"Setting up a Django Server with Gentoo"

This is part 3 in a 3 part series I've written on setting up a Django production site on Gentoo. In the first 2 parts I went over basic boilerplate server setup, and database installation which can be on the same server or separated.



Django is a fantastic web framework written in Python. It is robust, mature, and adaptable to almost any web service need. Deploying a Django project to production can be tricky. This guide takes you through a well-established process that I have hand-tailored to work with the Gentoo Linux operating system.

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Installing the PostgreSQL server is covered in part 2 of this series. If you are hosting Postgres on the same server as your Django projects, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you'll need to install the PostgreSQL client and create an environment variable pointing to the external Postgres server:

emerge postgresql-base -avq

Edit /etc/bash/bashrc and add the following:

export PGOST="IP of postgres server"

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virtualenv and pip

You should already know what these are for. If you don't, this guide is not for you.

emerge virtualenv -avq
easy_install pip

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If you plan on doing any kind of geo-locating in your projects (and you inevitably will) it is good to have this library in place.

echo "sci-libs/gdal geos" >> /etc/portage/package.use
emerge gdal -avq

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Basic Necessities

All the little things. First, make sure you've set a proper language in your make config. This is used later when installing pyenchant for spell-checking. Add this to the end of /etc/make.conf:


And a few other use flags you'll probably want:

echo "dev-vcs/subversion perl -dso" >> /etc/portage/package.use
echo "dev-vcs/git subversion" >> /etc/portage/package.use

Time to install everything:

emerge sys-apps/ack mercurial subversion git pyenchant -avq
emerge memcached xapian xapian-bindings -avq

Edit /etc/conf.d/memcached:


Start it and set to start on boot:

/etc/init.d/memcached start
rd-update add memcached default

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Web User

This is the user that will house your projects and be responsible for Apache and NGINX.

useradd --create-home --system --home=/var/www web
su - web
cd .ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "web@newserver"
cd ..

Add the following to /var/www/.bashrc:

# Shortcut for activating a virtualenv
alias activate='. env/bin/activate'
# Remove all *.pyc recursively
alias pycclean='find . -name "*.pyc" -exec rm {} \;'

And exit.


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Ideally you'll do this on a separate server altogether, but that may not be feasible for your situation/budget.

useradd --create-home --system --home=/var/backups backups
su - backups
cd .ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "backups@newserver"
passwd backups

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We use NGINX to serve static files. Requests for pages/services themselves get reverse-proxied to Apache which in turn will communicate with Django via WSGI. We don't need the whole shebang with NGINX, so add the following to /etc/make.conf:

NGINX_MODULES_HTTP="access auth_basic autoindex browser charset empty_gif geo gzip limit_req limit_zone map memcached proxy referer rewrite split_clients ssi upstream_ip_hash userid"

And install the VIM syntax library for the NGINX configuration files (why this doesn't come with VIM by default is beyond me).

echo "www-servers/nginx vim-syntax" >> /etc/portage/package.use

Install NGINX.

emerge nginx -avq

You'll want a folder to store individual site configurations. So create this.

mkdir /etc/nginx/vhosts.d

Edit /etc/nginx/nginx.conf to your liking, then start NGINX and set it to start on boot.

/etc/init.d/nginx start
rc-update add nginx default

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As with NGINX, we only need parts of Apache for our purposes, so add this to /etc/make.conf:

APACHE2_MODULES="authz_host deflate dir filter headers include log_config logio mime mime_magic negotiation unique_id vhost_alias"

If you plan on using SSL, disregard the -ssl flags, but otherwise:

echo "www-servers/apache threads -ssl" >> /etc/portage/package.use
echo "app-admin/apache-tools -ssl" >> /etc/portage/package.use

Install Apache and the WSGI mod.

emerge apache mod_wsgi -avq

Modify the following in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf:

User web
Group web
Listen 8080
Include /etc/apache2/vhosts.d/*.conf

We don't need the default virtual configs that Apache comes with, so delete them.

rm /etc/apache2/vhosts.d/*

And configure Apache to only load the modules we need by editing /etc/conf.d/apache2:


Remove the unnecessary localhost directory (if it exists).

rm -rf /var/www/localhost

Start Apache and set it to start on boot.

/etc/init.d/apache2 start
rc-update add apache2 default

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I use django_compressor in all of my projects which in turn compiles my SASS files for me. If you use django_compressor in this way also, you'll need to install SASS.

echo 'RUBY_TARGETS="ruby19"' >> /etc/make.conf
emerge dev-ruby/sass -avq

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If all went well, you now have a fully functional Django production stack. Your projects can be git-cloned in the /var/www directory, then you simply need to set up the virtual environment, set up a database, collect static files, and symlink your apache and nginx configuration files to their respective vhosts.d folders.

Don't forget to set up cron jobs for backups.

If I've left anything out or failed to be clear, please let me know in the comments.

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