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How to write a custom storage class

If you need to provide custom file storage – a common example is storing files on some remote system – you can do so by defining a custom storage class. You’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Your custom storage system must be a subclass of django.core.files.storage.Storage:

    from django.core.files.storage import Storage
    class MyStorage(Storage): ...
  2. Django must be able to instantiate your storage system without any arguments. This means that any settings should be taken from django.conf.settings:

    from django.conf import settings
    from django.core.files.storage import Storage
    class MyStorage(Storage):
        def __init__(self, option=None):
            if not option:
                option = settings.CUSTOM_STORAGE_OPTIONS
  3. Your storage class must implement the _open() and _save() methods, along with any other methods appropriate to your storage class. See below for more on these methods.

    In addition, if your class provides local file storage, it must override the path() method.

  4. Your storage class must be deconstructible so it can be serialized when it’s used on a field in a migration. As long as your field has arguments that are themselves serializable, you can use the django.utils.deconstruct.deconstructible class decorator for this (that’s what Django uses on FileSystemStorage).

By default, the following methods raise NotImplementedError and will typically have to be overridden:

Note however that not all these methods are required and may be deliberately omitted. As it happens, it is possible to leave each method unimplemented and still have a working Storage.

By way of example, if listing the contents of certain storage backends turns out to be expensive, you might decide not to implement Storage.listdir().

Another example would be a backend that only handles writing to files. In this case, you would not need to implement any of the above methods.

Ultimately, which of these methods are implemented is up to you. Leaving some methods unimplemented will result in a partial (possibly broken) interface.

You’ll also usually want to use hooks specifically designed for custom storage objects. These are:

_open(name, mode='rb')


Called by Storage.open(), this is the actual mechanism the storage class uses to open the file. This must return a File object, though in most cases, you’ll want to return some subclass here that implements logic specific to the backend storage system. The FileNotFoundError exception should be raised when a file doesn’t exist.

_save(name, content)

Called by Storage.save(). The name will already have gone through get_valid_name() and get_available_name(), and the content will be a File object itself.

Should return the actual name of the file saved (usually the name passed in, but if the storage needs to change the file name return the new name instead).


Returns a filename suitable for use with the underlying storage system. The name argument passed to this method is either the original filename sent to the server or, if upload_to is a callable, the filename returned by that method after any path information is removed. Override this to customize how non-standard characters are converted to safe filenames.

The code provided on Storage retains only alpha-numeric characters, periods and underscores from the original filename, removing everything else.

get_alternative_name(file_root, file_ext)

Returns an alternative filename based on the file_root and file_ext parameters. By default, an underscore plus a random 7 character alphanumeric string is appended to the filename before the extension.

get_available_name(name, max_length=None)

Returns a filename that is available in the storage mechanism, possibly taking the provided filename into account. The name argument passed to this method will have already cleaned to a filename valid for the storage system, according to the get_valid_name() method described above.

The length of the filename will not exceed max_length, if provided. If a free unique filename cannot be found, a SuspiciousFileOperation exception is raised.

If a file with name already exists, get_alternative_name() is called to obtain an alternative name.

Use your custom storage engine

The first step to using your custom storage with Django is to tell Django about the file storage backend you’ll be using. This is done using the STORAGES setting. This setting maps storage aliases, which are a way to refer to a specific storage throughout Django, to a dictionary of settings for that specific storage backend. The settings in the inner dictionaries are described fully in the STORAGES documentation.

Storages are then accessed by alias from the django.core.files.storage.storages dictionary:

from django.core.files.storage import storages

example_storage = storages["example"]
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