Installing Django on PythonAnywhere

Before you start this assignment, you should already have signed up for a PythonAnywhere account and be logged in on your account. You should be able to complete all of the exercises in this course using a free PythonAnywhere account.

This is a set of instructions to go through the first step of the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) Django tutorial to get Django intalled on your PythonAnywhere account.

This is adapted from the PYAW documentation for following the Django tutorial.

Feel free to look at that page as well.

You can view a video walkthrough of this assignment.

You can do all of the assignments on your local computer instead of PythonAnywhere. You will need to use the ngrok application to submit your assignments to the autograder.

Note: If you are submitting these assignments to the auto grader you should complete each assignment and then submit it and get full credit before moving on to the next assignment. Because the assignments build on one another the application that you have build by the last step of the tutorial will no longer pass the earlier autograders.


Once you have created your PYAW account, start a bash shell and set up a virtual environment with Python 3.x and Django 2.

mkvirtualenv django2 --python=/usr/bin/python3.6
pip3 install django ## this may take a couple of minutes

Note if you exit and re-start a new shell on PythonAnywhere - you need the following command to get back into your virtual environment in the new bash shell.

workon django2

Lets make sure that your django was installed successfully with the following command:

python3 -m django --version
# This should show something like 2.1.4

Lets also get a copy of the sample code for DJ4E checked out so you can look at sample code as the course progresses and install some important additional Django software libraries using pip3.

cd ~
git clone
cd dj4e-samples
pip3 install -r requirements.txt
python3 makemigrations
python3 migrate

In the PYAW shell, continue the steps from the MDN:

cd ~
mkdir django_projects
cd django_projects
django-admin startproject mytestsite

In the PYAW web interface navigate to the Web tab to create a new web application. If you have not already done so, add a new web application. Select manual configuration and Python 3.6. Once the webapp is created, you need to make a few changes to the settings for the web app and your application.

Source code: /home/drchuck/django_projects/mytestsite
Working directory: /home/drchuck/django_projects/mytestsite

Virtualenv: /home/drchuck/.virtualenvs/django2

Replace drchuck with your account on PythonAnywhere.

Note that once you have your Virtualenv set up you have a very convenient link titled "Start a console in this virtualenv" - this is a great way to open up consoles so you never have to type "workon django2" and it makes sure your virtual envronment is properly set up and configured. Sample image

Then edit the WGSI Configuration File and put the following code into it. Make sure to delete the existing contenxt of the file and replace it with the text below. This is slightly different from the sample in the PythonAnywhere tutorial.

import os
import sys

path = os.path.expanduser('~/django_projects/mytestsite')
if path not in sys.path:
    sys.path.insert(0, path)
os.environ['DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE'] = 'mytestsite.settings'
from django.core.wsgi import get_wsgi_application
from django.contrib.staticfiles.handlers import StaticFilesHandler
application = StaticFilesHandler(get_wsgi_application())

You need to edit the file ~/django_projects/mytestsite/mytestsite/ and change the allowed hosts line (around line 28) to be:

 ALLOWED_HOSTS = [ '*' ]

There are three ways to edit files in your PythonAnywhere environment, ranging from the easiest to the coolest. You only have to edit the file one of these ways.

(1) Go to the main PythonAnywhere dashboard, browse files, navigate to the correct folder and edit the file


(2) Or in the command line:

cd ~/django_projects/mytestsite/mytestsite/

Save the File by pressing 'CTRL-X', 'Y', and Enter

(3) Don't try this most difficult and most cool way to edit files on Linux without a helper if it is your first time with the vi text editor.

cd ~/django_projects/mytestsite/mytestsite/

Once you have opened vi, cursor down to the ALLOWED_HOSTS line, position your cursor between the braces and press the i key to go into 'INSERT' mode, then type your new text and press the esc key when you are done. To save the file, you type :wq followed by enter. If you get lost press escape :q! enter to get out of the file without saving.

If you aleady know some other command line text editor in Linux, you can use it to edit files. In general, you will find that it often quicker and easier to make small edits to files in the command line rather than a full screen UI. And once you start deploying real applications in production environments like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.. all you will have is command line.

Once this file has been edited, on the PYAW Web tab, Reload your web application, wait a few seconds and check that it is up and running:

Replace drchuck with your account on PythonAnywhere.

Here is a Sample of what the resulting page should look like.