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What is Django Hosting?

Only Web developers would name their high-level Python framework after a quirky spaghetti western character. Use it to build powerful, interactive sites.

Django is a framework for Python that makes development faster, and makes an already user-friendly language even easier to grasp. The Django website boasts that it's possible to develop an idea in a matter of hours. Django includes a number of shortcuts that recreate commonly-used functions, and is of particular interest to people producing and publishing content.

A Brief History

Django was conceived in 2003 by two Python programmers, Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison. It was released to the public two years later. Django is named after Jean Django Reinhardt, a Belgian musician known for his jazz music and guitar skills.

Django is currently supported by a foundation which is registered in the US as a non-profit organisation. The project is open source.

On the modern web, Django has some high profile users. It's been adopted by Open Stack, Instagram and NASA, to name but three.

Why use Django?

Django makes website development easier by giving developers short cuts to common outcomes. That means applications can move from the drawing board to deployment much more quickly, compared to programming in Python alone. The admin interface creates its own options, depending on the way you've built your application, so you instantly have full control over the back-end. That can help to bring content to the fore more quickly.

When coding in Python, users create modules using Python in Django. Django is designed to add minimal extra learning time and should look familiar to anyone who can code basic HTML. Every site is created in a self-contained unit called a project, and each page contains a mixture of components that are rendered in the browser.

Some examples of Django's abilities out-of-the-box:

  • User authentication and permissions
  • Session cookies
  • Form handling
  • Content administration
  • Generation of site maps
  • Generation of RSS feeds
  • Blog commenting and management
  • Multi-language support

Django can also handle large amounts of traffic, so it's suitable for use on enterprise sites and busy blogs, as well as small sandbox projects and small business shopfronts.

What Django is Used For

Django can be used for a diverse range of purposes, and by a diverse range of organisations. Some of its functionality naturally lends itself to content management, but that can be applied to a range of scenarios. If you want to create a microblogging platform, connect friends on a social website or publish newsletters or recipes to a blog, Django will give you the building blocks you need.

If you're still deciding which coding language to learn, note that the Django website is unusually friendly to newbies. That might be key if you want to learn Python but you're intimidated by the technical nature of many coding websites, that might help make your mind up.

Security

One of the big bonuses of Django is its focus on security. If you're new to developing in Python, Django will protect you against security holes and common attacks.

It helps to prevent:

  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) and request forgery (CSRF)
  • SQL code injection
  • Clickjacking (where a site loads another site in an iframe)
  • Storage of user login details
  • HTTPS support
  • Monitoring of content uploaded to your server by users

For novices (or coders in a hurry), this all provides peace of mind.

There's no protection for brute force attacks, but you can obtain a plugin to help with this. Additionally, it's important to store Django projects (and any other Python projects) away from the web root on your server. This is a key difference from other types of scripting languages, but you really don't want anyone to be able to view Python code over the web in plain text.

Hosting System Requirements

If your host offers Python, it could (or should) also offer Django support. Note that some versions of Python aren't compatible with Django, such as versions pre-dating Python 3.2. Cross-reference Django's website with your host's specifications to make sure you have a compatible set-up.

There's no cost involved in acquiring Django, and it ships with some operating systems by default. If there's no mention of Django support, quiz your host before you sign up, and ask them if they would add it to your chosen plan for free.

Django Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Django?

    Django is a development framework for Python. It was originally designed to help journalists build website content to extremely tight deadlines.

  • How long has Django been available?

    Django was officially released in 2005. The Django Software Foundation was created three years later.

  • Why do coders use it?

    Django makes website development easier by providing shortcuts to common outcomes. It's faster than coding the same things in Python. That means that projects get completed faster, and it also helps novices to achieve better results in less time.

  • Do many popular websites use Django?

    Yes. Django is used by some of the world's largest social networks, including Pinterest and Instagram. Some parts of the Disqus and NASA websites are also built using the framework.

  • What are the disadvantages of Django?

    If you know Python, Django may be too basic. Shortcuts do help advanced developers finish applications with greater speed, but can also limit the potential for customization.

  • Do I need to install a web server to use Django?

    Yes. Django has its own server for testing, but you'll need to install server software like Apache to use it on a live website.

  • Which version of Python do I need?

    You can use Django with Python v2 and v3, but v3 is recommended. If you need to use Python v2 for your project, Django will still work. You will need to ensure the versions you select are compatible with each other. Check that your web host provides the right one.

  • What is a package?

    Django packages allow coders to extend Django's functionality. Packages are contributed by users; you'll find a large repository at djangopackages.org. Check that the package is supported by the version of Django that you are using.

  • What are the requirements for Django web hosting?

    Django is a Python framework, so your host will need to support Python first and foremost. Then, you'll need to check Django is already installed, or ask your host to do it for you. If you have a VPS or dedicated server, you may be able to install it yourself. For live sites, you will need a Linux operating system with web server software server, plus a MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, or Oracle database.

  • Can I use Django on Windows?

    Django can be used a Javascript Python installation (Jython) and on Windows. However, it will run best on a Linux server.

  • Can I host a Django installation on a shared hosting plan?

    Yes. Check that your host supports Python and Django before signing up for a plan.

  • Do I have to know how to program to use Django?

    If you don't have any coding know-how at all, you might struggle. But novice Python programmers will be able to pick up Django and develop applications by using shortcodes relatively quickly.

  • How often is Django updated?

    There's a new stable release of Django at least once a year.

  • What are the alternatives to Django?

    Ruby On Rails is a popular alternative to Django that leverages the Ruby programming language with Rails framework. For PHP development, alternatives include CodeIgniter and the Zend Framework.

  • How does Django compare to Rails?

    Rails uses a lot of pattern matching to streamline code. Django allows for a lot more flexibility and a lighter updating cycle. If you want to get your code up and operating faster, give Rails a try. If you want more flexibility and customizations, Django is a better choice.

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