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django-configurations eases Django project configuration by relying on the composability of Python classes. It extends the notion of Django’s module based settings loading with well established object oriented programming patterns.


Install django-configurations:

pip install django-configurations

Then subclass the included configurations.Settings class in your project’s or any other module you’re using to store the settings constants, e.g.:

from configurations import Settings

class MySiteSettings(Settings):
    DEBUG = True

Set the DJANGO_CONFIGURATION environment variable to the name of the class you just created, e.g. in bash:


and the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable to the module import path as usual, e.g. in bash:

export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=mysite.settings

To enable Django to use your configuration you now have to modify your or script to use django-configurations’s versions of the appropriate starter functions, e.g. a typical using django-configurations would look like this:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import os
import sys

if __name__ == "__main__":
    os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE', 'mysite.settings')
    os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_', 'MySettings')

    from import execute_from_command_line


Notice in line 9 we don’t use the common tool but instead

The same applies to your file, e.g.:

import os

os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE', 'mysite.settings')
os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_CONFIGURATION', 'MySettings')

from configurations.wsgi import get_wsgi_application

application = get_wsgi_application()

Here we don’t use the default django.core.wsgi.get_wsgi_application function but instead configurations.wsgi.get_wsgi_application.

That’s it! You can now use your project with and your favorite WSGI enabled server.

Wait, what?

django-configurations helps you organize the configuration of your Django project by providing the glue code to bridge between Django’s module based settings system and programming patterns like mixins, facades, factories and adapters that are useful for non-trivial configuration scenarios.

It allows you to use the native abilities of Python inheritance without the side effects of module level namespaces that often lead to the unfortunate use of the import * anti-pattern.

Okay, how does it work?

Any subclass of the configurations.Settings class will automatically use the values of its class and instance attributes (including properties and methods) to set module level variables of the same module – that’s how Django will interface to the django-configurations based settings during startup and also the reason why it requires you to use its own startup functions.

That means when Django starts up django-configurations will have a look at the DJANGO_CONFIGURATION environment variable to figure out which class in the settings module (as defined by the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable) should be used for the process. It then instantiates the class defined with DJANGO_CONFIGURATION and copies the uppercase attributes to the module level variables.

But isn’t that magic?

Yes, it looks like magic, but it’s also maintainable and non-intrusive. No monkey patching is needed to teach Django how to load settings via django-configurations because it uses Python import hooks (PEP 302) behind the scenes.

Usage patterns

There are various configuration patterns that can be implemented with django-configurations. The most common pattern is to have a base class and various subclasses based on the enviroment they are supposed to be used in, e.g. in production, staging and development.

Server specific settings

For example, imagine you have a base setting class in your file:

from configurations import Settings

class Base(Settings):
    TIME_ZONE = 'Europe/Berlin'

class Dev(Base):
    DEBUG = True

class Prod(Base):
    TIME_ZONE = 'America/New_York'

You can now set the DJANGO_CONFIGURATION environment variable to one of the class names you’ve defined, e.g. on your production server it should be Prod. In bash that would be:

export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=mysite.settings

Global settings defaults

Every configurations.Settings subclass will automatically contain Django’s global settings as class attributes, so you can refer to them when setting other values, e.g.:

from configurations import Settings

class Base(Settings):

    def LANGUAGES(self):
        return Settings.LANGUAGES + (('tlh', 'Klingon'),)


You might want to apply some configuration values for each and every project you’re working on without having to repeat yourself. Just define a few mixin you re-use multiple times:

class FullPageCaching(object):
    USE_ETAGS = True

Then import that mixin class in your site settings module and use it with a Settings class:

from configurations import Settings

class AcmeProd(Settings, FullPageCaching):
    DEBUG = False
    # ...


  • The Pinax project for spearheading the efforts to extend the Django project metaphor with reusable project templates and a flexible configuration environment.
  • django-classbasedsettings by Matthew Tretter for being the immediate inspiration for django-configurations.

Bugs and feature requests

As always you mileage may vary, so please don’t hesitate to send in feature requests and bug reports at the usual place: