django-admin and

django-admin is Django’s command-line utility for administrative tasks. This document outlines all it can do.

In addition, is automatically created in each Django project. does the same thing as django-admin but takes care of a few things for you:

  • It puts your project’s package on sys.path.
  • It sets the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable so that it points to your project’s file.

The django-admin script should be on your system path if you installed Django via its utility. If it’s not on your path, you can find it in site-packages/django/bin within your Python installation. Consider symlinking it from some place on your path, such as /usr/local/bin.

For Windows users, who do not have symlinking functionality available, you can copy django-admin.exe to a location on your existing path or edit the PATH settings (under Settings - Control Panel - System - Advanced - Environment...) to point to its installed location.

Generally, when working on a single Django project, it’s easier to use than django-admin. If you need to switch between multiple Django settings files, use django-admin with DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE or the --settings command line option.

The command-line examples throughout this document use django-admin to be consistent, but any example can use or python -m django just as well.

New in Django 1.9:

python -m django was added.


$ django-admin <command> [options]
$ <command> [options]
$ python -m django <command> [options]

command should be one of the commands listed in this document. options, which is optional, should be zero or more of the options available for the given command.

Getting runtime help

django-admin help

Run django-admin help to display usage information and a list of the commands provided by each application.

Run django-admin help --commands to display a list of all available commands.

Run django-admin help <command> to display a description of the given command and a list of its available options.

App names

Many commands take a list of “app names.” An “app name” is the basename of the package containing your models. For example, if your INSTALLED_APPS contains the string '', the app name is blog.

Determining the version

django-admin version

Run django-admin version to display the current Django version.

The output follows the schema described in PEP 440:


Displaying debug output

Use --verbosity to specify the amount of notification and debug information that django-admin prints to the console.

Available commands


django-admin check [app_label [app_label ...]]

Uses the system check framework to inspect the entire Django project for common problems.

By default, all apps will be checked. You can check a subset of apps by providing a list of app labels as arguments:

django-admin check auth admin myapp

If you do not specify any app, all apps will be checked.

--tag TAGS, -t TAGS

The system check framework performs many different types of checks that are categorized with tags. You can use these tags to restrict the checks performed to just those in a particular category. For example, to perform only models and compatibility checks, run:

django-admin check --tag models --tag compatibility

Lists all available tags.


Activates some additional checks that are only relevant in a deployment setting.

You can use this option in your local development environment, but since your local development settings module may not have many of your production settings, you will probably want to point the check command at a different settings module, either by setting the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable, or by passing the --settings option:

django-admin check --deploy --settings=production_settings

Or you could run it directly on a production or staging deployment to verify that the correct settings are in use (omitting --settings). You could even make it part of your integration test suite.

New in Django 1.10.

Specifies the message level that will cause the command to exit with a non-zero status. Default is ERROR.


django-admin compilemessages

Compiles .po files created by makemessages to .mo files for use with the built-in gettext support. See Internationalization and localization.

--locale LOCALE, -l LOCALE

Specifies the locale(s) to process. If not provided, all locales are processed.

--exclude EXCLUDE, -x EXCLUDE

Specifies the locale(s) to exclude from processing. If not provided, no locales are excluded.

--use-fuzzy, -f

Includes fuzzy translations into compiled files.

Changed in Django 1.9:

compilemessages now matches the operation of makemessages, scanning the project tree for .po files to compile.

Example usage:

django-admin compilemessages --locale=pt_BR
django-admin compilemessages --locale=pt_BR --locale=fr -f
django-admin compilemessages -l pt_BR
django-admin compilemessages -l pt_BR -l fr --use-fuzzy
django-admin compilemessages --exclude=pt_BR
django-admin compilemessages --exclude=pt_BR --exclude=fr
django-admin compilemessages -x pt_BR
django-admin compilemessages -x pt_BR -x fr


django-admin createcachetable

Creates the cache tables for use with the database cache backend using the information from your settings file. See Django’s cache framework for more information.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database in which the cache table(s) will be created. Defaults to default.


Prints the SQL that would be run without actually running it, so you can customize it or use the migrations framework.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --dry-run option was added.


django-admin dbshell

Runs the command-line client for the database engine specified in your ENGINE setting, with the connection parameters specified in your USER, PASSWORD, etc., settings.

  • For PostgreSQL, this runs the psql command-line client.
  • For MySQL, this runs the mysql command-line client.
  • For SQLite, this runs the sqlite3 command-line client.
  • For Oracle, this runs the sqlplus command-line client.

This command assumes the programs are on your PATH so that a simple call to the program name (psql, mysql, sqlite3, sqlplus) will find the program in the right place. There’s no way to specify the location of the program manually.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database onto which to open a shell. Defaults to default.


django-admin diffsettings

Displays differences between the current settings file and Django’s default settings.

Settings that don’t appear in the defaults are followed by "###". For example, the default settings don’t define ROOT_URLCONF, so ROOT_URLCONF is followed by "###" in the output of diffsettings.


Displays all settings, even if they have Django’s default value. Such settings are prefixed by "###".


django-admin dumpdata [app_label[.ModelName] [app_label[.ModelName] ...]]

Outputs to standard output all data in the database associated with the named application(s).

If no application name is provided, all installed applications will be dumped.

The output of dumpdata can be used as input for loaddata.

Note that dumpdata uses the default manager on the model for selecting the records to dump. If you’re using a custom manager as the default manager and it filters some of the available records, not all of the objects will be dumped.

--all, -a

Uses Django’s base manager, dumping records which might otherwise be filtered or modified by a custom manager.

--format FORMAT

Specifies the serialization format of the output. Defaults to JSON. Supported formats are listed in Serialization formats.

--indent INDENT

Specifies the number of indentation spaces to use in the output. Defaults to None which displays all data on single line.

--exclude EXCLUDE, -e EXCLUDE

Prevents specific applications or models (specified in the form of app_label.ModelName) from being dumped. If you specify a model name, the output will be restricted to that model, rather than the entire application. You can also mix application names and model names.

If you want to exclude multiple applications, pass --exclude more than once:

django-admin dumpdata --exclude=auth --exclude=contenttypes
--database DATABASE

Specifies the database from which data will be dumped. Defaults to default.


Uses the natural_key() model method to serialize any foreign key and many-to-many relationship to objects of the type that defines the method. If you’re dumping contrib.auth Permission objects or contrib.contenttypes ContentType objects, you should probably use this flag. See the natural keys documentation for more details on this and the next option.


Omits the primary key in the serialized data of this object since it can be calculated during deserialization.


Outputs only the objects specified by a comma separated list of primary keys. This is only available when dumping one model. By default, all the records of the model are output.

--output OUTPUT, -o OUTPUT

Specifies a file to write the serialized data to. By default, the data goes to standard output.

When this option is set and --verbosity is greater than 0 (the default), a progress bar is shown in the terminal.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The progress bar in the terminal was added.


django-admin flush

Removes all data from the database and re-executes any post-synchronization handlers. The table of which migrations have been applied is not cleared.

If you would rather start from an empty database and re-run all migrations, you should drop and recreate the database and then run migrate instead.

--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database to flush. Defaults to default.


django-admin inspectdb [table [table ...]]

Introspects the database tables in the database pointed-to by the NAME setting and outputs a Django model module (a file) to standard output. You may choose what tables to inspect by passing their names as arguments.

Use this if you have a legacy database with which you’d like to use Django. The script will inspect the database and create a model for each table within it.

As you might expect, the created models will have an attribute for every field in the table. Note that inspectdb has a few special cases in its field-name output:

  • If inspectdb cannot map a column’s type to a model field type, it’ll use TextField and will insert the Python comment 'This field type is a guess.' next to the field in the generated model.
  • If the database column name is a Python reserved word (such as 'pass', 'class' or 'for'), inspectdb will append '_field' to the attribute name. For example, if a table has a column 'for', the generated model will have a field 'for_field', with the db_column attribute set to 'for'. inspectdb will insert the Python comment 'Field renamed because it was a Python reserved word.' next to the field.

This feature is meant as a shortcut, not as definitive model generation. After you run it, you’ll want to look over the generated models yourself to make customizations. In particular, you’ll need to rearrange models’ order, so that models that refer to other models are ordered properly.

Primary keys are automatically introspected for PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite, in which case Django puts in the primary_key=True where needed.

inspectdb works with PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite. Foreign-key detection only works in PostgreSQL and with certain types of MySQL tables.

Django doesn’t create database defaults when a default is specified on a model field. Similarly, database defaults aren’t translated to model field defaults or detected in any fashion by inspectdb.

By default, inspectdb creates unmanaged models. That is, managed = False in the model’s Meta class tells Django not to manage each table’s creation, modification, and deletion. If you do want to allow Django to manage the table’s lifecycle, you’ll need to change the managed option to True (or simply remove it because True is its default value).

New in Django 1.10:

Support for the table argument(s) to choose what tables should be inspected was added.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database to introspect. Defaults to default.


django-admin loaddata fixture [fixture ...]

Searches for and loads the contents of the named fixture into the database.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database into which the data will be loaded. Defaults to default.

--ignorenonexistent, -i

Ignores fields and models that may have been removed since the fixture was originally generated.


Specifies a single app to look for fixtures in rather than looking in all apps.

What’s a “fixture”?

A fixture is a collection of files that contain the serialized contents of the database. Each fixture has a unique name, and the files that comprise the fixture can be distributed over multiple directories, in multiple applications.

Django will search in three locations for fixtures:

  1. In the fixtures directory of every installed application
  2. In any directory named in the FIXTURE_DIRS setting
  3. In the literal path named by the fixture

Django will load any and all fixtures it finds in these locations that match the provided fixture names.

If the named fixture has a file extension, only fixtures of that type will be loaded. For example:

django-admin loaddata mydata.json

would only load JSON fixtures called mydata. The fixture extension must correspond to the registered name of a serializer (e.g., json or xml).

If you omit the extensions, Django will search all available fixture types for a matching fixture. For example:

django-admin loaddata mydata

would look for any fixture of any fixture type called mydata. If a fixture directory contained mydata.json, that fixture would be loaded as a JSON fixture.

The fixtures that are named can include directory components. These directories will be included in the search path. For example:

django-admin loaddata foo/bar/mydata.json

would search <app_label>/fixtures/foo/bar/mydata.json for each installed application, <dirname>/foo/bar/mydata.json for each directory in FIXTURE_DIRS, and the literal path foo/bar/mydata.json.

When fixture files are processed, the data is saved to the database as is. Model defined save() methods are not called, and any pre_save or post_save signals will be called with raw=True since the instance only contains attributes that are local to the model. You may, for example, want to disable handlers that access related fields that aren’t present during fixture loading and would otherwise raise an exception:

from django.db.models.signals import post_save
from .models import MyModel

def my_handler(**kwargs):
    # disable the handler during fixture loading
    if kwargs['raw']:

post_save.connect(my_handler, sender=MyModel)

You could also write a simple decorator to encapsulate this logic:

from functools import wraps

def disable_for_loaddata(signal_handler):
    Decorator that turns off signal handlers when loading fixture data.
    def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
        if kwargs['raw']:
        signal_handler(*args, **kwargs)
    return wrapper

def my_handler(**kwargs):

Just be aware that this logic will disable the signals whenever fixtures are deserialized, not just during loaddata.

Note that the order in which fixture files are processed is undefined. However, all fixture data is installed as a single transaction, so data in one fixture can reference data in another fixture. If the database backend supports row-level constraints, these constraints will be checked at the end of the transaction.

The dumpdata command can be used to generate input for loaddata.

Compressed fixtures

Fixtures may be compressed in zip, gz, or bz2 format. For example:

django-admin loaddata mydata.json

would look for any of mydata.json,, mydata.json.gz, or mydata.json.bz2. The first file contained within a zip-compressed archive is used.

Note that if two fixtures with the same name but different fixture type are discovered (for example, if mydata.json and mydata.xml.gz were found in the same fixture directory), fixture installation will be aborted, and any data installed in the call to loaddata will be removed from the database.

MySQL with MyISAM and fixtures

The MyISAM storage engine of MySQL doesn’t support transactions or constraints, so if you use MyISAM, you won’t get validation of fixture data, or a rollback if multiple transaction files are found.

Database-specific fixtures

If you’re in a multi-database setup, you might have fixture data that you want to load onto one database, but not onto another. In this situation, you can add a database identifier into the names of your fixtures.

For example, if your DATABASES setting has a ‘master’ database defined, name the fixture mydata.master.json or mydata.master.json.gz and the fixture will only be loaded when you specify you want to load data into the master database.


django-admin makemessages

Runs over the entire source tree of the current directory and pulls out all strings marked for translation. It creates (or updates) a message file in the conf/locale (in the Django tree) or locale (for project and application) directory. After making changes to the messages files you need to compile them with compilemessages for use with the builtin gettext support. See the i18n documentation for details.

--all, -a

Updates the message files for all available languages.


Specifies a list of file extensions to examine (default: html, txt, py or js if --domain is js).

Example usage:

django-admin makemessages --locale=de --extension xhtml

Separate multiple extensions with commas or use -e or --extension multiple times:

django-admin makemessages --locale=de --extension=html,txt --extension xml
--locale LOCALE, -l LOCALE

Specifies the locale(s) to process.

--exclude EXCLUDE, -x EXCLUDE

Specifies the locale(s) to exclude from processing. If not provided, no locales are excluded.

Example usage:

django-admin makemessages --locale=pt_BR
django-admin makemessages --locale=pt_BR --locale=fr
django-admin makemessages -l pt_BR
django-admin makemessages -l pt_BR -l fr
django-admin makemessages --exclude=pt_BR
django-admin makemessages --exclude=pt_BR --exclude=fr
django-admin makemessages -x pt_BR
django-admin makemessages -x pt_BR -x fr
--domain DOMAIN, -d DOMAIN

Specifies the domain of the messages files. Supported options are:

  • django for all *.py, *.html and *.txt files (default)
  • djangojs for *.js files

Follows symlinks to directories when looking for new translation strings.

Example usage:

django-admin makemessages --locale=de --symlinks
--ignore PATTERN, -i PATTERN

Ignores files or directories matching the given glob-style pattern. Use multiple times to ignore more.

These patterns are used by default: 'CVS', '.*', '*~', '*.pyc'.

Example usage:

django-admin makemessages --locale=en_US --ignore=apps/* --ignore=secret/*.html

Disables the default values of --ignore.


Disables breaking long message lines into several lines in language files.


Suppresses writing ‘#: filename:line’ comment lines in language files. Using this option makes it harder for technically skilled translators to understand each message’s context.


Prevents deleting the temporary .pot files generated before creating the .po file. This is useful for debugging errors which may prevent the final language files from being created.

See also

See Customizing the makemessages command for instructions on how to customize the keywords that makemessages passes to xgettext.


django-admin makemigrations [app_label [app_label ...]]

Creates new migrations based on the changes detected to your models. Migrations, their relationship with apps and more are covered in depth in the migrations documentation.

