This document describes the necessary steps to configure Patchwork in a production environment. This requires a significantly “harder” deployment than the one used for development. If you are interested in developing Patchwork, refer to the development guide instead.

This document describes a single-node installation of Patchwork, which will handle the database, server, and application. It is possible to split this into multiple servers, which would provide additional scalability and availability, but this is is out of scope for this document.

Deployment Guides, Provisioning Tools and Platform-as-a-Service

Before continuing, it’s worth noting that Patchwork is a Django application. With the exception of the handling of incoming mail (described below), it can be deployed like any other Django application. This means there are tens, if not hundreds, of existing articles and blogs detailing how to deploy an application like this. As such, if any of the below information is unclear then we’d suggest you go search for “Django deployment guide” or similar, deploy your application, and submit a patch for this guide to clear up that confusion for others.

You’ll also find that the same search reveals a significant number of existing deployment tools aimed at Django. These tools, be they written in Ansible, Puppet, Chef or something else entirely, can be used to avoid much of the manual configuration described below. If possible, embrace these tools to make your life easier.

Finally, many Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers and tools support deployment of Django applications with minimal effort. Should you wish to avoid much of the manual configuration, we suggest you investigate the many options available to find one that best suits your requirements. The only issue here will likely be the handling of incoming mail - something which many of these providers don’t support. We address this in the appropriate section below.


For the purpose of this guide, we will assume an Ubuntu 20.04 host: commands, package names and/or package versions will likely change if using a different distro or release. Similarly, usage of different package versions to the ones suggested may require slightly different configuration.

Before beginning, you should update and restart this system:

$ sudo apt-get update -y
$ sudo apt-get upgrade -y
$ sudo reboot

Once rebooted, we need to configure some environment variables. These will be used to ease deployment:


Name of the database. We’ll name this after the application itself.


Username that the Patchwork web application will access the database with. We will use www-data, for reasons described later in this guide.


Password that the Patchwork web application will access the database with. As we’re going to use peer authentication (more on this later), this will be unset.


IP or hostname of the database host. As we’re hosting the application on the same host as the database and hoping to use peer authentication, this will be unset.


Port of the database host. As we’re hosting the application on the same host as the database and using the default configuration, this will be unset.

Export each of these. For example:

$ export DATABASE_NAME=patchwork

The remainder of the requirements are listed as we install and configure the various components required.


Install Requirements

We’re going to rely on PostgreSQL, though MySQL is also supported:

$ sudo apt-get install -y postgresql postgresql-contrib

Configure Database

We need to create a database for the system using the database name above. In addition, we need to add database users for two system users, the web user (the user that the web server runs as) and the mail user (the user that the mail server runs as). On Ubuntu these are www-data and nobody, respectively. PostgreSQL supports peer authentication, which uses the standard UNIX authentication method as a backend. This means no database-specific passwords need to be configured.

PostgreSQL created a system user called postgres; you will need to run commands as this user.

$ sudo -u postgres createdb $DATABASE_NAME
$ sudo -u postgres createuser $DATABASE_USER
$ sudo -u postgres createuser nobody

We will also need to apply permissions to the tables in this database but seeing as the tables haven’t actually been created yet this will have to be done later.


As noted in the Django documentation, Django expects databases to be configured with an encoding of UTF-8 or UTF-16. If using MySQL, you may need to configure this this explicitly as older versions defaulted to latin1 encoding. Refer to the MySQL documentation for more information.


Install Requirements

The first requirement is Patchwork itself. It can be downloaded like so:

$ wget

We will install this under /opt, though this is only a suggestion:

$ tar -xvzf v3.1.0.tar.gz
$ sudo mv patchwork-3.1.0 /opt/patchwork


Per the Django documentation, source code should not be placed in your web server’s document root as this risks the possibility that people may be able to view your code over the Web. This is a security risk.

Next we require Python. If not already installed, then you should do so now. Patchwork supports Python 3.7+. Python 3 is installed by default, but you should validate this now:

$ sudo apt-get install -y python3

We also need to install the various requirements. Let’s use system packages for this also:

$ sudo apt-get install -y python3-django python3-psycopg2 \
    python3-djangorestframework python3-django-filters


The website provides a great reference for identifying the name of these dependencies.

You can also install requirements using pip. If using this method, you can install requirements like so:

$ sudo pip install -r /opt/patchwork/requirements-prod.txt

Configure Patchwork

You will also need to configure a settings file for Django. A sample settings file is provided that defines default settings for Patchwork. You’ll need to configure settings for your own setup and save this as

$ cd /opt/patchwork
$ cp patchwork/settings/production{.example,}.py

Alternatively, you can override the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable and provide a completely custom settings file.

The provided settings file is configured to read configuration from environment variables. This suits container-based deployments quite well but for the all-in-one deployment we’re configuring here, hardcoded settings makes more sense. If you wish to use environment variables, you should export each setting using the appropriate name, such as DJANGO_SECRET_KEY, DATABASE_NAME or EMAIL_HOST, instead of modifying the file as we’ve done below.


