How to run Django Development server: Django runserver

When developing a web project with Django, it is always a good idea to check if everything is going well each time you make changes to your code. To do that in the backend, we normally use Django tests; but to do that visually, we just have to look at the output (in the eyes of the client). Django helps us achieve this by allowing us to run the Django development server which lets us view how the web project would look to the client. So that is what we are going to learn in this post: How to run the Django development server.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Quick Answer: How To Run Django Server.

To run the Django development server, type the command python manage.py runserver in your terminal of the Django project and hit enter. If everything is okay with your project, Django will start running the server at localhost port 8000 (127.0.0.1:8000) and now you have to navigate to that link in your browser. While the server is running, Django will print out in real-time all the actions that are taking place on the site. More than that, Django also offers more methods to customize the way the server will be running, for example, it allows you to change the port and IP address of the server, or prevent the server from reloading after some change has been done in the Project’s code. That’s what we will explore in the sections to come.

If something is wrong with your site, Django will return an error statement to fix it before you can run the server again. To quit the Django development server, press the keyboard shortcut CTRL + C.

Detail: How To Run Django Server.

Running the server is one of the very first things Django developers do during the configuration of a Django project just to make sure everything is working fine.

There are multiple methods to run the Django development server. Here are some points to take into consideration when running the Django development server.

  1. While the server is running, you cannot run any other commands in that same terminal. If you want to run other commands while keeping the server running, you have to open a new terminal.
  2. A single Django project can be served by as many servers as desired, provided that each server is listening on a separate port. All you have to do is to open a new terminal and run the python manage.py runserver [different port] again.
  3. By default, the server is always checking for changes in your project’s code, and when a change happens, the server is automatically restarted so as to cater to those changes. Therefore you do not always have to run the server every time you change your code.

Now let’s get into the different methods to run the Django development server.

Running The Django Server With manage.py.

Running the Django server with python manage.py runserver is by far the most popular method and one of the easiest. This is because, in our manage.py file, the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment is automatically set to our Django project’s settings.py by default. Here’s a peek.

# manage.py
...
def main():
    """Run administrative tasks."""
    os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE', 'blog.settings') # here
    try:
...

This makes it simply the best method for small projects or for beginner Django developers. Here is how you run it.

$ python manage.py runserver

This can also be written in a different way.

$ ./manage.py runserver

The simply translates to ‘use the manage.py file in the current folder to run the Django development server.’

Running the Django Server With python -m and django-admin.

The following methods: python -m django runserver and django-admin runserver need a bit of configuration before you can start using them. If you attempt to use them before making that configuration you will get an error and you might think that something is wrong with your project but if you look closely at what the error is saying then that may point out something about the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable.

$ django-admin runserver
...
raise ImproperlyConfigured(
django.core.exceptions.ImproperlyConfigured: Requested setting DEBUG, but settings are not configured. You must either define the environment variable DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE or call settings.configure() before accessing settings.

That simply means we should create the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable. There are two methods to do this. You can either set the environment variable at once to be able to run the commands or specify the settings file every time you run one of the commands.

Setting the environment variable once.

If you’re on Mac or Linux, do the following before you run the python -m django runserver or django-admin runserver.

$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE = project_folder.settings

If you’re on Windows:

$ set DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE = project_folder.settings

You just have to do this once and all the two methods will start working.

specifying the settings file every time

If you’d rather prefer to do specify the Django settings module every time you run the commands, then you can do it using the --settings argument.

$ django-admin runserver --settings = project_folder.settings

or

$ python -m django runserver --settings = project_folder.settings

And that will be it.

Which Method Should you use?

If you’re working on a small project that has one settings file, then using manage.py is the way to go.

However, if you’re working on a big project that has many settings files, you may need to run the server using a different settings file. In that case, you may have to use either of the other two methods.

How To Run Django Development Server On A Specific Port and IP address.

By default, Django runs the server on the local host port 8000 (127:0:0:1:8000), if you’d rather prefer a different one you simply have to specify it next to any of the above commands before you hit enter. Below is an example:

If you want to run your Django project on IP address 123:168:0:1 port 6000, then you have to do it this way:

$ python manage.py runserver 123.168.2.1:6000

or

$ python -m django runserver 123.168.2.1:6000

or

$ django-admin runserver 123.168.2.1:6000

The Django Project documentation offers some more examples to implement running the Django development server on different ports.

Other Methods: How To Run Django Development Server.

How To Make Django Server Viewable To other machines.

Here are a few things to do before you can make the Django server be viewable to other machines:

  1. make sure the machine you want to view the server from is on the same network as the one that is running the server.
  2. Get the IP address of the network.

Once that is done, follow the steps below:

I’ll use the IP address 192.168.8.104 as that of my network.

In the settings.py file of the project folder, add the IP address to the list of allowed hosts.

...
ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['192.168.8.104']
...

Using any of the methods above, run the Django development server specifying that same IP address of your network. You can use any port, in this case, I use port 8000.

$ python manage.py runserver 192.168.8.104:8000

Now if you can open your browser and go to the address 192.168.8.104:8000 using any machine in the network and you’ll be able to view the site. Even on your mobile device.

How To Disable The Django Server Auto-reloader

As I have said above, the Django server is always checking for changes in your project’s code, and when a change happens, the server is automatically restarted so as to cater to those changes so you do not always have to run the server every time you change your code. You can disable this feature so that when you change your project’s code, the server will not take those changes into effect thereby not restarting the server. To do that you have to use the --noreload command.

Here is an example:

$ python manage.py runserver --noreload

And that will do.

How To Quit Django Development Server.

To quit the Django development server, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + C.

Frequently Asked Questions: How To Run Django Development Server.

How do I know if Django server is running?

You can use either of the following methods to check if the Django server is running. When the server is running, Django prints out in real-time all the actions that are taking place on the site including the HTTP methods that are taking place which is the GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.

Alternately, you can just head over to the address you are running your server on, if it was already open in your browser, you can refresh it. If your server is running, your browser should render the site, but if it is not, it returns an ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error code.

Conclusion: How To Run Django development Server.

In this post, you learned the quickest and most popular way to run the Django development server along with other alternatives that do not use the manage.py file. You then learned how to run the Django development server on a specific port and IP address as well as other methods like viewing the server on a different machine and disabling the Django auto-reloader.

I hope you found this post helpful, if so please share it with other fellow Django developers. If you encountered any problems while following along with this post, please let me know in the comments section below. I’ll be happy to help. Otherwise, see you in other Coding Gear articles. Peace.

How to run Django Development server: Django runserver

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