Providing one or more app names as arguments will limit the migrations created to the app(s) specified and any dependencies needed (the table at the other end of a ForeignKey, for example).

--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts. If a suppressed prompt cannot be resolved automatically, the command will exit with error code 3.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.


Outputs an empty migration for the specified apps, for manual editing. This is for advanced users and should not be used unless you are familiar with the migration format, migration operations, and the dependencies between your migrations.


Shows what migrations would be made without actually writing any migrations files to disk. Using this option along with --verbosity 3 will also show the complete migrations files that would be written.


Enables fixing of migration conflicts.

--name NAME, -n NAME

Allows naming the generated migration(s) instead of using a generated name.

--exit, -e

Deprecated since version 1.10: Use the --check option instead.

Makes makemigrations exit with error code 1 when no migrations are created (or would have been created, if combined with --dry-run).

New in Django 1.10.

Makes makemigrations exit with a non-zero status when model changes without migrations are detected.


django-admin migrate [app_label] [migration_name]

Synchronizes the database state with the current set of models and migrations. Migrations, their relationship with apps and more are covered in depth in the migrations documentation.

The behavior of this command changes depending on the arguments provided:

  • No arguments: All apps have all of their migrations run.
  • <app_label>: The specified app has its migrations run, up to the most recent migration. This may involve running other apps’ migrations too, due to dependencies.
  • <app_label> <migrationname>: Brings the database schema to a state where the named migration is applied, but no later migrations in the same app are applied. This may involve unapplying migrations if you have previously migrated past the named migration. Use the name zero to unapply all migrations for an app.
--database DATABASE

Specifies the database to migrate. Defaults to default.


Tells Django to mark the migrations as having been applied or unapplied, but without actually running the SQL to change your database schema.

This is intended for advanced users to manipulate the current migration state directly if they’re manually applying changes; be warned that using --fake runs the risk of putting the migration state table into a state where manual recovery will be needed to make migrations run correctly.


Allows Django to skip an app’s initial migration if all database tables with the names of all models created by all CreateModel operations in that migration already exist. This option is intended for use when first running migrations against a database that preexisted the use of migrations. This option does not, however, check for matching database schema beyond matching table names and so is only safe to use if you are confident that your existing schema matches what is recorded in your initial migration.

New in Django 1.9.

Allows creating tables for apps without migrations. While this isn’t recommended, the migrations framework is sometimes too slow on large projects with hundreds of models.

--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts. An example prompt is asking about removing stale content types.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.


django-admin runserver [addrport]

Starts a lightweight development Web server on the local machine. By default, the server runs on port 8000 on the IP address You can pass in an IP address and port number explicitly.

If you run this script as a user with normal privileges (recommended), you might not have access to start a port on a low port number. Low port numbers are reserved for the superuser (root).

This server uses the WSGI application object specified by the WSGI_APPLICATION setting.

DO NOT USE THIS SERVER IN A PRODUCTION SETTING. It has not gone through security audits or performance tests. (And that’s how it’s gonna stay. We’re in the business of making Web frameworks, not Web servers, so improving this server to be able to handle a production environment is outside the scope of Django.)

The development server automatically reloads Python code for each request, as needed. You don’t need to restart the server for code changes to take effect. However, some actions like adding files don’t trigger a restart, so you’ll have to restart the server in these cases.

If you are using Linux and install pyinotify, kernel signals will be used to autoreload the server (rather than polling file modification timestamps each second). This offers better scaling to large projects, reduction in response time to code modification, more robust change detection, and battery usage reduction.

When you start the server, and each time you change Python code while the server is running, the system check framework will check your entire Django project for some common errors (see the check command). If any errors are found, they will be printed to standard output.

You can run as many concurrent servers as you want, as long as they’re on separate ports. Just execute django-admin runserver more than once.

Note that the default IP address,, is not accessible from other machines on your network. To make your development server viewable to other machines on the network, use its own IP address (e.g. or or :: (with IPv6 enabled).

You can provide an IPv6 address surrounded by brackets (e.g. [200a::1]:8000). This will automatically enable IPv6 support.

A hostname containing ASCII-only characters can also be used.

If the staticfiles contrib app is enabled (default in new projects) the runserver command will be overridden with its own runserver command.

If migrate was not previously executed, the table that stores the history of migrations is created at first run of runserver.

Logging of each request and response of the server is sent to the django.server logger.

Changed in Django 1.10:

In older versions, log messages were written to sys.stderr instead of being handled through Python logging.


Disables the auto-reloader. This means any Python code changes you make while the server is running will not take effect if the particular Python modules have already been loaded into memory.


Disables use of threading in the development server. The server is multithreaded by default.

--ipv6, -6

Uses IPv6 for the development server. This changes the default IP address from to ::1.

