Creating your project

The wagtail start command

The easiest way to start a new project with wagtail is to use the wagtail start command. This command is installed into your environment when you install Wagtail (see: Installation).

The command works the same way as startproject except that the produced project is pre-configured for Wagtail. It also contains some useful extras which we will look at in the next section.

To create a project, cd into a directory where you would like to create your project and run the following command:

wagtail start mysite

The project

Lets look at what wagtail start created:


The “core” app

Location: /mysite/core/

This app is here to help get you started quicker by providing a HomePage model with migrations to create one when you first setup your app.

Default templates and static files

Location: /mysite/core/templates/ and /mysite/core/static/

The templates directory contains base.html, 404.html and 500.html. These files are very commonly needed on Wagtail sites to they have been added into the template.

The static directory contains an empty javascript and sass file. Wagtail uses django-compressor for compiling and compressing static files. For more information, see: Django Compressor Documentation

Vagrant configuration

Location: /Vagrantfile and /vagrant/

If you have Vagrant installed, these files let you easily setup a development environment with PostgreSQL and Elasticsearch inside a virtual machine.

See below section With Vagrant for info on how to use Vagrant in development

If you do not want to use Vagrant, you can just delete these files.

Django settings

Location: /mysite/mysite/settings/

The Django settings files are split up into,, and
This file is for global settings that will be used in both development and production. Aim to keep most of your configuration in this file.
This file is for settings that will only be used by developers. For example: DEBUG = True
This file is for settings that will only run on a production server. For example: DEBUG = False

This file is used for settings local to a particular machine. This file should never be tracked by a version control system.


On production servers, we recommend that you only store secrets in (such as API keys and passwords). This can save you headaches in the future if you are ever trying to debug why a server is behaving badly. If you are using multiple servers which need different settings then we recommend that you create a different file for each one.

Getting it running

With Vagrant

This is the easiest way to get the project running. Vagrant runs your project locally in a virtual machine so you can use PostgreSQL and Elasticsearch in development without having to install them on your host machine. If you haven’t yet installed Vagrant, see: Installing Vagrant.

To setup the Vagrant box, run the following commands

vagrant up # This may take some time on first run
vagrant ssh
# within the ssh session
dj createsuperuser

If you now visit http://localhost:8111 you should see a very basic “Welcome to your new Wagtail site!” page.

You can browse the Wagtail admin interface at: http://localhost:8111/admin

You can read more about how Vagrant works at:

The dj and djrun aliases

When using Vagrant, the Wagtail template provides two aliases: dj and djrun which can be used in the vagrant ssh session.

This is short for python so you can use it to reduce typing. For example: python syncdb becomes dj syncdb.
This is short for python runserver This is used to run the testing server which is accessible from http://localhost:8111 (note that the port number gets changed by Vagrant)