Serve static files directly from a WSGI application
Radically simplified static file serving for Python web apps
With a couple of lines of config WhiteNoise allows your web app to serve its own static files, making it a self-contained unit that can be deployed anywhere without relying on nginx, Amazon S3 or any other external service. (Especially useful on Heroku.)
It’s designed to work nicely with a CDN for high-traffic sites so you don’t have to sacrific performance to benefit from simplicity.
WhiteNoise works with any WSGI-compatible app but has some special auto-configuration features for Django.
WhiteNoise takes care of best-practices for you, for instance:
- Serving gzipped content (handling Accept-Encoding and Vary headers correctly)
- Settting far-future cache headers on content which won’t change
Worried that serving static files with Python sounds like a terrible idea? Have a look at the Infrequently Asked Questions below.
QuickStart for Django apps
Edit your wsgi.py file and wrap your WSGI application like so:
from django.core.wsgi import get_wsgi_application from whitenoise.django import DjangoWhiteNoise application = get_wsgi_application() application = DjangoWhiteNoise(application)
Add this to your settings.py:
STATICFILES_STORAGE = 'whitenoise.django.GzipManifestStaticFilesStorage'
For more details, including on setting up CloudFront and other CDNs see the Using WhiteNoise with Django guide.
QuickStart for other WSGI apps
To enable WhiteNoise you need to wrap your existing WSGI application in a WhiteNoise instance and tell it where to find your static files. For example:
from whitenoise import WhiteNoise from my_project import MyWSGIApp application = MyWSGIApp() application = WhiteNoise(application, root='/path/to/static/files') application.add_files('/path/to/more/static/files', prefix='more-files/')
For more details see the full documentation.
WhiteNoise works with any WSGI-compatible application and is tested on Python 2.7, 3.3 and 3.4
DjangoWhiteNoise is tested with Django versions 1.4 — 1.7
WhiteNoise is being used in Warehouse, the in-development replacement for the PyPI package repository.
Some of Django and pip’s core developers have said nice things about it:
@jezdez: “[WhiteNoise] is really awesome and should be the standard for Django + Heroku”
@dstufft: “WhiteNoise looks pretty excellent.”
@idangazit “Received a positive brainsmack from @_EvansD’s WhiteNoise. Vastly smarter than S3 for static assets. What was I thinking before?”
Issues & Contributing
Infrequently Asked Questions
Isn’t serving static files from Python horribly inefficient?
The short answer to this is that if you care about performance and efficiency then you should be using WhiteNoise behind a CDN like CloudFront. If you’re doing that then, because of the caching headers WhiteNoise sends, the vast majority of static requests will be served directly by the CDN without touching your application, so it really doesn’t make much difference how efficient WhiteNoise is.
That said, WhiteNoise is pretty efficient. Because it only has to serve a fixed set of files it does all the work of finding files and determing the correct headers upfront on initialization. Requests can then be served with little more than a dictionary lookup to find the appropriate response. Also, when used with gunicorn (and most other WSGI servers) the actual business of pushing the file down the network interface is handled by the kernel’s very efficient sendfile syscall, not by Python.
Shouldn’t I be pushing my static files to S3 using something like Django-Storages?
The correct behaviour is to examine the Accept-Encoding header of the request to see if gzip is supported, and to return an appropriate Vary header so that intermediate caches know to do the same thing. This is exactly what WhiteNoise does.
The second problem with a push-based approach to handling static files is that it adds complexity and fragility to your deployment process: extra libraries specific to your storage backend, extra configuration and authentication keys, and extra tasks that must be run at specific points in the deployment in order for everythig to work. With the CDN-as-caching-proxy approach that WhiteNoise takes there are just two bits of configuration: your application needs the URL of the CDN, and the CDN needs the URL of your application. Everything else is just standard HTTP semantics. This makes your deployments simpler, your life easier, and you happier.
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