Django admin CSS or static file not working [Solved]

You might have came across a situation where your application works perfectly fine on local machine but when deployed to production, everything works except admin section, technically it functions as expected but it does not have CSS. Why this happens ?

If you want to recreate this problem, just following in from True to False.

DEBUG = False
This happens because you application is not able to load css files for admin  functionality. To address this problem, please follow below mentioned steps.

Step#1 collectstatic

First you need to create a folder called static in your project root directory, then run below command
$python3.6 collectstatic.
This will move admin css files under static folder. You can see new folder created under static folder called admin. This folder will have admin view related css, js , fonts, img.
You might wonder where were these files before ? these were server from site-packages folder of Django. You dont need to dig details here, but if you want you can.

Step#2 Change server config.

When you are running, runserver, you are running development server and it does a lot of things for you, including serving of static files but in production, Django expects that the static files will be served by your serer.

This is not difficult at all, just have below changes done to your nginx server config.

server {

    location / {
        include uwsgi_params;
        uwsgi_pass unix:/run/uwsgi/domainname.sock;

    location /static {                        # add this
       alias /var/www/domainname/static;      # add this
    }                                         # add this


if you are hosting django application using uwsgi and NGINX, this will work for you. I am not sure about gunicorn server. You can check post deploying django with uwsgi and nginx for deployment of your application to server.

First make sure you application is working on production server and then work on to make admin successfully.  Deploying Django to server has its own challenges, don’t make it more complicated by adding this change too. Attack problems one at a time.

Please let me know if you faced any issue while getting this working.

How to Install correct django version

django has multiple version which are supported. There are few differences which can cause confusion while using it. If you want to install specific version of django, follow below steps.

Step#1 Check what is the current version.

$ python3.6 -m django --version


$ python3.6
Python 3.6.4 (default, Jan 13 2018, 12:02:51) 
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import django
>>> django.__version__
>>> exit()

If current version is expected version, the you don’t need any of below steps.

Step#2 Uninstall current version

Please note that here you don’t have to put any version while uninstalling. whatever be the current version that will be uninstalled.

$ sudo python3.6 -m pip uninstall django
[sudo] password for user: 
Uninstalling Django-1.11:
  Would remove:
Proceed (y/n)? y
  Successfully uninstalled Django-1.11

Step#3 Install expected version

If you want to install latest version use following command

$ sudo python3.6 -m pip install django
Collecting django
  Downloading (7.1MB)
    100% |████████████████████████████████| 7.1MB 103kB/s 
Requirement already satisfied: pytz in /usr/local/lib/python3.6/site-packages (from django) (2017.3)
Installing collected packages: django
Successfully installed django-2.0.7

OR use below if you want to install any specific version

$ sudo python3.6 -m pip install django==2.0
Collecting django==2.0
  Downloading (7.1MB)
    100% |████████████████████████████████| 7.1MB 133kB/s 
Requirement already satisfied: pytz in /usr/local/lib/python3.6/site-packages (from django==2.0) (2017.3)
Installing collected packages: django
Successfully installed django-2.0

and you are all set. Please let me if you get any issue while installing expected version

Getting started with django with python3 and ubuntu

Tag line for django says “The web framework for perfectionists with deadlines.” and most would agree. django is rediculously fast to implement, its fully loaded with lots of utilitis, its secure and at the same time its highly scalable. some of the most popular sites like instagram, pinterest are built with django.

Let us get our hands dirty by getting started with django instead of talking about django features.

Which django version should I use ?

Here are the details about djnago release. you can choose latest version, however, I will stick with LTS version

Which Python version should I use ?

This is the most common question and following table with clarify your query

Django version Python versions
  1.11 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6
  2.0 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7
  2.1,2.2 3.5, 3.6, 3.7

In this tutorial we are going to use python version 3.6 (3.6.4 to be very specifuc) and latest django version 3.0.1


If you want to install specific version use following

$ pip3 install Django==3.0.1

Alternative way to install Django is as below

$ sudo python3 -m pip install django
Collecting django  
  Downloading Django-X.X.X-py3-none-any.whl (7.1MB)
    100% |████████████████████████████████| 7.1MB 186kB/s 
Requirement already satisfied: pytz in /usr/local/lib/python3.6/site-packages (from django)  
Installing collected packages: django  
Successfully installed django-X.X.X  

Checking the installed version

Simple way to check is using below command

$python3 -m django --version

another way

~$ python3
Python 3.6.4 (default, Jan 13 2018, 12:02:51)  
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.  
>>> import django
>>> print django.get_version()
  File "<stdin>", line 1
    print django.get_version()
SyntaxError: invalid syntax  
>>> print(django.get_version())

Creating django project

Project is created using following command

$django-admin startproject mysite

This will create folder mysite having required files. Now let us start the application by running server.

$ python3 runserver
Watching for file changes with StatReloader
Performing system checks...

System check identified no issues (0 silenced).

You have 17 unapplied migration(s). Your project may not work properly until you apply the migrations for app(s): admin, auth, contenttypes, sessions.
Run 'python migrate' to apply them.

December 28, 2019 - 07:55:49
Django version 3.0.1, using settings 'mysite01.settings'
Starting development server at
Quit the server with CONTROL-C.  

Now your website is up and running

By default server status at port 8000. You can change port using following command

$python3.6 runserver 8080

Creating an app

The term application describes a Python package that provides some set of features. Applications may be reused in various projects. The term project describes a Django web application. The project Python package is defined primarily by a settings module, but it usually contains other things.Applications include some combination of models, views, templates, template tags, static files, URLs, middleware, etc. They’re generally wired into projects with the INSTALLED_APPS setting and optionally with other mechanisms such as URLconfs, the MIDDLEWARE setting, or template inheritance.

$ python3 startapp polls

This will create a sub-directory as below

├── mysite01
│   ├── db.sqlite3
│   ├──
│   ├── mysite01
│   │   ├──
│   │   ├──
│   │   ├── __pycache__
│   │   │   ├── __init__.cpython-36.pyc
│   │   │   ├── settings.cpython-36.pyc
│   │   │   ├── urls.cpython-36.pyc
│   │   │   └── wsgi.cpython-36.pyc
│   │   ├──
│   │   ├──
│   │   └──
│   └── polls
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├── migrations
│       │   └──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       └──

Now to have our very basic application working, let us create file under folder polls and add below code

from django.urls import path
from . import views

app_name = 'polls'
urlpatterns = [
    # ex: /polls/
    path('', views.index, name='index'),
    path('first/', views.first, name='first'),

Please note “/’ after “first” url name.

We have updated url structure now let us code the view to be displayed if these urls are accessed. Update following code in polls/

from django.shortcuts import render
from django.http import HttpResponse

def index(request):
    return HttpResponse("Hello, world. You're at the polls index.")

def first(request):
    context = "Test Data"
    return render(request, 'polls/first.html', {'context': context})

As you see, we are displaying very basic message. This will give you basic idea about hor urls and views work. Now before you run the server again we need to inform our project about the application ‘polls’ by updating file. Update following in


Also update main project to include polls/ any url starting with domain-name+polls will be served from ‘polls/’

from django.contrib import admin
from django.urls import include, path

urlpatterns = [
    path('polls/',  include('polls.urls')),

Now let us run the server again

$ python3 runserver

Now you can access this website at below path