Nine CMS is a Django app to manage content. Users can create content and publish it to paths.

Latest PyPI version Number of PyPI downloads per month

Last stable version tested with Python 3.4 / Django 1.9.

Admin screenshot:

Detailed documentation soon to be published.


It is the author's opinion that heavyweight content management systems are not so important to Django, as much as established CMS are important to other languages such as PHP. Django can be very easily used to build exotic web applications in very short time, therefore too often Django does not need another heavyweight CMS. Nine CMS is intended to provide a common denominator for simple content when building a Django app or for small sites.

To sum up:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to start up AND customize a project
  • Inspired by Drupal node model architecture
  • Obviously uses the Django web framework on Python
  • Quality: hate bugs; also test coverage is 100%


  • Node modeling inspired by Drupal nodes featuring:
    • Dynamic content (obviously) rendered as nodes
    • Revisioning system
    • Internationalisation (i18n) right from the beginning
    • URL aliases that may be automatically generated based on provided patterns
    • Page types that may be used in different templates or views (below)
    • Per page type permissions
    • Sanitize HTML
  • Content blocks
  • Menus
  • Media management
    • Images, videos, files
    • Image styles
  • Views (requires decoupled signals providing context)
  • Taxonomy (terms)
  • Contact form
  • Admin interface with dashboard
  • Utilities
    • Character transliteration
    • Custom tags
    • Basic search functionality
  • Bootstrap


The following are needed:

  • Python (3.4+)
  • Django (1.7+, 1.9 recommended): Web framework
  • django-guardian (1.4+): provide per-page-type permissions
  • django-mptt (0.8+): provide trees for tags and menus
  • bleach (1.4+): bleach-sanitize user HTML
  • Pillow (3+): create different sizes for user images
  • pytz (2015+): handle user time zones

The following packages are optional/recommended:

  • django-admin-bootstrapped (2.5+): provide a nicer admin interface experience
  • django-admin-bootstrapped-plus: improve the admin interface to use in 9cms
  • django-bootstrap3: improve the admin fields
  • django-debug-toolbar: for obvious reasons
  • mysqlclient: or any other db connector
  • newrelic: or any other monitoring tool
  • python3-memcached: for memory caching

Django 1.9 notices:

  • Getting RemovedInDjango110Warning: render() must be called with a dict, not a Context. to a couple of places. Many other apps get similar warnings. Looking for solution without offending Django <1.9.

New project guide

This is a full guide to create a new project. Soon a Quick Guide will be added.

There is also a project that can be used as an Django 9cms web site boilerplate.

  1. Create a new project

    Create a new project, if not existing, and optionally (as a reminder):

    • Create new virtualenv
    • Initialize git and initial commit
  2. Dependencies

    • Add the following to the requirements.txt file:

    • And optionally:

    • Then run:

      $ pip install -r requirements.txt
    • Download CKEditor (optionally) for rich text fields in admin:

      • Download from
      • Extract files under static/ninecms/ckeditor so that ckeditor.js is in this directory
      • A recommended build-config.js file is bundled in the above directory
      • Note: the django-ckeditor package requires a similar action too, so it is not used.
  3. Settings

    All relevant settings sample also exist in ninecms/ as comment. From the code samples below remove any settings refer to optional packages that are not installed as above.

    • INSTALLED_APPS setting:

          # ...
    • Middleware:

    • Templates

      Add 'debug': True only if planning to have a separate live settings file for your project:

      TEMPLATES = [
              'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
              'DIRS': [
                  os.path.join(BASE_DIR,  'templates'),
              'APP_DIRS': True,
              'OPTIONS': {
                  'context_processors': [
                  'debug': True,
    • Languages:

      LANGUAGE_CODE = 'en'  # or whatever
      LANGUAGES = (
          ('en', 'English'),
          # ('el', 'Greek'),
          # ...
      TIME_ZONE = 'Europe/Athens'  # or whatever
      USE_I18N = True
      USE_L10N = True
      USE_TZ = True
    • Static and Media:

          os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "static"),
      MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'media')
      MEDIA_URL = '/media/'
    • Error reporting:

      ADMINS = (
          ("Webmaster", "[email protected]"),
      MANAGERS = (
          ("Webmaster", "[email protected]"),
      EMAIL_HOST = ''
      EMAIL_HOST_USER = '[email protected]'
      EMAIL_USE_SSL = True
      EMAIL_PORT = 465
      EMAIL_SUBJECT_PREFIX = '[9cms] '
      SERVER_EMAIL = 'do-not-r[email protected]'
      DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL = '[email protected]'
    • Security:

      Replace myapp:

