Integrating Wagtail into a Django project

Wagtail provides the wagtail start command and project template to get you started with a new Wagtail project as quickly as possible, but it’s easy to integrate Wagtail into an existing Django project too.

Wagtail is currently compatible with Django 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0. First, install the wagtail package from PyPI:

pip install wagtail

or add the package to your existing requirements file. This will also install the Pillow library as a dependency, which requires libjpeg and zlib - see Pillow’s platform-specific installation instructions.


In your file, add the following apps to INSTALLED_APPS:



Add the following entry to MIDDLEWARE:


Add a STATIC_ROOT setting, if your project doesn’t have one already:

STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static')

Add MEDIA_ROOT and MEDIA_URL settings, if your project doesn’t have these already:

MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'media')
MEDIA_URL = '/media/'

Add a WAGTAIL_SITE_NAME - this will be displayed on the main dashboard of the Wagtail admin backend:

WAGTAIL_SITE_NAME = 'My Example Site'

Add a WAGTAILADMIN_BASE_URL - this is the base URL used by the Wagtail admin site. It is typically used for generating URLs to include in notification emails:


If this setting is not present, Wagtail will fall back to or to the hostname of the request. Although this setting is not strictly required, it is highly recommended because leaving it out may produce unusable URLs in notification emails.

Various other settings are available to configure Wagtail’s behaviour - see Settings.

URL configuration

Now make the following additions to your file:

from django.urls import path, include

from wagtail.admin import urls as wagtailadmin_urls
from wagtail import urls as wagtail_urls
from wagtail.documents import urls as wagtaildocs_urls

urlpatterns = [
    path('cms/', include(wagtailadmin_urls)),
    path('documents/', include(wagtaildocs_urls)),
    path('pages/', include(wagtail_urls)),

You can alter URL paths here to fit your project’s URL scheme.

wagtailadmin_urls provides the admin interface for Wagtail. This is separate from the Django admin interface, django.contrib.admin. Wagtail-only projects host the Wagtail admin at /admin/, but if this clashes with your project’s existing admin backend then you can use an alternative path, such as /cms/.

Wagtail serves your document files from the location, wagtaildocs_urls. You can omit this if you do not intend to use Wagtail’s document management features.

Wagtail serves your pages from the wagtail_urls location. In the above example, Wagtail handles URLs under /pages/, leaving your Django project to handle the root URL and other paths as normal. If you want Wagtail to handle the entire URL space including the root URL, then place path('', include(wagtail_urls)) at the end of the urlpatterns list. Placing path('', include(wagtail_urls)) at the end of the urlpatterns ensures that it doesn’t override more specific URL patterns.

Finally, you need to set up your project to serve user-uploaded files from MEDIA_ROOT. Your Django project may already have this in place, but if not, add the following snippet to

from django.conf import settings
from django.conf.urls.static import static

urlpatterns = [
    # ... the rest of your URLconf goes here ...
] + static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)

Note that this only works in development mode (DEBUG = True); in production, you have to configure your web server to serve files from MEDIA_ROOT. For further details, see the Django documentation: Serving files uploaded by a user during development and Deploying static files.

With this configuration in place, you are ready to run python migrate to create the database tables used by Wagtail.

User accounts

Wagtail uses Django’s default user model by default. Superuser accounts receive automatic access to the Wagtail admin interface; use python createsuperuser if you don’t already have one. Wagtail supports custom user models with some restrictions. Wagtail uses an extension of Django’s permissions framework, so your user model must at minimum inherit from AbstractBaseUser and PermissionsMixin.

Start developing

You’re now ready to add a new app to your Django project through python startapp. Remember to add the new app to INSTALLED_APPS in your file and set up page models, as described in Your first Wagtail site.

Note that there’s one small difference when you’re not using the Wagtail project template: Wagtail creates an initial homepage of the basic type Page, which doesn’t include any content fields beyond the title. You probably want to replace this with your own HomePage class. If you do so, ensure that you set up a site record (under Settings / Sites in the Wagtail admin) to point to the new homepage.