Django on Linode

How to setup Django websites on Linode

The Setup for Django on Linode

The most popular way to run Django websites on Linode is via Apache and mod_wsgi. You can install it on any distribution of Linux, although this particular guide will use Ubuntu as an example.

Alternative Setups

Before we begin, let's note that there are many great alternatives for running Django on Linode. We can substitute Apache + mod_wsgi with Nginx + FastCGI, which is ideal for virtual private server plans with less memory available. You could also use Nginx + gunicorn, an actively supported project.

Install Python, Django, and Other Dependencies

Django is dependent on quite a few software packages. You'll need Python, Django, your database with Python drivers, setuptools, mod_wsgi. For Ubuntu:

$ apt-get install python-setuptools
$ apt-get install libapache2-mod-wsgi
$ apt-get install mysql-server
$ apt-get install python-mysqldb

If you're using PostgreSQL instead of MySQL, substitute the last two lines with:

$ apt-get install postgresql
$ apt-get install python-psycopg2

Now use easy_install to install Django:

$ easy_install Django

That's it for Django. You've got it installed and are able to run it just like how you run it on your local laptop. However, you got this VPS to run an application in production! The development server doesn't cut it for serving production websites. Next, you'll need to configure Apache with mod_wsgi.

Apache and mod_wsgi

Your application will need a .wsgi file which is used to configure mod_wsgi. Just place this configuration file into the root of your project directory:

import os
import sys

os.environ['DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE'] = 'settings'

import django.core.handlers.wsgi
application = django.core.handlers.wsgi.WSGIHandler()

Make sure you replace the /path/to/application string with the actual path to your Django application.

In your Apache configuration, for the VirtualHost of your website, you'll need to add a few line to configure WSGI:

WSGIScriptAlias / /path/to/application/django.wsgi
<Directory /path/to/application>
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all

The above lines will forward requests along to your Django application. You'll still need to configure your static resources. You'll want Apache, an amazing web server, to serve your static assets for you:

Alias /static /path/to/application/public_html/static
Alias /images /path/to/application/public_html/images

Be sure to add aliases for any other static asset directories and paths.

Whenever you modify the configuration file for Apache or the WSGI file in your application directory, be sure to restart the server with:

$ /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

And you should be good to go!