Examples of using different ports and addresses

Port 8000 on IP address

django-admin runserver

Port 8000 on IP address

django-admin runserver

Port 7000 on IP address

django-admin runserver 7000

Port 7000 on IP address

django-admin runserver

Port 8000 on IPv6 address ::1:

django-admin runserver -6

Port 7000 on IPv6 address ::1:

django-admin runserver -6 7000

Port 7000 on IPv6 address 2001:0db8:1234:5678::9:

django-admin runserver [2001:0db8:1234:5678::9]:7000

Port 8000 on IPv4 address of host localhost:

django-admin runserver localhost:8000

Port 8000 on IPv6 address of host localhost:

django-admin runserver -6 localhost:8000

Serving static files with the development server

By default, the development server doesn’t serve any static files for your site (such as CSS files, images, things under MEDIA_URL and so forth). If you want to configure Django to serve static media, read Managing static files (e.g. images, JavaScript, CSS).


django-admin sendtestemail [email [email ...]]
New in Django 1.9.

Sends a test email (to confirm email sending through Django is working) to the recipient(s) specified. For example:

django-admin sendtestemail

There are a couple of options, and you may use any combination of them together:


Mails the email addresses specified in MANAGERS using mail_managers().


Mails the email addresses specified in ADMINS using mail_admins().


django-admin shell

Starts the Python interactive interpreter.

--interface {ipython,bpython,python}, -i {ipython,bpython,python}

Specifies the shell to use. By default, Django will use IPython or bpython if either is installed. If both are installed, specify which one you want like so:


django-admin shell -i ipython


django-admin shell -i bpython

If you have a “rich” shell installed but want to force use of the “plain” Python interpreter, use python as the interface name, like so:

django-admin shell -i python

Deprecated since version 1.10: In older versions, use the --plain option instead of -i python. This is deprecated and will be removed in Django 2.0.


Disables reading the startup script for the “plain” Python interpreter. By default, the script pointed to by the PYTHONSTARTUP environment variable or the ~/ script is read.

--command COMMAND, -c COMMAND
New in Django 1.10.

Lets you pass a command as a string to execute it as Django, like so:

django-admin shell --command="import django; print(django.__version__)"


django-admin showmigrations [app_label [app_label ...]]

Shows all migrations in a project. You can choose from one of two formats:

--list, -l

Lists all of the apps Django knows about, the migrations available for each app, and whether or not each migration is applied (marked by an [X] next to the migration name).

Apps without migrations are also listed, but have (no migrations) printed under them.

This is the default output format.

--plan, -p

Shows the migration plan Django will follow to apply migrations. Any supplied app labels are ignored because the plan might go beyond those apps. Like --list, applied migrations are marked by an [X]. For a --verbosity of 2 and above, all dependencies of a migration will also be shown.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database to examine. Defaults to default.


django-admin sqlflush

Prints the SQL statements that would be executed for the flush command.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database for which to print the SQL. Defaults to default.


django-admin sqlmigrate app_label migration_name

Prints the SQL for the named migration. This requires an active database connection, which it will use to resolve constraint names; this means you must generate the SQL against a copy of the database you wish to later apply it on.

Note that sqlmigrate doesn’t colorize its output.


Generates the SQL for unapplying the migration. By default, the SQL created is for running the migration in the forwards direction.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database for which to generate the SQL. Defaults to default.

Changed in Django 1.9:

To increase the readability of the overall SQL output the SQL code generated for each migration operation is preceded by the operation’s description.


django-admin sqlsequencereset app_label [app_label ...]

Prints the SQL statements for resetting sequences for the given app name(s).

Sequences are indexes used by some database engines to track the next available number for automatically incremented fields.

Use this command to generate SQL which will fix cases where a sequence is out of sync with its automatically incremented field data.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database for which to print the SQL. Defaults to default.


django-admin squashmigrations app_label [start_migration_name] migration_name

Squashes the migrations for app_label up to and including migration_name down into fewer migrations, if possible. The resulting squashed migrations can live alongside the unsquashed ones safely. For more information, please read Squashing migrations.

New in Django 1.9.

When start_migration_name is given, Django will only include migrations starting from and including this migration. This helps to mitigate the squashing limitation of RunPython and django.db.migrations.operations.RunSQL migration operations.


Disables the optimizer when generating a squashed migration. By default, Django will try to optimize the operations in your migrations to reduce the size of the resulting file. Use this option if this process is failing or creating incorrect migrations, though please also file a Django bug report about the behavior, as optimization is meant to be safe.

--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.


django-admin startapp name [directory]

Creates a Django app directory structure for the given app name in the current directory or the given destination.

By default the directory created contains a file and other app template files. (See the source for more details.) If only the app name is given, the app directory will be created in the current working directory.

If the optional destination is provided, Django will use that existing directory rather than creating a new one. You can use ‘.’ to denote the current working directory.

For example:

django-admin startapp myapp /Users/jezdez/Code/myapp
--template TEMPLATE

Provides the path to a directory with a custom app template file or a path to a compressed file (.tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tgz, .tbz, .zip) containing the app template files.

For example, this would look for an app template in the given directory when creating the myapp app:

django-admin startapp --template=/Users/jezdez/Code/my_app_template myapp

Django will also accept URLs (http, https, ftp) to compressed archives with the app template files, downloading and extracting them on the fly.

