Set Up Django with Postgres, Nginx, and Gunicorn on Ubuntu 20.04

In this post, we will install Django in a Python virtual environment using PostgreSQL. We will then install and configure Gunicorn to serve applications. Next, we will use Nginx as a reverse proxy to the Gunicorn application server.

2 years ago   •   5 min read

By Hitesh Jethva
Table of contents


Django is an open-source Python framework that can be used for deploying Python applications. It comes with a development server to test your Python code in the local system. If you want to deploy a Python application on the production environment then you will need a powerful and more secure web server. In this case, you can use Gunicorn as a WSGI HTTP server and Nginx as a proxy server to serve your application securely with robust performance.


  • A server running Ubuntu 20.04.
  • A valid domain name pointed with your server IP.
  • A root password is configured on your server.

Install Required Packages

First, you will need to install Nginx and other Python dependencies on your server. You can install all the packages with the following command:

apt-get install python3-pip python3-dev libpq-dev curl nginx -y

Once all the packages are installed, start the Nginx service and enable it to start at system reboot:

systemctl start nginx

systemctl enable nginx

Install and Configure PostgreSQL

Next, you will need to install the PostgreSQL server on your server. You can install it with the following command:

apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib -y

After the installation, log in to PostgreSQL shell with the following command:

su - postgres

Next, create a database and user for Django with the following command:

	WITH PASSWORD 'password';

Next, grant some required roles with the following command:

ALTER ROLE djangouser 
	SET client_encoding 
	TO 'utf8';
ALTER ROLE djangouser 
	SET default_transaction_isolation 
	TO 'read committed';
ALTER ROLE djangouser 
	SET timezone 
	TO 'UTC';
	ON DATABASE djangodb 
	TO djangouser;

Next, exit from the PostgreSQL shell using the following command:


Create a Python Virtual Environment

Next, you will need to create a Python virtual environment for the Django project.

First, upgrade the PIP package to the latest version:

pip3 install --upgrade pip

Next, install the virtualenv package using the following command:

pip3 install virtualenv

Next, create a directory for the Django project using the command below:

mkdir ~/django_project

Next, change the directory to django_project and create a Django virtual environment:

cd ~/django_project
virtualenv djangoenv

Next, activate the Django virtual environment:

source djangoenv/bin/activate

Next, install the Django, Gunicorn, and other packages with the following command:

pip install django gunicorn psycopg2-binary

Install and Configure Django

Next, run the following command to create a Django project: startproject django_project ~/django_project

Next, edit the and define your database settings:

nano ~/django_project/django_project/

Find and change the following lines:

ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['', 'localhost']
	'default': {     
		'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',       
		'NAME': 'djangodb',       
		'USER': 'djangouser',        
		'PASSWORD': 'password',        
		'HOST': 'localhost',       
		'PORT': '',    
STATIC_URL = '/static/'
import os
STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static/')

Save and close the file then migrate the initial database schema to the PostgreSQL database:

./ makemigrations
./ migrate

Next, create an admin user with the following command:

./ createsuperuser

Set your admin username and password as shown below:

Username (leave blank to use 'root'): admin
Email address:
Password (again): 
Superuser created successfully.

Next, gather all the static content into the directory

./ collectstatic

Test the Django Development Server

Now, start the Django development server using the following command:

./ runserver

You should see the following output:

Watching for file changes with StatReloader
Performing system checks...
System check identified no issues (0 silenced).
June 22, 2021 - 11:15:57
Django version 3.2.4, using settings 'django_project.settings'
Starting development server at
Quit the server with CONTROL-C.

Now, open your web browser and access your Django app using the URL You will be redirected to the Django login page:

django admin login page

Provide your admin username, password and click on the Login. You should see the Django dashboard on the following page:

django admin dashboard

Now, go back to your terminal and press CTRL + C to stop the Django development server.

Test Gunicorn

Next, you will need to test whether the Gunicorn can serve the Django or not. You can start the Gunicorn server with the following command:

gunicorn --bind django_project.wsgi

If everything is fine, you should get the following output:

[2021-06-22 11:20:02 +0000] [11820] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 20.1.0
[2021-06-22 11:20:02 +0000] [11820] [INFO] Listening at: (11820)
[2021-06-22 11:20:02 +0000] [11820] [INFO] Using worker: sync
[2021-06-22 11:20:02 +0000] [11822] [INFO] Booting worker with pid: 11822

Press CTRL + C to stop the Gunicorn server.

Next, deactivate the Python virtual environment with the following command:


Create a Systemd Service File for Gunicorn

It is a good idea to create a systemd service file for the Gunicorn to start and stop the Django application server.

To do so, create a socket file with the following command:

nano /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.socket

Add the following lines:

Description=gunicorn socket

Save and close the file then create a service file for Gunicorn:

nano /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.service

Add the following lines that match your Django project path:

Description=gunicorn daemon
ExecStart=/root/django_project/djangoenv/bin/gunicorn --access-logfile - --workers 3 --bind 
unix:/run/gunicorn.sock          django_project.wsgi:application

Save and close the file then set proper permission to the Django project directory:

chown -R www-data:root ~/django_project

Next, reload the systemd daemon with the following command:

systemctl daemon-reload

Next, start the Gunicorn service and enable it to start at system reboot:

systemctl start gunicorn.socket
systemctl enable gunicorn.socket

To check the status of the Gunicorn, run the command below:

systemctl status gunicorn.socket

You should get the following output:

● gunicorn.socket - gunicorn socket     
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.socket; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)     
Active: active (running) since Tue 2021-06-22 12:05:05 UTC; 3min 7s ago   Triggers: ● gunicorn.service     
Listen: /run/gunicorn.sock (Stream)     
CGroup: /system.slice/gunicorn.socket
Jun 22 12:05:05 django systemd[1]: Listening on gunicorn socket.

Configure Nginx as a Reverse Proxy to Gunicorn Application

Next, you will need to configure Nginx as a reverse proxy to serve the Gunicorn application server.

To do so, create an Nginx configuration file:

nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/django.conf

Add the following lines:

server {  
	listen 80;     
	location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }    
	location /static/ {         
		root /root/django_project;     
	location / {         
		include proxy_params;         
		proxy_pass http://unix:/run/gunicorn.sock;     

Save and close the file then verify the Nginx for any configuration error:

nginx -t


nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Finally, restart the Nginx service to apply the changes:

systemctl restart nginx

Now, you can access the Django application using the URL


In the above guide, you learned how to deploy a Django application with Gunicorn and Nginx as a reverse proxy. You can now use this setup in the production environment for deploying secure and high-performance Python applications.

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