How To Install Django On Debian Lenny (Apache2/mod_python)

November 11, 2010 by: jennyamy

This tutorial explains how to install Django on a Debian Lenny server. Django is a web framework that allows to develop Python web applications quickly with as much automation as possible. I will use it with Apache2 and mod_python in this guide.

This howto is meant as a practical guide; it does not cover the theoretical backgrounds. They are treated in a lot of other documents in the web.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Install MySQL

Django can use multiple database backends, e.g. PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, etc. If you want to use MySQL, you can install it as follows:

aptitude install mysql-server mysql-client

You will be asked to create a MySQL root password:

New password for the MySQL “root” user: <– yourrootsqlpassword
Repeat password for the MySQL “root” user: <– yourrootsqlpassword

We want MySQL to listen on all interfaces, not just localhost, therefore we edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf and comment out the line bind-address = 127.0.0.1:

vi /etc/mysql/my.cnf

[...]
# Instead of skip-networking the default is now to listen only on
# localhost which is more compatible and is not less secure.
#bind-address = 127.0.0.1
[...]

Then we restart MySQL:

/etc/init.d/mysql restart

Now check that networking is enabled. Run

netstat -tap | grep mysql

The output should look like this:

server1:~# netstat -tap | grep mysql
tcp        0      0 *:mysql                 *:*                     LISTEN      3403/mysqld
server1:~#

2 Install Apache And mod_python

If Apache2 and mod_python aren’t already installed on your system, you can install them as follows:

aptitude install apache2 apache2-doc apache2-mpm-prefork apache2-utils libexpat1 ssl-cert libapache2-mod-python

3 Install Django

In order to install Django and the Python MySQL bindings, we run:

aptitude install python-django python-mysqldb

4 Configure Apache

I will use /var/www here as the document root of my virtual host and /etc/apache2/sites-available/default as the file containing the configuration of my virtual host. Adjust this to your circumstances.


Before we configure Apache, we must create a Django project (e.g. called mysite) (see http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/tutorial01/). For security reasons I create that project outside my document root /var/www (e.g. in /home/mycode):

mkdir /home/mycode
cd /home/mycode
/usr/share/python-support/python-django/django/bin/django-admin.py startproject mysite

This will create the directory /home/mycode/mysite with some Python files in it.

Now with the project mysite created, we can configure Apache. I open my vhost configuration in /etc/apache2/sites-available/default and place the following lines between the <VirtualHost … >…</VirtualHost> container:

vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

[...]
<Location "/mysite">
SetHandler python-program
PythonHandler django.core.handlers.modpython
SetEnv DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE mysite.settings
PythonDebug On
PythonPath "['/home/mycode'] + sys.path"
</Location>
[...]

The path in the first line (<Location “/mysite”>) refers to the URL – meaning this configuration will be used if you use /mysite in the URL (e.g. http://www.example.com/mysite). You can change this to your likings. Please adjust the other values (SetEnv DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE mysite.settings and PythonPath “['/home/mycode'] + sys.path”) to the name of your project and the path where it is located.

Restart Apache afterwards:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Now you can access http://www.example.com/mysite in a browser. If everything went well, you should see something like this:


Click to enlarge
(JavaScript must be enabled in your browser to view the large image as an image overlay.)

This means Django has been successfully installed, and you can now use it to develop your Python web applications (please refer to http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/ to learn how to develop web applications with Django).

5 Connect To A MySQL Database From A Django Project

If you want to use a MySQL database in your Django project, you should first create that database (e.g. mysite) and a database user (e.g. mysiteadmin) for that database:

mysql -u root -p

CREATE DATABASE mysite;
GRANT ALL ON mysite.* TO ‘mysiteadmin’@'localhost’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘mysiteadmin_password’;
GRANT ALL ON mysite.* TO ‘mysiteadmin’@'localhost.localdomain’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘mysiteadmin_password’;
quit;

Then open the settings.py file in the project folder (e.g. /home/mycode/mysite) and modify the database settings, e.g. as follows:

vi /home/mycode/mysite/settings.py

[...]
DATABASE_ENGINE = 'mysql' # 'postgresql_psycopg2', 'postgresql', 'mysql', 'sqlite3' or 'oracle'.
DATABASE_NAME = 'mysite' # Or path to database file if using sqlite3.
DATABASE_USER = 'mysiteadmin' # Not used with sqlite3.
DATABASE_PASSWORD = 'mysiteadmin_password' # Not used with sqlite3.
DATABASE_HOST = '' # Set to empty string for localhost. Not used with sqlite3.
DATABASE_PORT = '' # Set to empty string for default. Not used with sqlite3.
[...]

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