For example, taking advantage of GitHub’s feature to expose repositories as zip files, you can use a URL like:

django-admin startapp --template= myapp

Specifies which file extensions in the app template should be rendered with the template engine. Defaults to py.

--name FILES, -n FILES

Specifies which files in the app template (in addition to those matching --extension) should be rendered with the template engine. Defaults to an empty list.

The template context used for all matching files is:

  • Any option passed to the startapp command (among the command’s supported options)
  • app_name – the app name as passed to the command
  • app_directory – the full path of the newly created app
  • camel_case_app_name – the app name in camel case format
  • docs_version – the version of the documentation: 'dev' or '1.x'
New in Django 1.9:

camel_case_app_name was added.


When the app template files are rendered with the Django template engine (by default all *.py files), Django will also replace all stray template variables contained. For example, if one of the Python files contains a docstring explaining a particular feature related to template rendering, it might result in an incorrect example.

To work around this problem, you can use the templatetag templatetag to “escape” the various parts of the template syntax.

In addition, to allow Python template files that contain Django template language syntax while also preventing packaging systems from trying to byte-compile invalid *.py files, template files ending with .py-tpl will be renamed to .py.

Changed in Django 1.9.2:

Renaming of .py-tpl to .py was added.


django-admin startproject name [directory]

Creates a Django project directory structure for the given project name in the current directory or the given destination.

By default, the new directory contains and a project package (containing a and other files). See the template source for details.

If only the project name is given, both the project directory and project package will be named <projectname> and the project directory will be created in the current working directory.

If the optional destination is provided, Django will use that existing directory as the project directory, and create and the project package within it. Use ‘.’ to denote the current working directory.

For example:

django-admin startproject myproject /Users/jezdez/Code/myproject_repo
--template TEMPLATE

Specifies a directory, file path, or URL of a custom project template. See the startapp --template documentation for examples and usage.


Specifies which file extensions in the project template should be rendered with the template engine. Defaults to py.

--name FILES, -n FILES

Specifies which files in the project template (in addition to those matching --extension) should be rendered with the template engine. Defaults to an empty list.

The template context used is:

  • Any option passed to the startproject command (among the command’s supported options)
  • project_name – the project name as passed to the command
  • project_directory – the full path of the newly created project
  • secret_key – a random key for the SECRET_KEY setting
  • docs_version – the version of the documentation: 'dev' or '1.x'

Please also see the rendering warning as mentioned for startapp.


django-admin test [test_label [test_label ...]]

Runs tests for all installed apps. See Testing in Django for more information.


Stops running tests and reports the failure immediately after a test fails.

--testrunner TESTRUNNER

Controls the test runner class that is used to execute tests. This value overrides the value provided by the TEST_RUNNER setting.

--liveserver LIVESERVER

Overrides the default address where the live server (used with LiveServerTestCase) is expected to run from. The default value is localhost:8081-8179.

Changed in Django 1.9:

In earlier versions, the default value was localhost:8081.

--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts. A typical prompt is a warning about deleting an existing test database.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.

Test runner options

The test command receives options on behalf of the specified --testrunner. These are the options of the default test runner: DiscoverRunner.

--keepdb, -k

Preserves the test database between test runs. This has the advantage of skipping both the create and destroy actions which can greatly decrease the time to run tests, especially those in a large test suite. If the test database does not exist, it will be created on the first run and then preserved for each subsequent run. Any unapplied migrations will also be applied to the test database before running the test suite.

--reverse, -r

Sorts test cases in the opposite execution order. This may help in debugging the side effects of tests that aren’t properly isolated. Grouping by test class is preserved when using this option.

--debug-sql, -d

Enables SQL logging for failing tests. If --verbosity is 2, then queries in passing tests are also output.

--parallel [N]
New in Django 1.9.

Runs tests in separate parallel processes. Since modern processors have multiple cores, this allows running tests significantly faster.

By default --parallel runs one process per core according to multiprocessing.cpu_count(). You can adjust the number of processes either by providing it as the option’s value, e.g. --parallel=4, or by setting the DJANGO_TEST_PROCESSES environment variable.

Django distributes test cases — unittest.TestCase subclasses — to subprocesses. If there are fewer test cases than configured processes, Django will reduce the number of processes accordingly.

Each process gets its own database. You must ensure that different test cases don’t access the same resources. For instance, test cases that touch the filesystem should create a temporary directory for their own use.

This option requires the third-party tblib package to display tracebacks correctly:

$ pip install tblib

This feature isn’t available on Windows. It doesn’t work with the Oracle database backend either.

If you want to use pdb while debugging tests, you must disable parallel execution (--parallel=1). You’ll see something like bdb.BdbQuit if you don’t.


When test parallelization is enabled and a test fails, Django may be unable to display the exception traceback. This can make debugging difficult. If you encounter this problem, run the affected test without parallelization to see the traceback of the failure.

This is a known limitation. It arises from the need to serialize objects in order to exchange them between processes. See What can be pickled and unpickled? for details.

--tag TAGS
New in Django 1.10.

Runs only tests marked with the specified tags. May be specified multiple times and combined with test --exclude-tag.

