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Launch Your Wagtail Website On Digital Ocean With Ubuntu 18


How to launch your Wagtail website on Digital Ocean (from scratch!)

If you enter your server and project details on this page, the list of commands below the form will automatically update (it's using JavaScript; nothing is being saved, I promise!)

Because launching a new website on a new server from scratch can be quite the task (over 50 steps!) the idea is you can copy/paste your server and project details into this form and get a list of commands to run by copying and pasting most of the code that's generated for you.

Enter your Droplet and Project Details Below 👇

  • Create a new Ubuntu 18 Droplet
  • You'll need your Droplet IP address ssh
  • Create a new user on your new ubuntu server adduser newuser
  • Give your new user admin privileges usermod -aG sudo newuser
  • Make sure OpenSSH is enabled
    ufw app list
    ufw allow OpenSSH
    ufw enable
    ufw status
  • Copy your root SSH Key to the new Ubuntu user account rsync --archive --chown=newuser:newuser ~/.ssh /home/newuser
  • SSH into your server as your new Ubuntu user (don't use root) exit your ssh session with ctrl + d
  • Update Ubuntu sudo apt update
    sudo apt install python3-pip python3-dev libpq-dev postgresql postgresql-contrib nginx curl
  • Log into a postgres session sudo -u postgres psql
  • Create a new database CREATE DATABASE your_db_name;
  • Create a new postres user with a password CREATE USER your_db_user WITH PASSWORD 'your_db_password';
  • Alter the postgres role
    ALTER ROLE your_db_user SET client_encoding TO 'utf8';
    ALTER ROLE your_db_user SET default_transaction_isolation TO 'read committed';
    ALTER ROLE your_db_user SET timezone TO 'UTC';
  • Make the postgres user an admin GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE your_db_name TO your_db_user;
  • Quit postgres \q
  • Upgrade pip and install virtualenv sudo -H pip3 install --upgrade pip && sudo -H pip3 install virtualenv
  • Create a new project directory mkdir ~/yourprojectname && cd ~/yourprojectname
  • Clone your project from github into this directory git clone .
  • Create a new virtualenv virtualenv .venv
  • Activate your virtualenv source .venv/bin/activate
  • Install gunicorn and psycopg2-binary pip install gunicorn psycopg2-binary
  • Install your project requirements pip install -r requirements.txt
  • Collect static with: python collectstatic --settings=yourprojectname.settings.production
  • Re-run your server with python runserver --settings=yourprojectname.settings.production At this point you should see migrations are required.
  • Cancel your server and run it normally with Set the DJANGO SETTINGS MODULE with: export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE='yourprojectname.settings.production' Re run the server and we no longer need to specify a settings file
  • Apply migrations python migrate
  • Create a new superuser python createsuperuser
  • Allow port 8000 through ufw sudo ufw allow 8000
  • Run the server on port 8000 and preview it python runserver Go to and you'll see it at least loads. It'll look terrible, but it works!
  • The site now only work on port 8000. That's no good. We need it to run all the time.
  • Make sure your in your main directory cd ~/yourprojectname
  • Run gunicorn on port 8000 gunicorn --bind yourprojectname.wsgi
  • Preview your site on port 8000 again, but notice this time we are running it with gunicorn Go to and you'll it loads.
  • Cancel gunicorn and deactivate your virtualenv ctrl + c and deactivate
  • Create a gunicorn socket file sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.socket Add this to it:
    Description=gunicorn socket
  • Create a systemd file for gunicorn with sudo privileges sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/gunicorn.service And add this into it:
    Description=gunicorn daemon
    ExecStart=/home/newuser/yourprojectname/.venv/bin/gunicorn \
            --access-logfile - \
            --workers 3 \
            --bind unix:/run/gunicorn.sock \
  • Start and enable the gunicorn sudo systemctl start gunicorn.socket && sudo systemctl enable gunicorn.socket
  • Check the status of the process with: sudo systemctl status gunicorn.socket Should say active listening
  • Check the existence of the new socket file file /run/gunicorn.sock
  • Check the gunicorn status with sudo systemctl status gunicorn You should see INACTIVE DEAD
  • Test the socket activation with a curl command curl --unix-socket /run/gunicorn.sock localhost You should see the html output of your site.
    If you didnt, something is wrong with gunicorn. Double check your file, double check the gunicorn paths.
  • At this point it doesnt hurt to restart gunicorn with sudo systemctl daemon-reload && sudo systemctl restart gunicorn
  • Create a new server block in nginx sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourprojectname And add this:
    server {
        listen      80;
        listen      [::]:80;
        charset     UTF-8;
        error_log   /home/newuser/yourprojectname/nginx-error.log;
        location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
        location /static/ {
            alias /home/newuser/yourprojectname/static/;
        location /media/ {
            alias /home/newuser/yourprojectname/media/;
        location / {
            include proxy_params;
            proxy_pass http://unix:/run/gunicorn.sock;
  • Create a file by linking it to the sites-enabled directory sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourprojectname /etc/nginx/sites-enabled
  • Test nginx with: sudo nginx -t
  • If there were no errors, restart nginx sudo systemctl restart nginx
  • Open the firewall to normal traffic with Nginx, and delete port 8000 sudo ufw delete allow 8000 && sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'
  • If NGINX shows the welcome to nginx page, double check your server_name ip in your nginx config file (the one we created earlier).
  • Add your IP to your domain DNS.
  • When launching your website update your nginx settings sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourprojectname Replace with
  • Test nginx settings with sudo nginx -t
  • Restart nginx with sudo systemctl restart nginx
  • Add your new domain to your allowed hosts sudo nano yourprojectname/settings/ Add to the ALLOWED_HOSTS and Remove the ip address of
  • Add to your domain DNS settings and wait for it to propogate
  • View your new website at
  • Update the wagtail site settings Go to and: change localhost to

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