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How to create a multi-site Django application using Mirrors

Start with the original, the application from which the Divio mirrors will be created. Divio mirrors share the codebase of the original, but run as wholly independent Docker container. To learn more, refer to Divio Mirrors.

Create Divio mirrors

Ensure that both Test and Live servers have been successfully deployed.

Create one or more mirrors.

Apply environment variables to each mirror

Database and media storage

The following environment variables from the Test and Live environments of the original will need to be applied to the corresponding environments on each of the mirrors:


For more information about environment variables, including how to retrieve their values, see How to manage your application's environment variables.

Using the Control Panel, add the environment variables to the Test and Live environments for each mirror.


The SITE_ID of the original will be 1 by default. For each mirror, add a SITE_ID environment variable, incrementing it each time.

If two sites share the same SITE_ID, or if you save an object in the Sites admin before deploying a mirror with its SITE_ID in place, you may have unexpected results.

Deploy your mirrors

Mirrors can be deployed from their own Dashboards, or from the Mirrors view of the original.

In the Django Sites admin you will see each mirror now listed.

If you're using a Django application that makes use of the Sites framework, such as django CMS, you will see that it now has access to multiple independent sites. In django CMS for example this means that pages can be one site of the application or another.

Managing database migrations

Typically when working with mirrors, code changes will be applied to the original and then rolled out to each mirror over a period of time - at any rate, not all mirrors will immediately be deployed along with the original. Because the deployment of any one of the sites will run any outstanding migrations in the database they all share, this means that you could be in a situation where the database and codebase are out of synchronisation for some of the sites.

Backwards-compatible migrations

One solution to this is to adopt a two-step strategy for migrations that could be affected.

For example, suppose that a code change removes a database field. In that case, when the original is deployed, it will immediately change the database schema, and any code in the mirrors that expects to find the field will fail.

Instead, you would need to:

  1. without changing the model field, remove code in views, model methods and so on that would attempt to use the field
  2. roll out the change to all mirrors
  3. remove the field
  4. migrate the database