Sample App for Django

App Platform is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering that allows developers to publish code directly to DigitalOcean servers without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

The Python buildpack applies to this sample app. See the Python buildpack overview for more information about its configuration options and limitations.

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Getting Started

These steps will get this sample Django application running for you using DigitalOcean. This application is the standard Django Polls Tutorial with an added page at /. This app uses a Postgres database by default. If you want to change this to use a local sqlite db (this will not persist deployments) then you’ll need to set an environment variable specified below.

Note: Following these steps will result in charges for the use of DigitalOcean services


Forking the Sample App Source Code

To use all the features of App Platform, you need to be running against your own copy of this application. To make a copy, click the Fork button above and follow the on-screen instructions. In this case, you’ll be forking this repo as a starting point for your own app (see Github documentation to learn more about forking repos.

After forking the repo, you should now be viewing this README in your own github org (e.g.<your-org>/sample-django)

Deploying the App

  1. Visit (if you’re not logged in, you may see an error message. Visit directly and authenticate, then try again)
  2. Click “Launch App” or “Create App”
  3. Choose GitHub and authenticate with your GitHub credentials.
  4. Under Repository, choose this repository (e.g. <your-org>/sample-django) and click Next.
  5. On the next screen you will be prompted for the name of your app, which region you wish to deploy to, which branch you want deployments to spin off of and whether or not you wish to autodeploy the app every time an update is made to this branch. Fill this out according to how you want your app to function and click Next.
  6. Once you have reached the next screen you will be prompted about environment variables, build and run commands, and if you want to deploy a database.
    1. Click Edit next to the Environment Variables section and add the following :
      1. If you wish to launch the Django app in Debug mode, set DEBUG to True
      2. Set DJANGO_ALLOWED_HOSTS to ${APP_DOMAIN} to set the allowed_hosts setting of your app to the default domain provided by DigitalOcean.
      3. Set DATABASE_URL to ${<YOUR_DB_NAME>.DATABASE_URL}. You will set the database name in a next step. For simplicity, just name it db so the example would look like ${db.DATABASE_URL}
      4. You can find more information about all the different environment variables here.
  7. Modify the Run Command setting to point to your application. For this example my project is named mysite. So the modified command would be gunicorn --worker-tmp-dir /dev/shm mysite.wsgi.
  8. There is no need to modify the Build Command section
  9. Click Add a Database to add the necessary Postgres db. For simplicity sake, just name it db. You can also connect an existing DBaaS instance if you choose.
  10. Click “Next”.
  11. Confirm your Plan settings and how many containers you want to launch and click Launch Basic/Pro App.
  12. You should see a “Building…” progress indicator. And you can click “Deployments"→"Details” to see more details of the build.
  13. It can currently take 5-6 minutes to build this app, so please be patient. Live build logs are coming soon to provide much more feedback during deployments.
  14. Once the build completes successfully, click the “Live App” link in the header and you should see your running application in a new tab, displaying the home page.
  15. You will still need to perform the following tasks from the dashboard console to finish setting up your Django application:
    1. Navigate to the console tab
    2. Run python migrate to perform the initial database migration. After setup, you may need to migrate the database again if updated. For this reason, we recommend setting up a pre-deploy Job to migrate the database, automated to run before each deployment. This method also ensures that the migration happens successfully before serving traffic. If it fails, the old version of the service remains active instead.
    3. Run python createsuperuser and follow the prompts to create a super user to access at /admin.

Environment Variables

Many of the Django settings necessary to have an app run on App Platform have been exposed as environment variables. Below is a list and what they do

  • DEBUG - Set Django to debug mode. Defaults to False.
  • DJANGO_ALLOWED_HOSTS - The hostnames django is allowed to receive requests from. This defaults to,localhost. Can be a comma deliminated list. For more information about allowed_hosts view the django documentation.
  • DEVELOPMENT_MODE - This determines whether to use a Postgres db or local sqlite. Defaults to False therefore using the Postgres db
  • DATABASE_URL - The connection url including port, username, and password to connect to a postgres db. This is provided by App Platform. Required if DEVELOPMENT_MODE is False.

Making Changes to Your App

As long as you left the default Autodeploy option enabled when you first launched this app, you can now make code changes and see them automatically reflected in your live application. During these automatic deployments, your application will never pause or stop serving request because the App Platform offers zero-downtime deployments.

Here’s an example code change you can make for this app:

  1. Edit code within the repository
  2. Commit the change to master. Normally it’s a better practice to create a new branch for your change and then merge that branch to master after review, but for this demo you can commit to master directly.
  3. Visit and navigate to your sample-python app.
  4. You should see a “Building…” progress indicator, just like above.
  5. Once the build completes successfully, click the “Live App” link in the header and you should see your updated application running. You may need to force refresh the page in your browser (e.g. using Shift+Reload).

Learn More

You can learn more about the App Platform and how to manage and update your application at

Deleting the App

When you no longer need this sample application running live, you can delete it by following these steps:

  1. Visit the Apps control panel at
  2. Navigate to the sample-python app
  3. Choose “Settings”->“Destroy”

This will delete the app and destroy any underlying DigitalOcean resources

Note: If you don’t delete your app, charges for the use of DigitalOcean services will continue to accrue.