Setting Up a Django Project

Setting Up a Django Project

How to settup and Install Django for your backend or fullstack project

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Django(Python Django) is a high-level web development framework. It provides and flexible project structure and makes it easier to start new projects, In addition to that it follows the Model-View-Controller(MVC) architectural pattern, commonly referred to as Model-View-Template(MVT) in Django.

In this piece, we will document the procedural steps to setting up and installing a Django project.

While there are a number of ways to get started, feel free to explore available options on the internet and go for whatever makes you comfortable.


Before we get started, here is a checklist:

  1. Python installed

  2. Virtual Environment (Recommended to have one): I will be using virtualenv

Creating a Virtual Environment(with virtualenv)

To get started, we will create a virtual environment to install and run Django. Using virtualenv makes it way easier to do so(I think ... 🤔 💭).

Open a terminal (CMD), and go to a working directory or a location where your project files will be. To create an environment, run the following:

virtualenv <project_name>

Replace the <project_name> with the name of the project, i.e. My project will be: django-starter

virtualenv django-starter

Once that is done, you need to activate the environment. Before you do that, ensure that your terminal is in the project directory, "django-starter".

To activate the environment, run the following:

source bin/activate

Once the environment is activated, you will notice the environment will be enclosed by brackets on your terminal path:

(django-starter) chris@Chriss-MacBook-Pro django-starter %

To install django, run the following on the terminal/CMD:

pip install django

To confirm a successful installation, you can use pip freeze to check for installed packages inside the environment:

pip freeze

Creating a Django project

Django has the simplest project structure, you simply create a single django project, where you can have a number of applications inside it. We will start by creating a Django project, and then proceed to creating applications inside it.

To create a project, run the following:

django-admin startproject <project_name>

Replace the <project_name> with the project name.

Here's how I prefer to do it since I'm in the root folder of my environment, I'd love all my project configurations to be there, I will therefore run the following to create a django project:

django-admin startproject config .

This will create the core files to run and configure your project: and a config directory where it will have main settings and URLs for the project.

Note that you won’t be editing the file. Inside the config directory, you will find a file that defines the database, middleware, and more configurations for a Django project.

(Optional Step)

Before we run the server, open the and go to the TIME_ZONE variable. Set the timezone to your local time zone (Really helps with real-time logging and debugging)


I will update my timezone to

TIME_ZONE = 'Africa/Nairobi'

To test for a successful setup, start the server by running the following:

python runserver

Django locally runs on port 8000:


This confirms a successful setup.


This masterpiece has broken down the process of creating a Django project:

  1. Setting Up an Environment

  2. Activating an Environment

  3. Installing Django

  4. Creating a Django Project

Note: To deactivate the environment, run the following:


What Next?

The next article will cover the following:

  1. How to create applications in a django project

  2. How to set Templates and Static files (CSS and JS)

  3. Writing simple views and URLs