Before you can have a fully functional Django web application, you need to complete a deployment process. This requires you to select the right Django-compatible hosting service, set up the deployment environment and prepare your Django web application for deployment. There are also a number of things you can do to optimize your Django web application and Django hosting for maximum performance.
Turn Off Debugging
Django’s built-in debug feature is very useful during development. Once you are ready to deploy the web app, however, it is necessary to turn off debugging. You can simply do this by setting DEBUG to FALSE in your Django configuration file.
Turning debugging off will help keep the web application performing well with your Django hosting. There are a few extra steps that Django takes when debugging is turned on; these steps don’t always work well with Django hosting or deployment in general. For example, errors are displayed when debugging is turned on. The errors can very much reveal sensitive information about your app and the Django hosting service you are using.
You should also turn off template debugging while you are at it. Set TEMPLATE_DEBUG to FALSE in the Django configuration file.
Separate Media Files and Static Resources
– When you have a powerful enough Django hosting with plenty of server resources, you can just let the server handle media delivery for you. Django works really well with caching and other server tools as well. If you want to use Varnish as reverse proxy, for example, you can configure the two to work beautifully during the deployment process.
– Alternatively, you can separate static and media files entirely. You can have the Django hosting server running the app while static files are delivered through a Content Distribution Network or CDN. You can also use third-party services such as Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage for the job.
Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. The best way to choose the right method is to look at your needs and the resources you have in hand. The later may cost more, but is often used to bring more performance to the Django-based web application, mainly because your Django hosting server can focus on delivery the app entirely.
Set Up Error Pages and Alerts
Django also allows you to set up customer error pages. 404 errors can be handled beautifully when the error pages are set up correctly during deployment. Other errors can be handled using the same approach too.
Custom error pages are important for keeping the whole user experience consistent. Defining error pages will also help the entire system work more efficiently, without the need to query or generate error messages every time.
Check if your Django hosting supports email notifications. The best Django hosting services available today all supports sending custom email notifications under certain circumstances. If the service is available, you can add email addresses of server administrators for the purpose.
Error notifications will be sent to the registered email addresses. The system can also be configured to notify admins of broken links and database errors. The email notifications can be a bit annoying if you have a lot of errors in your Django web application, but they are useful nonetheless.
Database Setup and Migration
One of the main challenges of moving a Django web application from development environment to deployment is database migration. Unlike other frameworks with built-in database management, Django requires you to handle the migration yourself.
Setting up MySQL or PostgreSQL on your Django hosting server is relatively easy. In fact, most service plans available on the market are preconfigured with one (or both) of these database frameworks already. All you need to do is migrate your database to the live server.
To do that, you can use a third-party tool called South. This database management tool from Aeracode.org handles Django migrations – particularly database migrations – superbly. Don’t forget that you still need to reconfigure your Django web application to connect to the right database framework on the Django hosting server.
Test and Test Again
Before you release your Django application to the world, be sure to run tests on every part of it. No matter how similarly the development and deployment servers are set up, there may be small differences that could cause problems when the Django project is deployed.
Some Django hosting control panels can help you test and monitor your Django web application for errors. If such tool is not available, you can also do manual checks or invite a few people to do a closed-beta testing first. Pay attention to error logs and server usage before deciding to give the Django application your final approval.