Deploying Django application to AWS EC2 instance with Docker

In AWS we have several ways to deploy Django (and not Django applications) with Docker. We can use ECS or EKS clusters. If we don’t have one ECS or Kubernetes cluster up and running, maybe it can be complex. Today I want to show how deploy a Django application in production mode within a EC2 host. Let’s start.

I’m getting older to provision one host by hand I prefer to use docker. The idea is create one EC2 instance (one simple Amazon Linux AMI AWS-supported image). This host don’t have docker installed. We need to install it. When we launch one instance, when we’re configuring the instance, we can specify user data to configure an instance or run a configuration script during launch.

We only need to put this shell script to set up docker

#! /bin/bash
yum update -y
yum install -y docker
usermod -a -G docker ec2-user
curl -L`uname -s`-`uname -m` | sudo tee /usr/local/bin/docker-compose > /dev/null
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
service docker start
chkconfig docker on

rm /etc/localtime
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Madrid /etc/localtime

ln -s /usr/local/bin/docker-compose /usr/bin/docker-compose

docker swarm init

We also need to attach one IAM role to our instance. This IAM role only need to allow us the following policies:

  • AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly (because we’re going to use AWS ECR as container registry)
  • CloudWatchAgentServerPolicy (because we’re going to emit our logs to Cloudwatch)

Also we need to set up a security group to allow incoming SSH connections to port 22 and HTTP connections (in our example to port 8000)

When we launch our instance we need to provide a keypair to connect via ssh. I like to put this keypair in my .ssh/config

    User ec2-user
    Identityfile ~/.ssh/keypair-xxx.pem

To deploy our application we need to follow those steps:

  • Build our docker images
  • Push our images to a container registry (in this case ECR)
  • Deploy the application.

I’ve created a simple shell script called to perform all tasks:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

set -a
[ -f deploy.env ] && . deploy.env
set +a

echo "$(tput setaf 1)Building docker images ...$(tput sgr0)"
docker build -t ec2-web -t ec2-web:latest -t $ECR/ec2-web:latest .
docker build -t ec2-nginx -t $ECR/ec2-nginx:latest .docker/nginx

echo "$(tput setaf 1)Pusing to ECR ...$(tput sgr0)"
aws ecr get-login-password --region $REGION --profile $PROFILE |
  docker login --username AWS --password-stdin $ECR
docker push $ECR/ec2-web:latest
docker push $ECR/ec2-nginx:latest

CMD="docker stack deploy -c $DOCKER_COMPOSE_YML ec2 --with-registry-auth"
echo "$(tput setaf 1)Deploying to EC2 ($CMD)...$(tput sgr0)"
echo "$CMD"

echo "$(tput setaf 1)Building finished $(date +'%Y%m%d.%H%M%S')$(tput sgr0)"

This script assumes that there’s a deploy.env file with our personal configuration (AWS profile, the host of the EC2, instance, The ECR and things like that)



In this example I’m using docker swarm to deploy the application. I want to play also with secrets. This dummy application don’t have any sensitive information but I’ve created one "ec2.supersecret" variable

echo "super secret text" | docker secret create ec2.supersecret -

That’s the docker-compose.yml file:

version: '3.8'
    command: /bin/bash ./
      DEBUG: 'False'
      - ec2.supersecret
      replicas: 1
      driver: awslogs
        awslogs-group: /projects/ec2
        awslogs-region: eu-central-1
        awslogs-stream: app
      - static_volume:/src/staticfiles
      replicas: 1
      driver: awslogs
        awslogs-group: /projects/ec2
        awslogs-region: eu-central-1
        awslogs-stream: nginx
      - static_volume:/src/staticfiles:ro
      - 8000:80
      - web

    external: true

And that’s all. Maybe ECS or EKS are better solutions to deploy docker applications in AWS, but we also can deploy easily to one docker host in a EC2 instance that it can be ready within a couple of minutes.

Source code in my github


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