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File Uploads to Django – How to Upload Files to Django Server?

Django Upload Files

This article covers the exact steps that you can follow to upload files to Django server. Most web applications and websites allow users to upload their profile pictures, or files from their local computers to the server.

We’ll replicate the same in our tutorials tutorial. Let’s find how to upload and handlefiles and images onto the webserver using Django and ModelForms.

Uploading Files to Django

Let’s get right down to what we need to allow file uploads in Django.

1. Prerequisite Knowledge

In the last article on Django Forms, we have seen that to get the form data; we use request.POST in the Form object.

Request POST
Request POST

But to upload files to Django, we need to include another attribute request.FILES as well because the uploaded files are stored in the attribute request.FILES instead of request.POST.

Here’s what the code will look like:

form = ReviewForm(request.POST,request.FILES)

Django has separate model fields to handle the different file types – ImageField and FileField.

We use the ImageField when we want to upload only image files(.jpg/.jpeg/.png etc.)

To allow file uploads we need to add the following attribute in the <form> attribute.

enctype ="multipart/form-data"

At the end, the form HTML tag should look like this:

<form type = 'post' enctype = "multipart/form-data">

2. Modify settings.py to store uploaded files

Now in the settings.py add the following lines at the end of the file.

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

Here:

  • MEDIA_URL: This mentions the URL endpoint. This is the URL the user can go to and upload their files from the browser
  • MEDIA_ROOT: This we have seen earlier in the Django Templates article under the DIR settings for Templates.

If you don’t understand it right now, you will understand it later in the article!

The second line tells Django to store all the uploaded files in a folder called ’media’ created in the BASE_DIR, i.e., the project Directory.

We need to create the folder manually so all the uploaded files will be stored in the media folder underlined below:

Django Project Directory
Django Project Directory

3. Creating the Media Folder in the Django Project.

Now in the project folder, create a new folder with the name ‘media.’

Media
Media

Once the folder is created, we will move to creating the eBook upload webpage.

Creating an E-Book upload webpage

Now let us make a webpage, in which the clients can upload the pdf file of books they have.

1. Creating an E-Book Model in models.py

In models.py, create a new Django ModelEBooksModel” and then add the following code

class EBooksModel(models.Model):

    title = models.CharField(max_length = 80)
    pdf = models.FileField(upload_to='pdfs/')

    class Meta:
        ordering = ['title']
    
    def __str__(self):
        return f"{self.title}"

Here:

  • We have used the well-known model CharField, which will store the name of the pdf that the client submits.
  • FileField is used for files that the client will upload.
  • Upload_to option specifies the path where the file is going to be stored inside the media. For, e.g., I have used ‘pdfs/,’ which implies that the files will get stored in a folder named pdfs inside the media.
  • Class Meta and def__str__: we have learned this in Django models article

Note: The upload File won’t be saved in the database. Only the instance of the file will be saved there. Hence even if you delete that particular instance, the Uploaded file will still be inside the media folder.

You will know what I meant by an instance of a file is later in this article, so hold on !!

2. Creating the UploadBookForm in forms.py

We will now import the EBooksModel into forms.py and then create a new ModelForm “UploadBookForm.”

Create the Form using the knowledge we learned in Django Forms 

class UploadBookForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = EBooksModel
        fields = ('title', 'pdf',)

3. Creating BookUploadView in views.py

The code here will be similar to the one we wrote in Django Forms. But here, we need to accommodate the uploaded files (placed in request.FILES instead of request.POST.)

For that, simply add request.FILES, along with the request.POST as shown below

form = UploadBookForm(request.POST,request.FILES)

Therefore the full code will be 

def BookUploadView(request):
    if request.method == 'POST':
        form = UploadBookForm(request.POST,request.FILES)
        if form.is_valid():
            form.save()
            return HttpResponse('The file is saved')
    else:
        form = UploadBookForm()
        context = {
            'form':form,
        }
    return render(request, 'books_website/UploadBook.html', context)

4. Creating the UploadBook.html Template

Now we need to create the <form> attribute in the template file.

Hence, create a template file “ UploadBook.html.”  and add the following.

<form method ='post' enctype ="multipart/form-data">
    {% csrf_token %}
    {{form}}
    <input type="submit" value = "Submit">
</form>

Don’t forget to add enctype =”multipart/form-data” otherwise, the form won’t work.

Now finally let’s map the View with a URL(book/upload)

5. Creating a URL path for UploadBookView

Now in the urls.py, add the path to link UploadBookView to ‘book/upload.’ using the method we saw in Django URL mapping.

path('book/upload', BookUploadView, name ='BookUploadView')

Now that we have created a new model, we must perform the migrations again. So in the python shell enter the following command one by one.

python manage.py makemigrations
python manage.py migrate

That’s it, Now lets run the server and check the browser.

Browser
Browser

Voila, the upload form is up !! Now choose a pdf and click the submit button.

Browser
Browser

When you hit the submit button, then “the file has been saved” page will appear

Browser
Browser

If you go to the media folder, you will see a pdfs folder and in it the pdf that you submitted.

Media/pdfs
Media/pdfs

Register the newly made model in the admin site, using:

admin.site.register(EBooksModel)

Then load the admin site in the browser and go to EBooksModel and select the element we just submitted.

Admin Site
Admin Site

Now here, if you observe, in the pdf field. You will see a Currently: option.

The path that is written in front of it: pdfs/cprogramming_tutorial.pdf is called an instance. Therefore pdfs/<pdf_name> is an instance of the <pdf_name> file.

Django saves only the instance of the file and not the file itself. Hence even if you delete the model from the admin site, the pdf file will still be there in the media folder.

View the uploaded files from the browser front-end

In the above webpage, the instance appears as a link. But if you click on it, you will get an error message.

This happens because the endpoint is not mapped.

Error Message
Error Message

Now to correct this error, we need to map this endpoint to the particular file. To do that, go to urls.py and add

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

if settings.DEBUG:
    urlpatterns += static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)
Urls
Urls

If you read the line, you will get a rough idea of what we are doing

Here:

  • In settings.py, we have already set debug = True, so settings.DEBUG will always be true.
  • In side if function, the following code will add static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT) to the urlpatterns present above.
Debug 1
Debug 1

The line static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT) can be thought of in this way.

To the host website(http://127.0.0.1:8000/) is where we are adding the endpoints –

  • MEDIA_URL(which we kept as ‘/media/’ in the starting of this article)
Media Settings
Media Settings
  • and then document_root(which is the location of the pdf file inside the media folder.

Hence if I want to view the cprogramming_tutorial.pdf file that I earlier uploaded, I will go to http://127.0.0.1:8000/media/pdfs/cprogramming_tutorial.pdf (observe how MEDIA_URL(‘/media/’) is being used)

This is what the above code in urls.py does.

That’s it, now if you reload the server and click on the instance we saw earlier on the Django admin page, you won’t get the error now.

Admin Site
Admin Site

Now click on the instance link and check !!

Pdf Browser
Pdf Browser

Hence we can now see the pdf via the browser!

Conclusion.

That’s it!! We hope you have learned everything you need to upload files to Django. Also, you can learn more about the topic from their official documentation.

Practice Problem: Using the knowledge gained from previous articles, try to make a webpage showing all the E-books available on a webpage along with the link to view them.

Stay tuned for more advanced tutorials on Django topics!