Start Django project with Docker

Published April 19, 2016
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


Steps to start Django projects using Docker as a part of the workflow. We use projectname to refer the project name.


  • Having Docker installed. If you are using on Mac OS X or Windows you should install Docker Toolbox.

Source Code

You can download the source code using this link.

UML Diagrams

You can consult deployment diagrams related to this post in this link.

Step One - Setup the Structure.

Download the project structure

The project containing the general structure is discharged.

git clone projectname

Remove Git folder

The folder .git is removed in order to create a new repository.

cd projectname
rm -rf .git/

Initialize new repository inside the project

Initialize a new version control over the folder to track all changes.

git init

Step Two - Create Docker Image

Create Docker image

You must create the Docker image for the project. The image contains the installation requirements established into requirements.txt file.

The file requirements.txt include basic requirements to start and deploy our Django application. If you need to add new elements now is a good moment. Use the following command to create the image:

docker build -t projectname:1.0 .

Every time that you modify the elements inside requirements.txt file you should repeat this step.

Docker Compose configuration

In the file docker-compose.yml is set the image name that will be used. The image name was setting in the previous step. In the file change the following line:

image: projectname:1.0

Step Three - Create Django Project

Create project

The project is created using the same commands described into Django website.

docker-compose run web django-admin startproject projectname .

Test the system

Start the system typing this:

docker-compose up

The system can be tested writing in the browser the following: http://<machine-ip:8000>. The port can be changed in the docker-composer.yml file.

Stop the system

The system is stopped to keep on the configurations typing this:


Step Four - Create Application

Use the following command to create an application inside Django project.

docker-compose run web python startapp app

Step Five - Create User

The users can be created using the same command line explained in Django documentation.

docker-compose run web python createsuperuser

Step Six - Production Environment

If you desire to take advantage of the application like production environment, you just need to configure the following files:

Add the this line at the end of the projectname/ file:

STATIC_ROOT = './static/'

Add this line command: ./ in docker-compose.yml file. The file should look like this:

  image: projectname:1.0
  command: ./
    - .:/code
    - "8000:80"

The file include the necessaries configurations to run your Django application like a production environment.

Finally, change projectname by your-app-name in conf/app.ini file.

Significant Revisions

Published April 19, 2016