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Django Accounts on Subdomains

How to create a Django app where each user account gets their own subdomain

*Disclaimer: I'm a Django and Python newbie. Your mileage may vary following my advice.

My Goal is to create an accounts system similar to Unfuddle, where to register for a new account, a user will enter a subdomain and admin login (see Unfuddle registration).

Users can't really log in from the home page - only from their subdomain. Once they are logged in, administrators can add more users that only have access to that subdomain.

FYI, I'm not competing against Unfuddle. I'm just very familiar with their system as I am a happy paying user. There are a number of other sites using this kind of accounting system. I'm sure I could implement it in PHP, but I really want to learn Django so I'm sticking with it on this project.

I would like to give props to the developers of Unfuddle as they have been more than helpful in regards to sharing the structure of their application and the way they do things. Thanks guys! I'm sure if I were writing this in Ruby on Rails they would be even more helpful as their application is written in Rails.

Now, back to the show.

I'm trying to use as much pre-existing code as possible so I can take advantage of others' knowledge and so I don't have to reinvent any wheels.

I'm doing my development and testing on Windows. So in order to test this, I've edited my hosts files (C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) with my main domain and a few subdomains that I want to test. When I go live, I will likely remove these from the hosts files and set up wildcard DNS & subdomains on the server.

Here is an example of my hosts file entries used to test:


So far, this is what I've done to implement:

  1. Install django-registration - I just checked out the latest source and plugged the registration folder into my project. Once I got it set up, I added a field to the form. (This is still a work in progress so I'll have to come update later. Basically my goal is to have a registration form that also asks for the subdomain and title of the user or company. Then I will append the subdomain to the username before saving it to the Users table so that username can be unique within sub-domains.)
  2. I created a simple middleware inside my application. This basically reads the HTTP_HOST and sets request.domain and request.subdomain. If there is no subdomain, or the subdomain is 'www', then it returns and empty string.
  3. My main template will have a link to log in. If they are on their subdomain they will see the login screen (I'm using django.contrib.auth for authentication and login forms). If they are on the main site, they will first be asked for their subdomain. After entering their subdomain, they will be redirected.

Here are the contents of my app's login function.
The subdomain form and template are quite trivial to create.

I hope this helps someone. I hope to expand this post when I get further into it.

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Dustin Davis

Dustin Davis is a software engineer, people manager, hacker, and entreprenuer. He loves to develop systems and automation. He lives with his wife and five kids in Utah.

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Dustin Davis