Proper way to handle static files and templates for Django on Heroku

I'm moving over my django app to Heroku, and I was wondering what the proper way to handle static files is. Do I just push them via git to Heroku? Or should I be storing them on SW3 or something? Also, what should the STATIC_ROOT and such be?



You should store them externally on a service like S3 - while Heroku can serve static files, it's not designed to.

Here's a good primer on getting started with S3:

Use django-storages to collect static files to your S3 bucket and serve them accordingly.

These are the necessary settings you'll need to have for S3:

DEFAULT_FILE_STORAGE = 'storages.backends.s3boto.S3BotoStorage'
STATICFILES_STORAGE = 'storages.backends.s3boto.S3BotoStorage'

AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID = 'access-id'
AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY = 'secret-key'
AWS_PRELOAD_METADATA = True # necessary to fix collectstatic command to only upload changed files instead of all files

MEDIA_ROOT and STATIC_ROOT are superceded by DEFAULT_FILE_STORAGE and STATICFILES_STORAGE respectively and hence not needed. You will, however, want to set MEDIA_URL and STATIC_URL to something like


If you want to store your static and media files in different subfolders, this is a great solution:

You'll want to set MEDIA_URL and STATIC_URL to the respective new folders, e.g.


You'll also want to manually execute collectstatic and disable Heroku's automatic collectstatic as per, as Heroku's collectstatic will reupload every static file to S3 every time you push even if the files haven't been modified, adding a hefty transfer and request load to S3 and slowing down your pushes.

Then just continue using {{ STATIC_URL }} in your templates like usual and you should be set!

<link href='{{ STATIC_URL }}css/styles.css' type='text/css' rel='stylesheet'>

If you want to start off simple and choose not to immediately take that route though, you can do the quick hack in your urls configuration by following Cesar's mentioned post at Heroku - Handling static files in Django app, though there'll be a significant decrease in app performance.

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