--exclude-tag EXCLUDE_TAGS
New in Django 1.10.

Excludes tests marked with the specified tags. May be specified multiple times and combined with test --tag.


django-admin testserver [fixture [fixture ...]]

Runs a Django development server (as in runserver) using data from the given fixture(s).

For example, this command:

django-admin testserver mydata.json

...would perform the following steps:

  1. Create a test database, as described in The test database.
  2. Populate the test database with fixture data from the given fixtures. (For more on fixtures, see the documentation for loaddata above.)
  3. Runs the Django development server (as in runserver), pointed at this newly created test database instead of your production database.

This is useful in a number of ways:

  • When you’re writing unit tests of how your views act with certain fixture data, you can use testserver to interact with the views in a Web browser, manually.
  • Let’s say you’re developing your Django application and have a “pristine” copy of a database that you’d like to interact with. You can dump your database to a fixture (using the dumpdata command, explained above), then use testserver to run your Web application with that data. With this arrangement, you have the flexibility of messing up your data in any way, knowing that whatever data changes you’re making are only being made to a test database.

Note that this server does not automatically detect changes to your Python source code (as runserver does). It does, however, detect changes to templates.

--addrport ADDRPORT

Specifies a different port, or IP address and port, from the default of This value follows exactly the same format and serves exactly the same function as the argument to the runserver command.


To run the test server on port 7000 with fixture1 and fixture2:

django-admin testserver --addrport 7000 fixture1 fixture2
django-admin testserver fixture1 fixture2 --addrport 7000

(The above statements are equivalent. We include both of them to demonstrate that it doesn’t matter whether the options come before or after the fixture arguments.)

To run on with a test fixture:

django-admin testserver --addrport test
--noinput, --no-input

Suppresses all user prompts. A typical prompt is a warning about deleting an existing test database.

Changed in Django 1.9:

The --no-input alias was added.

Commands provided by applications

Some commands are only available when the django.contrib application that implements them has been enabled. This section describes them grouped by their application.



django-admin changepassword [<username>]

This command is only available if Django’s authentication system (django.contrib.auth) is installed.

Allows changing a user’s password. It prompts you to enter a new password twice for the given user. If the entries are identical, this immediately becomes the new password. If you do not supply a user, the command will attempt to change the password whose username matches the current user.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database to query for the user. Defaults to default.

Example usage:

django-admin changepassword ringo


django-admin createsuperuser

This command is only available if Django’s authentication system (django.contrib.auth) is installed.

Creates a superuser account (a user who has all permissions). This is useful if you need to create an initial superuser account or if you need to programmatically generate superuser accounts for your site(s).

When run interactively, this command will prompt for a password for the new superuser account. When run non-interactively, no password will be set, and the superuser account will not be able to log in until a password has been manually set for it.

--username USERNAME
--email EMAIL

The username and email address for the new account can be supplied by using the --username and --email arguments on the command line. If either of those is not supplied, createsuperuser will prompt for it when running interactively.

--database DATABASE

Specifies the database into which the superuser object will be saved.

You can subclass the management command and override get_input_data() if you want to customize data input and validation. Consult the source code for details on the existing implementation and the method’s parameters. For example, it could be useful if you have a ForeignKey in REQUIRED_FIELDS and want to allow creating an instance instead of entering the primary key of an existing instance.



This command is only available if GeoDjango (django.contrib.gis) is installed.

Please refer to its description in the GeoDjango documentation.



django-admin clearsessions

Can be run as a cron job or directly to clean out expired sessions.



This command is only available if the Sitemaps framework (django.contrib.sitemaps) is installed.

Please refer to its description in the Sitemaps documentation.



This command is only available if the static files application (django.contrib.staticfiles) is installed.

Please refer to its description in the staticfiles documentation.


This command is only available if the static files application (django.contrib.staticfiles) is installed.

Please refer to its description in the staticfiles documentation.

Default options

Although some commands may allow their own custom options, every command allows for the following options:

--pythonpath PYTHONPATH

Adds the given filesystem path to the Python import search path. If this isn’t provided, django-admin will use the PYTHONPATH environment variable.

This option is unnecessary in, because it takes care of setting the Python path for you.

Example usage:

django-admin migrate --pythonpath='/home/djangoprojects/myproject'
--settings SETTINGS

Specifies the settings module to use. The settings module should be in Python package syntax, e.g. mysite.settings. If this isn’t provided, django-admin will use the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable.

This option is unnecessary in, because it uses from the current project by default.

Example usage:

django-admin migrate --settings=mysite.settings

Displays a full stack trace when a CommandError is raised. By default, django-admin will show a simple error message when a CommandError occurs and a full stack trace for any other exception.

Example usage:

django-admin migrate --traceback
--verbosity {0,1,2,3}, --v {0,1,2,3}

Specifies the amount of notification and debug information that a command should print to the console.

  • 0 means no output.
  • 1 means normal output (default).
  • 2 means verbose output.
  • 3 means very verbose output.

Example usage:

django-admin migrate --verbosity 2

Disables colorized command output. Some commands format their output to be colorized. For example, errors will be printed to the console in red and SQL statements will be syntax highlighted.