      LOGIN_URL = '/admin/login/'
      SESSION_COOKIE_NAME = 'myapp_sessionid'
    • Caches:

      CACHES = {
          'default': {
              'BACKEND': 'django.core.cache.backends.dummy.DummyCache',
      CACHE_MIDDLEWARE_SECONDS = 3 * 60 * 60  # or whatever
    • Guardian:

          'django.contrib.auth.backends.ModelBackend',  # this is default
    • Django admin:

      DAB_FIELD_RENDERER = 'django_admin_bootstrapped.renderers.BootstrapFieldRenderer'
      from django.contrib import messages
      MESSAGE_TAGS = {
          messages.SUCCESS: 'alert-success success',
          messages.WARNING: 'alert-warning warning',
          messages.ERROR: 'alert-danger error'
    • CMS settings:

      from ninecms.settings import *
      SITE_NAME = "..."
      SITE_AUTHOR = "..."
      SITE_KEYWORDS = "..."
      I18N_URLS = True  # False
    • Optional settings for live (separate file eg

      from myapp.settings import *
      DEBUG = False
          # ...
      TEMPLATES = [
              'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
              'DIRS': [
                  os.path.join(BASE_DIR,  'templates'),
              'APP_DIRS': True,
              'OPTIONS': {
                  'context_processors': [
      # STATIC_ROOT = ...
      CACHES = {
          'default': {
              'BACKEND': 'django.core.cache.backends.memcached.MemcachedCache',
              'LOCATION': '',
              'TIMEOUT': 3 * 60 * 60,  # or whatever
              'KEY_PREFIX': 'myapp_',
              'VERSION': 1,
  4. Create empty folders in project root:

  5. Run ./ migrate to create the models.

  6. Url configuration

    • Include the URL configurations for admin, i18n and 9cms
    • Make sure 9cms URL conf is the last line so the dynamic router catches all URLs.
    • Include robots.txt
    • Include static files for local server

    URL Example:

    from django.conf import settings
    from django.conf.urls import include, url
    from django.conf.urls.i18n import i18n_patterns
    from django.conf.urls.static import static
    from django.contrib import admin
    from django.views.generic import TemplateView
    urlpatterns = [
        url(r'^admin/', include(,
        url(r'^i18n/', include('django.conf.urls.i18n')),
        url(r'^robots\.txt/$', TemplateView.as_view(template_name='ninecms/robots.txt', content_type='text/plain')),
    # static files (images, css, javascript, etc.)
    if settings.DEBUG:
        urlpatterns += static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)  # pragma: no cover
    # Last: all remaining pass to CMS
    if settings.I18N_URLS:  # pragma: nocover
        urlpatterns += i18n_patterns(
            url(r'^', include('ninecms.urls', namespace='ninecms')),
    else:  # pragma: nocover
        urlpatterns += [
            url(r'^', include('ninecms.urls', namespace='ninecms')),
  7. Start the development server and visit

    You'll need the Admin app enabled and a superuser with python createsuperuser.

  8. Visit to view content.

  9. Optionally run test with python test --settings=myapp.settings_test ninecms.

From here on common tasks include:

  • Theming (see below)
  • Add page types
  • Add content
  • Add menus
  • Add blocks


Theming is easy and straightforward. Besides from developing a custom theme, it is easy to use any ready-made HTML theme from the myriads available on the web.

(Changes in v0.6.0)

There is a base.html which gets extended by an index.html. The base declares the doc type (HTML5), loads scripts, all defined in blocks.

The index file is the one that most probably needs to be overridden. You can check the base to see where each of the following blocks appears. These are defined by order of appearance:

  • meta: define any custom keywords in . Some defaults are generated based on settings and the node (page) presented.
  • head: define any additional elements at the bottom of the . Here add favicon and additional stylesheets / head scripts.
  • body_attrs: define any additional attributes to be appended to . Default is class only.
  • body_top: a small link to the top of the page. This is used by a small javascript to display by default a small fixed top link at the right bottom of the page, after having scrolled down. If it is not overridden, then you might need to add a static/ninecms/images/toplink.png background or custom css for #toplink.
  • body_loader: a convenient page loader (splash screen) is defined. Override and leave blank if not suitable.
  • content: this is the main content block that needs to be overridden in index.
  • body_bottom: a small non-visible link at the bottom of the page.
  • body_scripts: define any additional content at the bottom of the . Here add additional scripts to be loaded in the end of the document.

The index file is the default template that is used, but it can be extended to be used in page types (see theme suggestions below).

The templates in the ninecms/templates folder are examples of how to render specific contexts of blocks and can be used either with {% include %} or can be copied into the custom templates directly.

