How to Setup Django with Postgres, Nginx and Gunicorn on Ubuntu 20.04

how to set up django with postgres nginx and gunicorn on ubuntu 20.04

Django is an open-source web framework written in Python. It is a popular all-in-one web framework and one of the top choices for many developers. Django offers many advantages, such as MVT (Model View Template) architecture, automatic admin panel, and powerful ORM (Object Relational Mapping) database support. It also offers awesome debugging tools for developers. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Django with PostgreSQL as the database storage instead of the default SQLite, Nginx as the reverse proxy, and Gunicorn as the application server on Ubuntu 20.04.


  • An Ubuntu 20.04 VPS
  • SSH access with root privileges

Step 1. Log in to the server

First, log in to your Ubuntu 20.04 server through SSH as the root user:

ssh root@IP_Address -p Port_number

You will need to replace ‘IP_Address‘ and ‘Port_number‘ with your server’s respective IP address and SSH port number. Additionally, replace ‘root’ with the username of the admin account if necessary.

Before starting, you have to make sure that all Ubuntu OS packages installed on the server are up to date. You can do this by running the following commands:

# apt update -y
# apt upgrade -y

Step 2. Create a system user

Once logged in to Ubuntu 20.04 as root, we will create a new system user and grant it with sudo privileges. We will also use this user to complete this installation. In this tutorial, we will create a new system user called ‘master’, you can choose any username you like.

# adduser master

Once created, let’s run this command to add the new user to sudo group. In Ubuntu, users who are members of sudo group are allowed to run sudo commands.

# usermod -aG sudo master

We will also add user master to our www-data group

# usermod -aG www-data master

Now, we can log in as the new user ‘master’

# su - master

Step 3. Install Packages

To start this, we will install every required package from the repository. To install Nginx, PostgreSQL, Python from the repository, we can run this command:

$ sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-contrib python3-pip python3-dev libpq-dev nginx -y

Step 4. Add Database and Database User

During the PostgreSQL installation, a system user named postgres was created as the default administrative user. We need to use this user to log in to the PostgreSQL shell and perform administrative tasks.

$ sudo -u postgres psql

You will be asked for your ‘master’ password and the shell would be like this:


While in the postgreSQL shell, run the following commands:

postgres=# CREATE USER djangouser WITH PASSWORD 'm0d1fyth15';
postgres=# CREATE DATABASE djangodb;

Next, we also need to change the encoding to UTF-8, the timezone and default_transaction_isolation database scheme.

postgres=# ALTER ROLE djangouser SET client_encoding TO 'utf8';
postgres=# ALTER ROLE djangouser SET default_transaction_isolation TO 'read committed';
postgres=# ALTER ROLE djangouser SET timezone TO 'UTC';

The last part, we grant the privileges to the new database then exit PostgreSQL shell.

postgres=# GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE djangodb TO djangouser;
postgres=# \q

Step 5. Create Python Virtual Environment

Django can be installed in several ways, in this article we will show you how to install it in a python virtual environment.

$ sudo -H pip3 install --upgrade pip
$ sudo -H pip3 install virtualenv

Once completed, let’s create a new directory for django installation then enter to the new directory

$ mkdir django && cd $_

After entering the ‘django’ directory, we can run this command to create a new virtual environment.

$ virtualenv djangoenv

As seen in the picture, the new virtual environment is created in directory ‘djangoenv’. To install Django, Gunicorn and Psycopg2 in the virtual environment, we have to activate it first.

$ source djangoenv/bin/activate

By running the command above, your shell will look like this:

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$

While in the shell, run this command to install django.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ pip install django gunicorn psycopg2

Once completed, you should see an output like this:

Installing collected packages: sqlparse, backports.zoneinfo, asgiref, psycopg2, gunicorn, django
Successfully installed asgiref-3.4.1 backports.zoneinfo-0.2.1 django-4.0 gunicorn-20.1.0 psycopg2-2.9.2 sqlparse-0.4.2

All required components to start a django project should be installed in the virtual environment.

Step 6. Create Django Project

In the previous step, we created a directory ~/django or in this case /home/master/django. We will create a django project in this directory, we can run this command to install django project in ~/django. The command should be ran while we are in the virtual environment.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ django-admin startproject djangoproject ~/django

The command above will install django project in to ~/django/djangoproject. If you list the directory, you will see, djangoenv, and djangoproject in your ~/django.

