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Connect a Django application to PlanetScale

Spin up a PlanetScale MySQL database in seconds and connect to a Django application


In this tutorial, you'll learn how to connect a Django application to a PlanetScale MySQL database using a pre-built Django application.


Already have a Django application and just want to connect to PlanetScale? Check out the Django quick connect repo.


Set up the Django application

This guide integrates a simple Django application with PlanetScale. The application has one endpoint that displays a list of products and categories pulled from the database. If you have an existing application, you can also use that.

  1. Clone the starter Django application and switch into the project folder:

    git clone
    cd django-example
  2. Start the virtual environment:

    python3 -m venv env
    source env/bin/activate

    For Windows, use env/Scripts/activate.

  3. Install the required packages:

    pip install -r ./requirements.txt

Set up the database

Next, you need to set up your PlanetScale database and connect to it in the Django application.

You can create a database either in the PlanetScale dashboard or from the PlanetScale CLI. This guide will use the CLI, but you can follow the database setup instructions in the PlanetScale quickstart guide if you prefer the dashboard.

Authenticate the CLI with the following command:

pscale auth login

Create a new database with a default main branch with the following command:

pscale database create <DATABASE_NAME> --region <REGION_SLUG>

This tutorial uses django_example for DATABASE_NAME, but you can use any name with lowercase, alphanumeric characters, or underscores. You can also use dashes, but we don't recommend them, as they may need to be escaped in some instances.

For REGION_SLUG, choose a region closest to you from the available regions or leave it blank.

That's it! Your database is ready to use. Next, let's connect it to the Django application and then add some data.

Connect to the Django application

There are two ways to connect your Django application to PlanetScale:

  • With an auto-generated username and password
  • Using the PlanetScale proxy with the CLI

Both options are covered below.

  1. Create a username and password with the PlanetScale CLI by running:

    pscale password create <DATABASE_NAME> <BRANCH_NAME> <PASSWORD_NAME>

    The PASSWORD_NAME value represents the name of the username and password being generated. You can have multiple credentials for a branch, so this gives you a way to categorize them. To manage your passwords in the dashboard, go to your database dashboard page, click "Settings", and then click "Passwords".

    You can also get these exact values to copy/paste from your PlanetScale dashboard. In the dashboard, click on the database > "Connect" > "Connect with" language dropdown > "Django". If the password is blurred, click "New password".

    Take note of the values returned to you, as you won't be able to see this password again.

  2. Open the .env file in your Django app, find the database connection section, and fill it in as follows:


    The value for MYSQL_ATTR_SSL_CA may differ depending on your operating system.

  3. Next, in the mysite/ file, scroll down and look for the DATABASES object. Replace it with the following:

    'default': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_psdb_engine',
    'NAME': os.environ.get('DB_NAME'),
    'HOST': os.environ.get('DB_HOST'),
    'PORT': os.environ.get('DB_PORT'),
    'USER': os.environ.get('DB_USER'),
    'PASSWORD': os.environ.get('DB_PASSWORD'),
    'OPTIONS': {'ssl': {'ca': os.environ.get('MYSQL_ATTR_SSL_CA')}}

Option 2: Connect with PlanetScale proxy

To connect with the PlanetScale proxy, you'll need the PlanetScale CLI.

  1. Open a connection by running the following:

    pscale connect <DATABASE_NAME> <BRANCH_NAME>

    If you're following this guide exactly and haven't created any new branches, you'll use the default branch, main, for BRANCH_NAME.

  2. A secure connection to your database will be established and you'll see a local address you can use to connect to your application.

  3. Open the .env file in your Django app and update it as follows:


    The connection uses port 3306 by default, but if that's being used, it will pick a random port. Make sure you paste in whatever port is returned in the terminal.

Optional — Bring in PlanetScale custom database wrapper

This next step is only necessary if you're using your own application to go through this guide and do not want to use foreign key constraints. If you cloned the sample app, this already exists in the repo.

Foreign key constraint support is not enabled by default in PlanetScale. If you'd like to use foreign key constraints in your Django application with PlanetScale, you must first enable foreign key constraint support in your database settings page.

Django uses foreign key constraint syntax by default. So, if you want to proceed without foreign key constraints, you need to pull in the PlanetScale database wrapper for Django to disable foreign key syntax in the Django migrations.

  1. Run the following to pull it in:

    git clone
  2. In your file, add django_psdb_engine as the database engine.

    'default': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_psdb_engine',

Run migrations and seeder

Now that you're connected, let's add some data to see everything in action.

You can find the migrations file in mysite/store/migrations/ that references the Category and Product models to create the schema. It also contains seed data to create two products and two categories. Run this migration with:

python migrate

This will also run the default Django migrations.

Display the data

Finally, let's display the data to confirm that everything worked correctly.

This Django starter application has a pre-built endpoint, /products, that will grab and display all of the product data.

To view the data, start the server:

python runserver

Then go to localhost:8000/products and you'll see a list of the data from the products table.

Add data manually

If you want to continue playing around with adding data on the fly, you have a few options:

The first two options are covered below.

Add data with PlanetScale CLI

You can use the PlanetScale CLI to open a MySQL shell to interact with your database.

You may need to install the MySQL command line client if you haven't already.

Run the following command in your terminal:


This will open up a MySQL shell connected to the specified database and branch.


A branch, main, was automatically created when you created your database, so you can use that for BRANCH_NAME.

Add a record to the store_product table:

INSERT INTO `store_product` (name, description, image, category_id)
VALUES ('Product 3', 'Product 3 description', '', 1);

The value id will be filled with a default value.

Type exit to exit the shell.

Refresh the Django homepage to see the new record. You can also verify it was added in the PlanetScale CLI MySQL shell with:

select * from store_product;

Add data with PlanetScale dashboard console

If you don't care to install MySQL client or the PlanetScale CLI, another quick option using the MySQL console built into the PlanetScale dashboard.

  1. Go to your PlanetScale dashboard and select your Django database.

  2. Click on "Console".

  3. Select the main branch and click "Connect".

  4. Add a new record to the store_product table with:

    INSERT INTO `store_product` (name, description, image, category_id)
    VALUES ('Product 3', 'Product 3 description', '', 1);
  5. You can confirm that it was added by running:

    select * from store_product;

You can also head to the /products endpoint in your Django application to see the new data.

Foreign key constraints with PlanetScale

If you'd like to use foreign key constraints in your Django application with PlanetScale, you must first enable foreign key constraint support in your database settings page.

If you prefer to enforce referential integrity at the application level, you will have to do some extra configuration with Django. You can disable foreign key constraint checks at the model level in Django, but if you're running the default migrations, you'll need to turn them off globally.

The PlanetScale custom database backend manages this, but if you want to do it manually in each model. For example, in the file for the example in this document, we define the foreign key on the category table with the following:

category = models.ForeignKey(Category, on_delete=models.DO_NOTHING, db_constraint=False)

This isn't necessary to do in every model if you're pulling in the django_psdb_engine because it overrides the setting globally anyway, but this will work if you want to do it per model.

What's next?

Once you're done with initial development, you can enable safe migrations to protect from accidental schema changes and enable zero-downtime deployments.

Learn more about how PlanetScale allows you to make non-blocking schema changes to your database tables without locking or causing downtime for production databases.

Need help?

Get help from the PlanetScale support team, or join our GitHub discussion board to see how others are using PlanetScale.

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