Django Media Files

Django Media Files

Working with simple media uploads and serving these media files


3 min read

In Django, media files can be defined as those files which are uploaded by the users. For examples:

  1. Profile Picture uploads
  2. File Uploads and many more ...


On our Django settings we add MEDIA_URL and MEDIA_ROOT settings



MEDIA_ROOT = '/var/www/media/'

Note: MEDIA_ROOT is the folder where your file gets saved.

Creating a URL configurations so serve uploaded files

In static files serving, Django would provide us with a way to serve static files automatically, But to serve the media files we will need to create a URL configurations to serve all media files from MEDIA_ROOT

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

urlpatterns = [
     # rest of project url patterns
if settings.DEBUG: 
    urlpatterns += static(settings.MEDIA_URL,

Note: we serve media files like this on local development environment only, on production servers we use a different approach. We serve these assets directly through the webserver.

Just to try if everything is working, you can create a sample file(image.jpg) inside the MEDIA_ROOT directory, and check if Django is serving it at /media/image.jpg

Simple File Upload in Django

  • When files are submitted from HTML form to server, the file data can be accessed from request.FILES on Django views. request.FILES is a dict like object
  • Each key in request.FILES is the name from <input type="file" name="">
  • It's mandatory for the HTML forms to have the attribute enctype="multipart/form-data"
  • Form must be submitted using POST method
  • Django has proper model fields ImageField and FileField for handling file uploads
  • These uploaded files are stored on filesystem (MEDIA_ROOT) and only the reference of file is stored in ImageField or FileField in Database. So basically these fields are abstraction created by Django to help us deal with file uploads but deep down they are just the CharField on database side

Example: A basic file uploads, and handling the file uploads manually on the Django side

on HTML side,

<!-- image-uploads.html -->
<form method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
    {% csrf_token %}
    <input type="file" name="image">
    <input type="submit" value="submit">

on Django view side,

from import FileSystemStorage
from django.http import HttpResponse
from django.shortcuts import render

def image_upload(request):
    if request.method == 'POST' and request.FILES['image']:
        image = request.FILES['image']
        fs = FileSystemStorage()

        # save the image on MEDIA_ROOT folder
        file_name =, image)

        # get file url with respect to `MEDIA_URL`
        file_url = fs.url(file_name)
        return HttpResponse(file_url)
        # render the form
        return render(request, "image-uploads.html")

That't it, now we can process file uploads in Django, save it to the MEDIA_ROOT location automatically using FileSystemStorage()

When using Django model and fields with ImageFiled or FileField we don't need to perform the file processing/saving manually like we did just now. Simply we would assign the file to the field, and call the method like we generally do. I will talk about it in detail in some other tutorial.