How to Install Django on Windows: Step by Step Guide

3 minute read

Django is one of the most popular web frameworks in Python. It is secure, robust and allows developers to rapidly develop projects and meet deadlines. It is free and open-source, it works both on Windows and *nix systems.

In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install Django on Windows.

Install Python

Before you install Django, you must make sure that you have Python installed. You can check out this guide I wrote: how to install python on windows to learn how to install Python on Windows.

Install Django on Windows

The commands that we will run in this tutorial will work on both Windows Command Prompt(CMD) and Powershell. I will use Powershell but you can CMD if that’s what you prefer.

Step 1 - Open Powershell

You can search for Powershell in the Windows search box or you can open the Run dialog box by holding Windows logo key and R(Win+R) and type powershell and then click ok.

You should now have a Powershell window opened.

powershell opened

Now that we have opened Powershell, Let’s verify that Python has been installed.

Step 2 - Verify Python Installation

Type python -V on the prompt to verify that Python has been successfully installed

> python -V

you should see the Python version installed, being printed like below:

PS C:\Users\Stanley> python -V
Python 3.7.4

Step 3 - Upgrade Pip

Python now comes with pip by default. But most of the time, it comes with an old version. it is always a good practice to upgrade pip to the latest version

> python -m pip install --upgrade pip

You should see something like the screenshot below showing that the upgrade was a success:

upgrade pip

Step 4 - Create a Project Directory

let’s create a project directory. We will name it django_project since this tutorial is just a demo but in the real world, the project directory’s name would be forum, blog, etc.

To create the directory:

> mkdir django_project

Change into the django_project directory:

> cd django_project

Your prompt should now show you that you’re in the “django_project” directory like below:

PS C:\Users\Username\django_project>

Step 5 - Create Virtual Environment

A virtual environment(virtualenv) is an isolated Python environment where you can install packages and dependencies without affecting other Python projects. You can learn more about virtualenv here.

To create a virtual environment, type python -m venv venv and wait for a few seconds:

> python -m venv venv

It will create a directory called venv in the project directory.

Next, we will activate the virtual environment.

Step 6 - Activate Virtual Environment

Run the following command to activate the virtualenv.

> venv\Scripts\activate

When virtualenv is activated, you will see a (venv) at the beginning of the prompt.

(venv) PS C:\Users\Stanley\django_project>

If you run into an error like the one below on Powershell when activating virtualenv, for the sake of brevity, I described the reason and the solution here:

activation error

Now that virtual environment is activated, let’s install Django.

Step 7 - Install Django

We are going to use pip to install Django. So run the following command to start the installation:

(venv)> pip install django

The command will install the latest version of Django. You should see Django being downloaded just like the screenshot below:

django installed

If you want to install a different Django version, you can specify the version:

(venv)> pip install django==2.1

Step 8 - Start a New Project

We will use django-admin startproject to create our Django project structure called “testsite”.

Run the following command:

(venv)> django-admin startproject testsite

Navigate into the testsite directory by running the following command:

(venv)> cd testsite

Step 9 - Run the Server

Let’s now run the development server using the runserver:

(venv)> python runserver

run server

Visit in your web browser.

Tip: if want to leave the virtualenv, you must type deactivate on the prompt.

You are now ready to start developing your project