Example usage:

django-admin runserver --no-color

Extra niceties

Syntax coloring

The django-admin / commands will use pretty color-coded output if your terminal supports ANSI-colored output. It won’t use the color codes if you’re piping the command’s output to another program.

Under Windows, the native console doesn’t support ANSI escape sequences so by default there is no color output. But you can install the ANSICON third-party tool, the Django commands will detect its presence and will make use of its services to color output just like on Unix-based platforms.

The colors used for syntax highlighting can be customized. Django ships with three color palettes:

  • dark, suited to terminals that show white text on a black background. This is the default palette.
  • light, suited to terminals that show black text on a white background.
  • nocolor, which disables syntax highlighting.

You select a palette by setting a DJANGO_COLORS environment variable to specify the palette you want to use. For example, to specify the light palette under a Unix or OS/X BASH shell, you would run the following at a command prompt:

export DJANGO_COLORS="light"

You can also customize the colors that are used. Django specifies a number of roles in which color is used:

  • error - A major error.
  • notice - A minor error.
  • success - A success.
  • warning - A warning.
  • sql_field - The name of a model field in SQL.
  • sql_coltype - The type of a model field in SQL.
  • sql_keyword - An SQL keyword.
  • sql_table - The name of a model in SQL.
  • http_info - A 1XX HTTP Informational server response.
  • http_success - A 2XX HTTP Success server response.
  • http_not_modified - A 304 HTTP Not Modified server response.
  • http_redirect - A 3XX HTTP Redirect server response other than 304.
  • http_not_found - A 404 HTTP Not Found server response.
  • http_bad_request - A 4XX HTTP Bad Request server response other than 404.
  • http_server_error - A 5XX HTTP Server Error response.
  • migrate_heading - A heading in a migrations management command.
  • migrate_label - A migration name.
Changed in Django 1.9:

success was added.

Each of these roles can be assigned a specific foreground and background color, from the following list:

  • black
  • red
  • green
  • yellow
  • blue
  • magenta
  • cyan
  • white

Each of these colors can then be modified by using the following display options:

  • bold
  • underscore
  • blink
  • reverse
  • conceal

A color specification follows one of the following patterns:

  • role=fg
  • role=fg/bg
  • role=fg,option,option
  • role=fg/bg,option,option

where role is the name of a valid color role, fg is the foreground color, bg is the background color and each option is one of the color modifying options. Multiple color specifications are then separated by a semicolon. For example:

export DJANGO_COLORS="error=yellow/blue,blink;notice=magenta"

would specify that errors be displayed using blinking yellow on blue, and notices displayed using magenta. All other color roles would be left uncolored.

Colors can also be specified by extending a base palette. If you put a palette name in a color specification, all the colors implied by that palette will be loaded. So:

export DJANGO_COLORS="light;error=yellow/blue,blink;notice=magenta"

would specify the use of all the colors in the light color palette, except for the colors for errors and notices which would be overridden as specified.

Bash completion

If you use the Bash shell, consider installing the Django bash completion script, which lives in extras/django_bash_completion in the Django distribution. It enables tab-completion of django-admin and commands, so you can, for instance...

  • Type django-admin.
  • Press [TAB] to see all available options.
  • Type sql, then [TAB], to see all available options whose names start with sql.

See Writing custom django-admin commands for how to add customized actions.

Running management commands from your code, *args, **options)

To call a management command from code use call_command.

the name of the command to call or a command object. Passing the name is preferred unless the object is required for testing.
a list of arguments accepted by the command. Arguments are passed to the argument parser, so you can use the same style as you would on the command line. For example, call_command('flush', 'verbosity=0').
named options accepted on the command-line. Options are passed to the command without triggering the argument parser, which means you’ll need to pass the correct type. For example, call_command('flush', verbosity=0) (zero must be an integer rather than a string).


from django.core import management
from import loaddata

management.call_command('flush', verbosity=0, interactive=False)
management.call_command('loaddata', 'test_data', verbosity=0)
management.call_command(loaddata.Command(), 'test_data', verbosity=0)

Note that command options that take no arguments are passed as keywords with True or False, as you can see with the interactive option above.

Named arguments can be passed by using either one of the following syntaxes:

# Similar to the command line
management.call_command('dumpdata', '--natural-foreign')

# Named argument similar to the command line minus the initial dashes and
# with internal dashes replaced by underscores
management.call_command('dumpdata', natural_foreign=True)

# `use_natural_foreign_keys` is the option destination variable
management.call_command('dumpdata', use_natural_foreign_keys=True)

Command options which take multiple options are passed a list:

management.call_command('dumpdata', exclude=['contenttypes', 'auth'])

The return value of the call_command() function is the same as the return value of the handle() method of the command.

Changed in Django 1.10:

call_command() now returns the value received from the command.handle() method. It now also accepts a command object as the first argument.

Output redirection

Note that you can redirect standard output and error streams as all commands support the stdout and stderr options. For example, you could write:

with open('/path/to/command_output') as f:
    management.call_command('dumpdata', stdout=f)
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