We already defined most of the configuration necessary for this in the intro. As a reminder, these were:






Export these environment variables or configure the DATABASE setting in accordingly.

Static Files

While we have not yet configured our proxy server, we need to configure the location that these files will be stored in. We will install these under /var/www/patchwork, though this is only a suggestion and can be changed.

$ sudo mkdir -p /var/www/patchwork

Export the STATIC_ROOT environment variable or configure the STATIC_ROOT setting in

STATIC_ROOT = '/var/www/patchwork'

Secret Key

The SECRET_KEY setting is necessary for Django to generate signed data. This should be a random value and kept secret. You can generate and a value for SECRET_KEY with the following Python code:

import string
import secrets

chars = string.ascii_letters + string.digits + string.punctuation
print("".join([secrets.choice(chars) for i in range(50)]))

Export the DJANGO_STATIC_KEY environment variable or configure the STATIC_KEY setting in

Other Options

There are many other settings that may be configured, many of which are described in Configuration.






These are not configurable using environment variables and must be configured directly in the settings file instead. For example, if you wish to enable the XML-RPC API, you should add the following:


Similarly, should you wish to disable the REST API, you should add the following:


For more information, refer to Configuration.

Final Steps

Once done, we should be able to check that all requirements are met using the check command of the executable. This must be run as the www-data user:

$ sudo -u www-data python3 check


If you’ve been using environment variables to configure your deployment, you must pass the --preserve-env option for each attribute or pass the environments as part of the command:

$ sudo -u www-data \
    --preserve-env=DATABASE_NAME \
    --preserve-env=DATABASE_USER \
    --preserve-env=DATABASE_PASSWORD \
    --preserve-env=DATABASE_HOST \
    --preserve-env=DATABASE_PORT \
    --preserve-env=STATIC_ROOT \
    --preserve-env=DJANGO_SECRET_KEY \
python3 check

We should also take this opportunity to both configure the database and static files:

$ sudo -u www-data python3 migrate
$ sudo python3 collectstatic
$ sudo -u www-data python3 loaddata default_tags default_states


The above default_tags and default_states fixtures above are just that: defaults. You can modify these to fit your own requirements.

Finally, it may be helpful to start the development server quickly to ensure you can see something. For this to function, you will need to add the ALLOWED_HOSTS and DEBUG settings to the settings file:

DEBUG = True

Now, run the server.

$ sudo -u www-data python3 runserver

Browse this instance at http://[your_server_ip]:8000. If everything is working, kill the development server using Control-c and remove ALLOWED_HOSTS and DEBUG.

Reverse Proxy and WSGI HTTP Servers

Install Packages

We will use nginx and uWSGI to deploy Patchwork, acting as reverse proxy server and WSGI HTTP server respectively. Other options are available, such as Apache with the mod_wsgi module, or nginx with the Gunicorn WSGI HTTP server. While we don’t document these, sample configuration files for the former case are provided in lib/apache2/.

Let’s start by installing nginx and uWSGI:

$ sudo apt-get install -y nginx-full uwsgi uwsgi-plugin-python3

Configure nginx and uWSGI

Configuration files for nginx and uWSGI are provided in the lib subdirectory of the Patchwork source code. These can be modified as necessary, but for now we will simply copy them.

First, let’s load the provided configuration for nginx and disable the default configuration:

$ sudo cp /opt/patchwork/lib/nginx/patchwork.conf \
$ sudo unlink /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

If you wish to modify this configuration, now is the time to do so. Once done, validate and enable your configuration:

$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/patchwork.conf \
$ sudo nginx -t

Now, use the provided configuration for uWSGI:

$ sudo mkdir -p /etc/uwsgi/sites
$ sudo cp /opt/patchwork/lib/uwsgi/patchwork.ini \


We created the /etc/uwsgi directory above because we’re going to run uWSGI in emperor mode. This has benefits for multi-app deployments.


If you’re using environment variables for configuration, you will need to edit the patchwork.ini file created above to include these using the env = VAR=VALUE syntax.

Configure Patchwork

For security reasons, Django requires you to configure the ALLOWED_HOSTS setting, which is a “list of strings representing the host/domain names that this Django site can serve”. To do this, configure the setting in the setting file using the hostname(s) and/or IP address(es) from which you will be serving this domain. For example:


Create systemd Unit File

As things stand, uWSGI will need to be started manually every time the system boots, in addition to any time it may fail. We can automate this process using systemd. To this end a systemd unit file should be created to start uWSGI at boot:

$ sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/uwsgi.service > /dev/null << EOF
Description=uWSGI Emperor service

ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'mkdir -p /run/uwsgi; chown www-data:www-data /run/uwsgi'
ExecStart=/usr/bin/uwsgi --emperor /etc/uwsgi/sites


You should also delete the default service file found in /etc/init.d to ensure the unit file defined above is used.

sudo rm /etc/init.d/uwsgi
sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Final Steps

Start the uWSGI service we created above:

$ sudo systemctl restart uwsgi
$ sudo systemctl status uwsgi
$ sudo systemctl enable uwsgi

Next up, restart the nginx service:

$ sudo systemctl restart nginx
$ sudo systemctl status nginx
$ sudo systemctl enable nginx

Finally, browse to the instance using your browser of choice. You may wish to take this opportunity to setup your projects and configure your website address (in the Sites section of the admin console, found at /admin).

