My django project structure looks like this.(only showing files relevant to this problem)

  - prj/
  - app/
    - static/
      - js/
        - app.js
  - static/
    - js/
      - vue.js
    - css/
      - vue.css

As you can see, there are two static dirs that has to be served: ‘prj/app/static/and 'prj/static.

When serving this project from the root of a domain such as ‘localhost:8000’, the following configuration for static files in prj/prj/ worked fine.

# prj/prj/

BASE_DIR = os.path.dirname(os.path.dirname(os.path.abspath(__file__)))

STATIC_URL = '/static/'

    os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static'),

here is the prj/prj/

from django.contrib import admin
from django.urls import path, include

urlpatterns = [
    path('', include("app.urls"))

nothing special has been done to this file.

However, this setting will not work when the django project is served from a subpath. For example, http://localhost/somepath. This sort of situation may arise when an nginx is running on localhost:80, django project running on localhost:6000 and nginx is redirecting http://localhost/somepath to localhost:6000.

In this case, the settings above will not work even when STATIC_URL is changed to /somepath/static/. The reason is described in this link. The way I understood it, the new STATIC_URL will be reflected in {% static 'js/app.js'%} kind of tags in template html files. But it will not be reflected properly inside django’s url resolving(or ‘routing’) phase. Test it out and you will notice that the default html will be requesting for static files with proper address(e.g. http://localhost/somepath/static/vue.js) but it will receive a 404, meaning that the django server failed to provide the vue.js file.

As I said, this is due to django not able to recognize the change made in STATIC_URL and failing to event comprehend that it has to fetch static files.


Since the cause is due to routing problems, the solution can be solved by manually handling the routing. There are two steps required to solve this.

Gather all static files into one directory

First specify the STATIC_ROOT variable in prj/prj/ For this example, gathered_static dirname will be used.

# prj/prj/

STATIC_ROOT =os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "gathered_static")

then, gather all static files into one directory using the following command:

$ python collectstatic

this will create gathered_static in project root with all the static files copied. This means that prj/app/static/js/app.js and prj/static/js/vue.js prj/static/css/vue.css are all copied in gathered_static/ dir. For official docs on STATIC_ROOT, check out this link.

add url pattern

Now django needs to direct all subpath to STATIC_URL to gathered_static/ dir. This can be done by changing prj/prj/ like this:

# prj/prj/

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

gathered_static_path = os.path.join(settings.BASE_DIR, settings.STATIC_ROOT)

urlpatterns = [
    path('', include("main.urls"))
] + static('static/', document_root=gathered_static_path)

One url pattern has been added using static function
gathered_static_path will be pointing to the absolute path of gathered_static. One thing to note is that the added pattern is using static/ and not somepath/static. I think this is because the somepath part is used up by nginx which leaves static/ part to be passed to django server. Of course, this behavior maybe modified with a different nginx setting but this post will not covered that area.


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