Theme suggestions

Each page type can have its own template. Ninecms chooses template for the page type based in the template filename, in the following order:

  • page_[]
  • []
  • index.html

where [] is the machine name of the page type, eg. if the page type name is 'Basic Page' then this will be basic_page.

It is good to extend the template from index and use Django blocks at will.

Page types

Page types are central to the organisation of a CMS content. In NineCMS, apart from logically organising content to relevant page types, which can be done also with taxonomy terms, each page type can have a different page layout, with different blocks.

Page types do not feature custom fields and thus cannot be used as the separation of entity-like models, as eg. in Drupal. There is no intention to add such a feature as Django models can be very easily be added in code and extend the CMS functionality.

URL aliases

Each content type can have a pre-specified default url alias for the nodes under it. If a node of that page type does not have a url alias specified, the default will be used.

The following replacement tokens can be used:

  • [node:id]: The id of the node.
  • [node:title]: The transliterated slugified title of the node.
  • [node:created:format]: The date of node creation.
  • [node:changed:format]: The date of last node update.
  • Format can be any PHP date format specifier in form (specifier)(separator)(specifier)(separator)(specifier), eg d-m-Y.

Block types

The following block types are supported:

  • static: Static content provided by linking to a node. Unlike from Drupal concept of block that defines a text fields anyway.
  • menu: Render a menu or submenu by linking to a menu item.
  • signal: Call a site-specific custom view render (see Views below).
  • language: Render a language switch menu.
  • user-menu: Render a user menu with login/logout or register links.
  • login: Render a login form.
  • search: Render a search form.
  • search-results: Render search results. Simple search functionality. For advanced search a proper package needs to be used. For a search results page add a new page type and implement the block. Case insensitive search cannot be done in Sqlite (see also Important points below).
  • contact: Render a contact form.


Add a new Django app in your project with to listen to the corresponding signal that is declared with a new content block in admin. Look at the ninecms/ file on how to code the signals.

Permissions summary

This is a summary of all applicable permissions:

  • Django admin:
    • User: is staff (access to admin)
    • User: is superuser (with caution)
      • unconditional access everywhere
      • additional fields for nodes
      • dashboard
      • utilities on dashboard
    • User: add, change, delete
    • Group: add, change, delete
    • Permission: add, change, delete
  • Guardian:
    • User-object permissions: add, change, delete
    • Group-object permissions: add, change, delete
  • 9cms:
    • Per model permissions: add, change, delete
    • Node: can use full HTML
    • Node: view unpublished
    • Per content type group permissions (provided from Guardian, accessible through 'page types' change-list admin page)

Example of configuration of an editor group perms:

  • Node: view unpublished
  • Node: add
  • Node: change
  • Image: add, change, delete
  • Page type specific permissions: add, change

Front-end libraries

(Changes in v0.6.0)

Front-end package management is an important aspect of any site. In NineCMS, Libraries had been a minor convenience feature to integrate front-end packages. It has been removed because there are already several existing possibilities than can be easily used, most of which (even Django ones) are based on node.js.

The npm package gulpfile-ninecms <>_ based on gulp has been published separately for this reason.

Image styles

NineCMS allows to display images using specific styles. Some predefined styles can be found in ninecms/ These can be extended or replaced using the IMAGE_STYLES in the project's This is a dictionary where the index is the defined style name and its value is a dictionary with indexes type and value. For example:

IMAGE_STYLES.update({'my_style': {'type': 'thumbnail', 'size': (120, 100)}})

Possible types can be:

  • thumbnail: Scales an image to the smallest provided dimension.
  • thumbnail-upscale: Scales an image to the provided dimensions, allowing upscale.
  • thumbnail-crop: Crops an image to the ratio of the provided dimensions and the scales it.

The in order to use an image style in a template (eg for a node context:

NineCMS uses the `Imagemagick`_ library for this matter. In order to use image styles it has to be installed on the server. When an image style for a particular image is requested for the first time, NineCMS uses Imagemagick to create a new file in a new directory in the initial file path with the name of the style. To refresh this file cache simply remove the directory with the style name. Be careful not to remove the original file.

Pillow has not been used becaue at that time it had multiple issues with Python3. If a large memcache or redis is available, `sorl-thumbnail`_ may be a better solution for high traffic web sites.

Important points

  • If i18n urls: menu items for internal pages should always have language [v0.3.1a]
  • Search page requires a search results block in page type and 'search' alias, requires not Sqlite [v0.4.4b]
  • Add LANGUAGES in settings_test when I18N_URLS [v0.4.7b]


Any contribution to the project is highly appreciated and the best will be done to respond to it.

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