Ultimate Guide to Secure Your Django App with Nginx, SSL, and CORS

Developing a secure Django app is essential to protect both your users and your server from potential threats. This blog post will guide you through the process of setting up Nginx, SSL, and CORS to create a secure environment for your Django app.

Nginx Configuration

Nginx is a powerful and high-performance web server that can handle HTTPS requests efficiently. It can be used as a reverse proxy to serve your Django application. Follow these steps to configure Nginx for your Django app:

Step 1: Install Nginx

Install Nginx on your server using the package manager for your operating system. For example, on Ubuntu, you can use the following command:

sudo apt-get install nginx

Step 2: Configure Nginx as a reverse proxy

Create a new Nginx configuration file for your Django app. Name it ‘myapp’ and place it in the ‘/etc/nginx/sites-available/’ directory.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/myapp

Add the following configuration to the file, replacing ‘your_domain’ with your domain name and ‘your_app_port’ with the port your Django app is running on.

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name your_domain;
    return 301 https://$host$request_uri;

server {
    listen 443 ssl;
    server_name your_domain;

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/your_domain/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/your_domain/privkey.pem;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:your_app_port;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

Create a symbolic link to enable the configuration:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/myapp /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Restart Nginx to apply the changes:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

SSL Configuration

To encrypt the communication between clients and your Django app, you need to obtain an SSL certificate. Let’s Encrypt provides free SSL certificates, and you can use Certbot to automate the process.

Step 1: Install Certbot

On Ubuntu, run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install certbot python3-certbot-nginx

Step 2: Obtain SSL Certificate

Run the following command to obtain and install the SSL certificate:

sudo certbot --nginx -d your_domain

CORS Configuration

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) is a security feature that allows your Django app to control which websites can access its resources. To configure CORS, you need to install the ‘django-cors-headers’ package and modify your Django app settings.

Step 1: Install django-cors-headers

Run the following command:

pip install django-cors-headers

Step 2: Configure CORS in Django settings

Add ‘corsheaders’ to the ‘INSTALLED_APPS’ list and add the middleware in the ‘MIDDLEWARE’ list:



Step 3: Define Allowed Origins

In your Django settings, define the allowed origins by adding the following lines. Replace ‘your_frontend_domain.com’ with the domain of your frontend application.


# Optional: Allow all origins (not recommended for production)

Step 4: Additional CORS Settings (Optional)

Depending on your requirements, you can customize the CORS settings further. Some examples include:

  • Allowing specific HTTP methods
  • Allowing specific headers
CORS_ALLOW_HEADERS = ["content-type", "authorization"]
  • Allowing credentials

For more information on available settings, refer to the django-cors-headers documentation.

Testing and Troubleshooting

After configuring Nginx, SSL, and CORS, test your setup to ensure everything is working as expected. Use a web browser or a tool like [Postman](https://www.postman.com/) to make requests to your Django app, verifying that the requests are served over HTTPS and that CORS is properly restricting access to the allowed origins.

If you encounter issues, check the following:

  • Nginx error logs: /var/log/nginx/error.log
  • Django app logs
  • SSL certificate expiration: Certbot can be configured to auto-renew your certificates. To do so, add the following line to your server’s crontab:
0 0,12 * * * certbot renew --quiet


Implementing security measures like Nginx, SSL, and CORS is crucial for protecting your Django app, its users, and your server. By following this guide, you’ll establish a secure and efficient environment for your application. Keep refining your security practices, stay informed on updates, and continue safeguarding your app to ensure its ongoing success. Happy coding!

If you find this post useful, please share it. For more information on Django packages that you may utilize to enhance your project, see this post.

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