• author: BugBytes

Utilizing Django Maintenance Mode to Handle Application Maintenance

When your DevOps or system administrator team informs you of a critical issue with your application that requires maintenance, it's crucial to have a solution in place to handle such situations effectively. In this article, we will explore how to utilize the Django Maintenance Mode library to gracefully handle maintenance periods and inform users of any service unavailability.

Understanding the Application Setup

Let's start by understanding the structure of a sample Django application that we will be using for demonstration purposes. This dummy application consists of two URLs linked to two views: the index view and the about view. These views render templates found within the application's template directory. Both the index.html and about.html templates contain a header tag along with some dummy text using lorem ipsum.

To visualize this structure, we need the Django server running. Let's open the application in the browser to see the home page displaying the header and dummy text. Additionally, we can access the about page, which shows similar content.

Introducing Django Maintenance Mode

Django Maintenance Mode is a powerful library that allows us to display a maintenance page when our application needs to be temporarily taken offline. It achieves this by triggering a 503 error page, indicating that the server is currently unavailable. This library operates at the application level, meaning Django itself handles returning the maintenance page to inform users about the ongoing maintenance.


To get started, we first need to install the Django Maintenance Mode library. Open your terminal or command prompt and execute the following command within a virtual environment:

pip install django-maintenance-mode

Integration Steps

The installation process involves a few additional steps to seamlessly integrate Django Maintenance Mode into your application. Let's follow along:

  1. Add maintenance_mode to settings.py:

    In the settings.py file, locate the INSTALLED_APPS list and add 'maintenance_mode', to it. Ensure that the trailing comma is present after the addition.

  2. Incorporate the middleware:

    Django Maintenance Mode uses middleware for its functionality. Copy the name of the maintenance mode middleware from the documentation and navigate back to the settings.py file. Add the middleware at the bottom of the MIDDLEWARE list as a string.

  3. Configuring custom template (optional):

    Django Maintenance Mode allows customization of the template it uses for the maintenance page. By default, it looks for a template named 503.html. To customize this, create a new file within the templates directory called 503.html and modify it per your preferences.

  4. Restart the Django server:

    Stop the currently running Django server and start it again to apply the changes made during the integration process.

Enabling Maintenance Mode

With the Django Maintenance Mode library installed and integrated seamlessly, it's time to enable maintenance mode for our application. By default, maintenance mode is turned off unless specifically activated. Let's proceed with the necessary configuration:

  1. Open settings.py:

    Locate the settings.py file and scroll to the bottom.

  2. Add maintenance_mode = True:

    In the settings.py file, add the following line at the end:


    This line signifies that our application is now in maintenance mode.

  3. Create custom maintenance template (optional):

    To provide a more professional and informative maintenance page, customize the 503.html template. Modify the content to reflect your desired message and styling, ensuring it conveys that the website is currently unavailable and to check back later.

    {% extends 'base.html' %}
    {% block content %}
    <h1>Website Unavailable</h1><p>Please try again later.</p>
    {% endblock %}
  4. Save the changes and restart the server:

    Save the settings.py file, stop the Django server, and restart it to apply the new configurations.

With the maintenance mode configured and activated, any user accessing the application during this period will be presented with the custom maintenance page, indicating the unavailability of the service. However, certain scenarios might require exceptions to this behavior.

Customizing Maintenance Mode

Django Maintenance Mode offers several customization options to suit the needs of different applications. Some notable options include:

  1. Ignoring the admin site:

    By default, the maintenance mode affects the admin site as well. However, you can exclude the admin site from being impacted by adding maintenance_mode_ignore_admin_site=True to the settings.py file. This ensures that administrators can still access the admin site during maintenance periods.

  2. Handling authenticated users:

    It is possible to configure maintenance mode to exclude authenticated users from seeing the maintenance page. To achieve this, set maintenance_mode_ignore_authenticated_users=True in the settings.py file. This allows signed-in users to continue accessing the site while showing the maintenance page to anonymous users.

  3. Customizing the maintenance template:

    Django Maintenance Mode allows you to specify a custom template other than the default 503.html. To utilize this functionality, modify the maintenance_mode_template setting in the settings.py file. For example:


    Create a folder named errors within the templates directory and move your customized 503.html template there. This organizational structure helps keep all error-related templates in a designated directory.

    Note: Ensure that the spelling of errors matches the directory name on the left-hand side of the setting.

Granular Control with View Decorators

In some cases, you may have a few pages within your application that should remain accessible regardless of the maintenance mode status. The django-maintenance-mode library provides decorators to accomplish this fine-grained control.

Let's consider an example where we want to allow access to the about page even when maintenance mode is enabled.

  1. Open views.py:

    Retrieve the necessary imports from the Django Maintenance Mode documentation and add them to the views.py file.

  2. Apply the decorator:

    Use the force_maintenance_mode_off decorator to allow the about page to bypass the maintenance mode setting. Place the decorator above the targeted view function in views.py.

    @force_maintenance_mode_offdefabout(request):# Your view code here

    With this decorator applied, the specific page will bypass the maintenance mode and be accessible even while the rest of the application is unavailable.

This granular control ensures that users can access certain pages that contain static information, such as the about page, even during maintenance periods. By forcing maintenance mode off for these pages, dynamic content retrieval from databases or external services won't inadvertently trigger the maintenance mode response.


Handling application maintenance is crucial in ensuring the smooth operation of your web application. By leveraging the Django Maintenance Mode library, you can gracefully manage maintenance periods by displaying informative maintenance pages to your users. Additionally, the ability to customize the maintenance page, exempt certain users

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