Now, since we want to use PostgreSQL as the database storage, we need to modify the configuration.

$ nano ~/django/djangoproject/

Add this line at the top of your

import os

And replace the existing database information with the following.

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'NAME': 'djangodb',
        'USER': 'djangouser',
        'PASSWORD': 'm0d1fyth15',
        'HOST': 'localhost',
        'PORT': '',

Make sure the database username and password match with the one we created in the previous step. Still in the same file, find ALLOWED_HOSTS then you can add your server IP adress, domain names, sub domain names. The entries should be seperated by a comma and listed in quotations.

ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['', '', '']

Next, find the Django’s static files configuration. The changes is required to make your Django static files accessible through nginx, and to prevent nginx from returning error 404 messages. Add this line after STATIC_URL = ‘/static/’

STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static/')

Do not forget to save the changes then exit.

Next, it is time to migrate the initial database schema to our PostgreSQL database, let’s run these commands.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ ~/django/ makemigrations
(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ ~/django/ migrate

Then, create a superuser.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ ~/django/ createsuperuser

You will be asked to create a username, provide an email address and the username’s password. You would want to save the information about this administrative user and password because you will use them to log in to Django backend.

For the last one, run the command below to collect static files.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ ~/django/ collectstatic

You will need to confirm the action by answering it with yes then you will see this output after confirming:

128 static files copied to '/home/master/django/static'

Deactivate the virtual environment to exit.

(djangoenv) master@ubuntu20:~/django$ deactivate

Step 7. Create Gunicorn Systemd File

To manage Gunicorn service, we will create a systemd unit file at /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.service.

$ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.service

Paste these lines

Description=gunicorn daemon

ExecStart=/home/master/django/djangoenv/bin/gunicorn --access-logfile - --workers 3 --bind unix:/home/master/django/djangoproject.sock djangoproject.wsgi:application


Save the file then exit. Then reload systemd and start gunicorn.

$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$ sudo systemctl start gunicorn

To check whether gunicorn is running or not, run this command:

$ sudo systemctl status gunicorn

Step 8. Configure Nginx

Gunicorn is running and we are now ready to configure nginx to act as a reverse proxy to our Django project. Let’s create an nginx server block for Django and delete the nginx default server block.

$ sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/django.conf

Paste these lines in /etc/nginx/conf.d/django.conf

server {
    listen 80;

    location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location /static/ {
        alias /home/master/django/static/;
    location /.well-known {
    	alias /home/master/django/;

    location / {
        include proxy_params;
        proxy_pass http://unix:/home/master/django/djangoproject.sock;

Before saving the files, make sure you replace with your server’s actual IP address and the socket path is correct. Then, check for any error and restart nginx to reload the new configuration.

$ sudo nginx -t
$ sudo systemctl restart nginx

At this point, you should be able to access your Django project at http://YOUR_SERVER_IP_ADDRESS and the administrative URL at http://YOUR_SERVER_IP_ADDRESS/admin using your favorite web browser.

Step 9. Install SSL Certificate

This step is optional but highly recommended to complete. In the modern era, websites should run in HTTPS instead of HTTP. This step will walk you through SSL installation from Let’s Encrypt.

$ sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx -y

Once installed, edit your Django website server block and replace the server_name with your actual domain or subdomain pointed to your server IP address. Make sure the domain or subdomain DNS record is already pointed to your server prior to issuing the SSL certificate.

Open /etc/nginx/conf.d/django.conf and edit this part

server {
    listen 80;


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server {
    listen 80;

Make sure to replace with your actual domain name. Save the file then exit and reload Nginx.

$ sudo systemctl reload nginx

Now, we are ready to install the SSL certificate, run this command:

$ sudo certbot

You would need to provide your email address, accept the Let’s Encrypt TOS, and whether you want to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier Foundation or not. Then, you need to choose which names would you like to activate HTTPS for. Choose your Django website by typing the number and hitting ENTER. Let’s encrypt will install the certificate and it will ask you whether to configure HTTP to HTTPS redirect or not, you can choose redirect then certbot will create the redirection and reload Nginx if everything is okay.

Now, you should be able to access your Django website in HTTPS mode at

That’s it, you have learned how to set up Django with PostgreSQL, Nginx, and Gunicorn.

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