Setting up Apache2, mod_python, MySQL, and Django on Debian Lenny or Ubuntu Hardy Heron

posted on October 15th, 2008 by Greg Allard in Greg's Posts on Code Spatter

Both Debian and Ubuntu make it really simple to get a server up and running. I was trying a few different Machine Images on Amazon and I found myself repeating a lot of things so I wanted to put them here for reference for those who might find it useful.

With a fresh image, the first thing to do is update apt-get.

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y

Then grab all of the software to use.

apt-get install -y xfsprogs mysql-server  apache2  libapache2-mod-python  python-mysqldb  python-imaging  python-django  subversion php5  phpmyadmin

xfsprogs is for formatting an Elastic Block Store volume and may not be needed in all cases.

I like to check out the latest version of Django from their repository, it makes it easier to update it later. This also starts a project named myproject (this name is used later).

cd /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages
svn co django
ln -s /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/django/bin/ /usr/local/bin
cd /var/www startproject myproject

Now to edit the apache config to tell it about our project.

cd /etc/apache2
nano httpd.conf

Add the following to set up python to run the django files and php to run the phpmyadmin files. There is also an example of serving static files. Change where it says myproject if you used a different name.

<Location "/">
    SetHandler python-program
    PythonHandler django.core.handlers.modpython
    SetEnv DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE myproject.settings
    PythonOption django.root /myproject
    PythonDebug On
    PythonPath "['/var/www'] + sys.path"
Alias /adm_media/ /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/django/contrib/admin/media/
<Location "/adm_media/">
    SetHandler None
Alias /files/ /var/www/myproject/files/
<Location "/files/">
    SetHandler None
Alias /phpmyadmin/ /usr/share/phpmyadmin/
<Location "/phpmyadmin/">
    SetHandler None

Restart apache for it to use the new configuration.

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

The only thing left to do is set up the database. If Ubuntu had you set up a root password already, add -p to the end of the following command to use it.


There are some users in mysql without username, it is best to remove those.

drop user ''@'localhost';

Do that for each host that has a blank username. Use the following to see all users.

SELECT user, host FROM mysql.user;

Create a database and add a user.

GRANT ALL ON db_name.* to user_name WITH GRANT OPTION;
SET PASSWORD FOR user_name = password('psswdhere');

If root doesn’t have a password yet, use the above commant with root as the username.

Amazon has a page about
how to use EBS with MySQL, but
there are reported issues with using Debian Lenny and EBS.

Going with Slicehost Instead of AWS EC2

posted on October 14th, 2008 by Greg in Personal Projects

I ran into some trouble with python2.4 and the django code I was using. The previous server had 2.5 and I didn’t notice any problems, so I tried upgrading to 2.5 and changing which version of python Debian uses as default (this was on Debian Etch). I was having some difficulty getting a few of the site-packages to work with 2.5 by default (like mod_python), so I decided to move to Debian Lenny even though it isn’t as supported. While doing that I ran into a problem where it doesn’t work well with xfs and Amazon’s Elastic Block Store. They are looking into the matter, but while trying to figure that out, I realized that AWS doesn’t come with support. There is an extra package you have to purchase which starts at $100 a month.

That made Amazon look less awesome since I know I am going to need some support at some point. I decided to compare prices and features around again. I ended up revisiting Slicehost since I knew a lot more about setting up a server than I did before.

I posted the steps that I took to set up apache, mysql, django, and a few other things on a clean ubuntu machine on Code Spatter.

Now I have a WebFaction account for testing and subversion hosting and I’m using the Slicehost account for the live version of the site.

Subversion makes it easy to commit on one server and update on the other once it is stable. I should explore a distributed version control system like git since it might help out with this in the future.

Update October 21, 2008

The AWS developer community seems to be a good alternative to having direct support from amazon. The people there are knowledgeable and amazon reps post frequently. Here is a quote from someone at amazon about the issue I was having

We are still investigating the issue and will post an analysis a little later and a workaround.  Basically the problem revolves around the interaction between very specific kernel versions, XFS and our version of Xen.

Even though my slice is running fine, I will still be keeping AWS in mind.

Update May 7, 2009

Some people have posted some solutions on the developer community. I haven’t tested them, but I will look into it if I need to use Amazon again.

AWS, EBS, S3, EC2, Debian, Django, Apache, and mod_python

posted on September 23rd, 2008 by Greg in Personal Projects

Yesterday I dove into amazon’s web services to check it out as a solution for a project I’m working on. I followed a guide to setup django development server on a default amazon machine image to start off. Then I decided to go with a debian AMI and do a full production server. I used apt-get to install the newest versions of apache, python, mysql, mod_python, svn, and some others. Debian turned out to be a lot easier than some other flavors of linux I have used.

After getting the instance configured the way I wanted it, I saved an image of it to my storage bucket so I could bring it up at any time instead of paying ten cents an hour until I need it.

A recent post updates the Amazon Adventure.