

Then, to generate assets in STATIC_ROOT, run venv/bin/python manage.py collectstatic from the root of your application, and your assets will be copied to the correct location. This should be done after changing your application or adding/removing static assets.

Debugging

If you see an error page when trying to load your app, you may find the webserver's logs useful. You can access them in the following locations:

  • error log: /opt/httpd/error.log (most useful)
  • suexec log: /opt/httpd/suexec.log (only useful in rare cases)

Once your app has started running, changes you make to the Python code or templates won't take effect for a few hours. To apply changes immediately, the webserver needs to see that the run.fcgi file has changed. You can can change the modification time of the run.fcgi file to trigger a restart with the command:

user@tsunami:~$ touch ~/public_html/django/run.fcgi