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Shantanu Nighot
Shantanu Nighot

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Starting Django project with MongoDB using Djongo.

Starting Django project with MongoDB using Djongo
Hi everyone, as an enthusiast developer, I wanted to learn about databases. There are lots of them on the internet but the one that caught my attention is MongoDB. Recently I heard about the unique database called MongoDB. It's a NoSQL document database where data is stored in documents instead of rows and columns as in SQL databases.

After researching more about MongoDB, its features and applications, I started learning about it and also completed my first Basic course at MongoDB University. Thanks to GitHub's Student Developer Pack and MongoDB to provide free access to MongoDB University courses.

With basic knowledge of the MongoDB database, I decided to use it with one of my projects and here is what I have built.

Quotes gen project:

In this project, I have created a model to store quotes and authors in a MongoDB database and View to display a random quote from a collection of more than 2 lacs of quotes.

So, I am writing this article to share with you the steps I followed to connect the MongoDB database with my Django project.

There are currently 3 ways to connect the MongoDB database to Django, using

  1. PyMongo
  2. MongoEngine
  3. Djongo [Dj ango + M ongo]

I personally loved how Djongo manages to connect MongoDB to Django with minimum changes. I will suggest using Djongo for beginners as it does not change the original Django ORM and everything is kept minimal and simple. And in this article, we are going to use it to connect Django with MongoDB.

Djongo logo


Before proceeding further make sure you have basic knowledge of how things work in Django and MongoDB. I have mentioned few resources to get started with them.

Let's get started,

Step 1: Virtual environment setup

Make sure you have created a virtual environment and activates it using the following commands,

# Install virtualenv package
python -m pip install --user virtualenv

# Create a virtual environment with the name 'env'
python -m venv env

# Activate the virtual environment

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Step 2: Install packages

Install the required packages like Django and Djongo using the following command,

pip install Django Djongo pymongo[srv]

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Step 3: Start the Django project

Now as our virtual env is activated, let's create our Django project and the app.

# Start the Django project
django-admin startproject <project-name>

# Open the project folder
cd <project-name>

# Create an app
python startapp <app-name>

# Start the server to see the project running
python runserver

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Don't forget to add the newly created app to INSTALLED_APPS in the file.

Step 4: MongoDB cluster creation

Now our app is ready, let's head to MongoDB to create our Atlas cluster.

  1. Go to and sign in
  2. Create an Organisation and a Project
  3. Create Cluster
    • Click on Create a Cluster
    • Select the Shared Database deployment for this tutorial
    • Change the Cluster name
    • Click on Create button (Takes few minutes to complete the process)
  4. Click on Connect and Create a Database User with Username and Password. If it asks to add an IP address then Click on Add IP address without adding anything. This allows access to your cluster from any IP address and is not recommended when creating a real-life project.
  5. Then select the connection type Connect your application and copy the provided link. We will need it later.

For more information, visit the MongoDB Documentation, Get started with Atlas.

Step 5: Database information in Django

Everything is ready to be served. In file add the following information in DATABASE and replace the credentials like username, password, and atlas cluster with yours. You can add the database name of your choice, then Django will create that database on migration. Add admin instead of <myFirstDatabase>.Remember the link we copied earlier, you can also use it in place of the given link.

        'default': {
            'ENGINE': 'djongo',
            'NAME': 'your-db-name',
            'ENFORCE_SCHEMA': False,
            'CLIENT': {
                'host': 'mongodb+srv://<username>:<password>@<atlas cluster>/<myFirstDatabase>?retryWrites=true&w=majority'

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I may have skipped some Django parts to focus this article on MongoDB connection. Please make sure you have followed all steps required to run a Django project.

Step 6: Where the magic happens...

It's time to actually connect our Django project to a MongoDB cluster. Run the following commands to make migrations and migrate the database.

# Make migrations
python makemigrations

# Migrate
python migrate

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And that's it. You can see in your MongoDB cluster that the new database is created with the name provided by you and few collections inside that Database like the following,

Database collections

If you get an error djongo.database.DatabaseError while migrating the database, run the following command pip install sqlparse==0.2.4 to fix the issues.

Step 7: Creating Models

To know how Django models are connected to the MongoDB database, let's create a model in our project. For example, in the following code, the model People is created with Name, Age fields.

class People(models.Model):
    Name = models.CharField(max_length=100, default=None)
    Age = models.IntegerField(default=None)

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Don't forget to register the model by adding the following lines in the file.

from . models import People

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Again run python makemigrations and python migrate to migrate the database.

MongoDB Collections

In the MongoDB cluster, you can see that the new collection testapp_people is created. In Django, the models are connected to the MongoDB collections with the name <app-name>_<model-name> where app-name is the name of Django app and model-name is the name of the model inside that app.

Step 8: Adding data

Last but not the least, let's create a superuser using the following command and add some data using Django admin.

python createsuperuser

# To start the server
python runserver

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After adding some data from the admin panel, you can see that the collection is crowded with some data which are called Documents. MongoDB stores the data in the form of documents.

MongoDB collections

This is all you need to know while starting a Django project with MongoDB. Now go ahead and create some interesting projects. Check out GitHub repository for the project I mentioned in the start to help you in the process.

If you face any issues in the process, don't hesitate to mention them in a comment. I am always peeping at my inbox for new comments and will get back to you immediately.

If you have any suggestions or feedback related to my articles, please let me know.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope this was helpful to you.🌻

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