What Host Should You Use to Build Your Django Web Apps
Compare Django Hosting
Django is a powerful framework for creating impressive, interactive websites. But not all hosts are up to the job. Below we will discuss which hosts are good choices if you want to build your website with Django.
Compare Django Hosting
What is Django Hosting?
Only Web developers would name their high-level Python framework with a name most people associate with a quirky spaghetti western character. You can 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.
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 organization. The project is open source. This has contributed to its vast scalability, high security, and ease with which developers can create applications as quickly as possible.
Big Players Use Django
On the modern web, Django has some high profile users. It’s been adopted by OpenStack, Instagram, and NASA, to name but three. Django is further used by developers for countless types of projects and is one of the top choices for developing web applications.
Django homepage screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
Why Use Django?
Django makes website development easier by giving developers shortcuts 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.
How Django Works
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
Generation of site maps
Generation of RSS feeds
Blog commenting and management
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.
How can You Use Django
Django can be used for a diverse range of purposes, and by a diverse range of organizations. Some of its functionality naturally lends itself to content management, but that can be applied to a range of scenarios.
Learning Python with Dyango is one of the easier ways to learn how to program. So even if you don’t want to develop web apps, they are good to learn.
Django Is a Python Framework
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.
Django is a framework used for building web applications with the programming language, Python. Its use is primarily for software that is backed by a database. So essentially, Django is used to build database-driven websites.
Database-driven websites allow users to interact with a web page through their web browser. This is different from static websites that don’t have a back-end to store data.
For example, back-end development would let you create a website if you want users to create accounts on it. The Django framework allows things like passwords to be saved in a database to enable features such as this.
But There’s So Much More
But, this is only one use of the framework. There are numerous other possibilities. For example, websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all built on frameworks like Django.
Frameworks aid developers in building these kinds of websites. You could build games, calculator tools, or anything else that requires back-end development by using Django. Ultimately, Django allows for rapid development of these kinds of web applications.
Build Dynamic Websites
Since Django provides a platform for building web apps, it allows developers to create dynamic websites easily with Python.
The Python web framework wouldn’t normally be used to build static websites. Instead, these are typically built using HTML. For example, a website that just has some pictures and text on it wouldn’t have reason to have a back-end.
Building this kind of website using Python on Django would be unnecessary and considered overkill.
Setting Up Your Django Development Environment
Most back-end languages are written in virtual environments to isolate them and prevent problems with dependencies and versions.
There are various virtual environments that developers use to write Python. For one, virtualenv is one such tool that creates isolated Python environments. One of the ways to install virtualenv on your system is by using pip.
Pip is used to install software packages written in Python.
For example, you can use pip to install Bootstrap easily from your command line or terminal. Why would you want to do this? Because Bootstrap allows you to build responsive web applications much easier.
Pip ultimately lets you short-cut the process of installing packages that can help make developers’ lives easier. And there are countless packages that can be installed to expand what you can do with Python.
Keeping Your Django Site Secure
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.
Python helps improve security by:
Prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) and request forgery (CSRF)
Stop SQL code injection
Eliminate Clickjacking (sites loading another in an iframe)
Adds storage of user login details
Provides HTTPS support
Helps 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.
Django Hosting System Requirements
Python cloud hosting platform
Amazon Web Services
Cloud hosting platform (optional)
For hosting web applications built on Django, you will need to use a platform that lets you deploy the app. One of these platforms is Heroku. Heroku is a cloud platform on which users can build and deploy applications.
Heroku relies on Git, a revision control system that lets you manage the program code of your app. You will have to manage your application on Git to be able to push it to Heroku.
Git can be especially beneficial for managing code if you’re working on an application with other people. If you have a team working on the same web app, GitHub can be used to easily integrate work from different developers working on the same project.
This allows developers to push and pull the code to the application so that everyone can work on the same thing at once.
Another platform where you can host Python web apps is PythonAnywhere. PythonAnywhere seems to be better-suited to hosting smaller-scale projects but isn’t as competent at handling CPU-intensive tasks. Though, many users of PythonAnywhere have praised its ease of use for smaller projects.
Amazon Web Services
Some people host their web apps using Amazon Web Services (AWS). In fact, this is one of the most popular ways to host web apps.
AWS gives you a cloud web hosting platform for applications built on Django. With these services, you have access to Amazon CloudFront, a global CDN which will increase your website speeds for users all over the world. A CDN will deliver website files to users based on their geographic location, optimizing the speed at which your website loads. Amazon Web Services even has a free web hosting tier available that may be a great place to start for people new to hosting Django.