If there are issues with the instance, you can check the logs for nginx and uWSGI. There are a couple of commands listed below which can help:

  • sudo systemctl status uwsgi, sudo systemctl status nginx

    To ensure the services have correctly started

  • sudo cat /var/log/nginx/error.log

    To check for issues with nginx

  • sudo cat /var/log/patchwork.log

    To check for issues with uWSGI. This is the default log location set by the daemonize setting in the uWSGI configuration file.

Django administrative console

In order to access the administrative console at /admin, you need at least one user account to be registered and configured as a super user or staff account to access the Django administrative console. This can be achieved by doing the following:

$ python3 createsuperuser

Once the administrative console is accessible, you would want to configure your different sites and their corresponding domain names, which is required for the different emails sent by Patchwork (registration, password recovery) as well as the sample pwclientrc files provided by your project’s page.

Incoming Email

Patchwork is designed to parse incoming mails which means you need an address to receive email at. This is a problem that has been solved for many web apps, thus there are many ways to go about this. Some of these ways are discussed below.


The easiest option for getting mail into Patchwork is to use an existing email address in combination with a mail retriever like getmail, which will download mails from your inbox and pass them to Patchwork for processing. getmail is easy to set up and configure: to begin, you need to install it:

$ sudo apt-get install -y getmail

Once installed, you should configure it, substituting your own configuration details where required below:

$ sudo tee /etc/getmail/ > /dev/null << EOF
type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever
server =
port = 993
username = XXX
password = XXX
mailboxes = ALL

# we configure Patchwork as a "mail delivery agent", in that it will
# handle our mails
type = MDA_external
path = /opt/patchwork/patchwork/bin/

# retrieve only new emails
read_all = false
# do not add a Delivered-To: header field
delivered_to = false
# do not add a Received: header field
received = false

Validate that this works as expected by starting getmail:

$ getmail --getmaildir=/etc/getmail/ --idle INBOX

If everything works as expected, you can create a systemd script to ensure this starts on boot:

$ sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/getmail.service > /dev/null << EOF
Description=Getmail for

ExecStart=/usr/bin/getmail --getmaildir=/etc/getmail/ --idle INBOX


And start the service:

$ sudo systemctl start getmail
$ sudo systemctl status getmail
$ sudo systemctl enable getmail

Mail Transfer Agent (MTA)

The most flexible option is to configure our own mail transfer agent (MTA) or “email server”. There are many options, of which Postfix is one. While we don’t cover setting up Postfix here (it’s complicated and there are many guides already available), Patchwork does include a script to take received mails and create the relevant entries in Patchwork for you. To use this, you should configure your system to forward all emails to a given localpart (the bit before the @) to this script. Using the patchwork localpart (e.g. you can do this like so:

$ sudo tee -a /etc/aliases > /dev/null << EOF
patchwork: "|/opt/patchwork/patchwork/bin/"

You should ensure the appropriate user is created in PostgreSQL and that it has (minimal) access to the database. Patchwork provides scripts for the latter and they can be loaded as seen below:

$ sudo -u postgres psql -f \
    /opt/patchwork/lib/sql/grant-all.postgres.sql patchwork


This assumes that you are using the aliases(5) file that is owned by root, and that Postfix’s default_privs configuration is set as nobody. If this is not the case, you should change both the username in the createuser command above and substitute the username in the grant-all.postgres.sql script with the appropriate alternative.

Use a Email-as-a-Service Provider

Setting up an email server can be a difficult task and, in the case of deployment on PaaS provider, may not even be an option. In this case, there are a variety of web services available that offer “Email-as-as-Service”. These services typically convert received emails into HTTP POST requests to your endpoint of choice, allowing you to sidestep configuration issues. We don’t cover this here, but a simple wrapper script coupled with one of these services can be more than to get email into Patchwork.

You can also create such as service yourself using a PaaS provider that supports incoming mail and writing a little web app.

(Optional) Configure your VCS to Automatically Update Patches

The tools directory of the Patchwork distribution contains a file named post-receive.hook which is a sample Git hook that can be used to automatically update patches to the Accepted state when corresponding commits are pushed via Git.

To install this hook, simply copy it to the .git/hooks directory on your server, name it post-receive, and make it executable.

This sample hook has support to update patches to different states depending on which branch is being pushed to. See the STATE_MAP setting in that file.

If you are using a system other than Git, you can likely write a similar hook using the APIs or API clients to to update patch state. If you do write one, please contribute it.

(Optional) Configure the Patchwork Cron Job

Patchwork can send notifications of patch changes. Patchwork uses a cron management command - cron - to send these notifications and to clean up expired registrations. To enable this functionality, add the following to your crontab:

# m h  dom mon dow   command
*/10 * * * * cd patchwork; python3 ./ cron


The frequency should be the same as the NOTIFICATION_DELAY_MINUTES setting, which defaults to 10 minutes. Refer to the configuration guide for more information.