Deploying a Django application on Elastic Beanstalk using S3

August 2013 · 3 minute read

This post was born out of the pain to get a sample django application, configured properly, using Amazon S3 for serving static files, to  run on AWS Elastic Beanstalk. I encountered many errors on the way, but finally managed to get a full fledged application running successfully. I am gonna try and highlight the key steps here to help you get your project up and running in no time.

First, create a sample Django project and a AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment for your application, as per the instructions provided in the official AWS documentation.

Once you’ve successfully deployed a dummy application to AWS Elastic Beanstalk, you need to configure the application to let S3 take care of serving the static files. One important point to remember here is that Django expects your webserver to serve static files in production mode (DEBUG = False) and thus will not handle it on it’s own, unlike in development mode. Understanding this is critical to a successful deployment.

So now let’s go ahead and add S3 support. First you need to add the following dependencies to your requirements.txt:

pip install django-storages boto
pip freeze | grep django-storages >> requirements.txt
pip freeze | grep boto >> requirements.txt

Next, add storages to INSTALLED_APPS  in your settings file:


Now we need to provide AWS credentials and the bucket name to allow AWS Elastic Beanstalk to transfer files to S3.  Add the following configuration to :

if not DEBUG:
    AWS_STORAGE_BUCKET_NAME = '<s3 bucket name>'
    AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID = '<access key id>'
    AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY = '<secret access key>'
    STATICFILES_STORAGE = 'storages.backends.s3boto.S3BotoStorage'

The STATICFILES_STORAGE  setting tells our application to use S3 for storing our static files.

The last step is to configure STATIC_ROOT * *to create a static directory in the root folder of your project. To do that, add the following lines to your settings:

import os

STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(

That’s it ! When you run the application on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, the 03_collectstatic command that you added to the ebs configuration file, will collect the static files from all your applications and then add them to the static folder created at STATIC_ROOT. This folder is then deployed to S3 and voila ! All your static files will now be served from the Amazon S3 server.

Hope you got your application running without any hassles. If you still have difficulties following this tutorial, you can check out djangoboilerplate, a boilerplate application fully configured and ready for deployment.

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