If you end up deciding to do this, you can take advantage of AWS Elastic Beanstalk. This is a service for deploying and scaling web applications, making it easier for developers who are managing web apps. To use Elastic Beanstalk, you just have to upload your code and it will take care of everything necessary for deploying and scaling your web app.
For example, Elastic Beanstalk handles load balancing and application health monitoring. You can use CPU metrics to trigger auto-scaling so your web application can handle visitor peaks without running into performance problems. There is no additional charge for using Elastic Beanstalk when you are paying for AWS.
Finding Django-Friendly Hosting Providers
You can also host your web apps on common web hosting services like A2 Hosting and BlueHost. Though, this is often more complicated and can be costly. If you want to go this route, there are a couple things you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for a web host.
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.
You’ll want to use virtual machines for hosting your web app if you think you’ll be encountering larger amounts of traffic that shared hosting plans cannot accommodate. Although many shared hosting plans include unlimited resources, these resources are shared between other people on your server and may not always be available to you when you need them. VPS plans will provide much more power and give developers more control over their hosting environment.
VPS plans are available from almost any hosting provider. This is what can make Django hosting expensive from web host providers. You’ll be required to purchase your own virtual private server instead of sharing a server with other users. Though many shared hosting plans support Python, to host web apps you essentially need to choose a provider that supports databases such as MySQL.
Interserver Django VPS homepage screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
My Choices: The Top Three Django Hosts
Everyone has different needs depending on what they want to do with Django. Below, I’ll list my favorite hosts for Django development.
You’ll find that InterServer’s cloud VPS plans are about the same price as those at A2 Hosting. The company uses high-performance SSD drives which are 20x faster than SATA disk drives. Accounts with InterServer come with the latest versions of many coding languages pre-installed, including Python.
With Interserver, you can further customize your server with any Linux-based application. InterServer also allows you to choose the location of your server out of three places in the United States. Though, access to cPanel will cost additional fees.
A2 Hosting Django homepage screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
A2 Hosting offers a cheap and affordable unmanaged VPS plan. But be careful with unmanaged VPS unless you are pretty technically savvy. If you aren’t, A2 also has shared hosting options that support Python versions up to 3.2.
Their hosting plans come with optional turbo servers that can be used to boost website speeds by up to 20 times. A2 Hosting includes free HackScan Protection with these plans which can keep your website safe from damage by hackers.
Bluehost VPS Django homepage screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
If you’re looking for a web hosting service to host a Django web app, our final recommendation is Bluehost.
For people aiming at VPS plans, Bluehost has cheaper managed plans than other companies like A2 Hosting. Unlike other hosts, however, Bluehost doesn’t give you the option of unmanaged VPS for cheaper prices.
It will also be slightly more complicated to install Python when you host with Bluehost as the language does not come pre-installed.
Django Pros and Cons
All programming languages and frameworks have their good and bad points. Here are the main pros and cons to consider before you dive into Django.
Python is an easy language to learn for new developers. This is because the Django framework simplifies the language. It allows developers to create applications really fast.
And, since Django is scalable, busy sites can meet traffic demands without a problem. Django is also great for ensuring that developers don’t make mistakes that can result in security issues.
But using Django may be overkill for smaller projects. It also will involve some deep learning curves that must be overcome. However, Django has some good documentation which is essential for people new to the framework.
If you want to start a regular website, you are probably best off using a content management system (CMS). But if you want to create web applications, you’re going to need to do programming — and that means choosing a language and likely a framework to go along with it.
What If You Already Know a Language?
If you already know a language, like PHP, then you are probably best off going with it — especially if you already use an appropriate framework for it. But if you are starting from scratch, Django is a great choice.
Python isn’t that hard a language to learn. But using it with Django is even easier. You will be on your web writing web apps in no time.
Speed and Power
If you do choose to go with Python and Django, you won’t just be picking a language that’s easy to learn. Django is fast and powerful. So you know that it will be up to what you want to create. What’s more, you can depend upon it being efficient: using resources well and running fast.
Django is one of the few programming frameworks where you can say, “If you’re not sure, you should definitely use it.” You won’t be disappointed.
Other features in Languages and Frameworks For Programming
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?
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.
About Ji Guo
Ji's background is in journalism, digital marketing, and internet startups. He has studied at various places, including Yale University. His work focuses on digital marketing, growth, and internet startups. He has written widely for publications including Newsweek.