Create REST API in Python with Django, using the Django REST Framework and Azure SQL

Abhiman Tiwari

Django is a Python-based open-source web framework. It is a popular and well-liked web framework among developers all around the world. But wouldn’t it be amazing to build a website with Django while also taking advantage of Azure SQL database’s security, performance, high availability, and other great capabilities?

In this article, we will create a REST API in Python with Django, using the Django REST Framework and Azure SQL database that allows you to perform CRUD operations. Along the way, I will also show you how you can deploy your Django-based app on Azure app service.


mssql-django v1.1 is used to establish database connectivity with Azure SQL. mssql-django is a fork of django-mssql-backend. This driver provides an enterprise database connectivity option for the Django Web Framework, with support for Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. mssql-django supports Django 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 and 4.0.

Download the sample code

Clone this repository:

git clone

Alternatively, you can clone the code using Visual Studio Code as well.

  • Open the folder location where you want to clone the code
  • In Visual Studio Code, select Source Control > … > Clone (or select View, Command Palette and enter Git:Clone), paste the Git repository URL, and then select Enter</>.

Once you have the code downloaded to your local computer. You should see folder structure as below:

 ┣ customerapi
 ┃ ┣ migrations
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┗
 ┣ django-sql-project
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┣
 ┃ ┗
 ┗ requirements.txt

Create Azure SQL Database

If you don’t have an Azure SQL server already, you can create one (no additional costs for a server) by running the following AZ CLI command (via WSL, or Linux or Azure Cloud Shell):

Create a resource group if you don’t have one already created:

az group create -l <location> -n <MyResourceGroup>

Create the Database Server:

az sql server create -n <server-name> -l <location> --admin-user <admin-user> --admin-password <admin-password> -g <resource-group>

Note: Make sure to note the database name, username and password somewhere safe.

Create a new Azure SQL database:

az sql db create -g <resource-group> -s <server-name> -n my-db --service-objective GP_Gen5_2

Make sure you have the firewall configured to allow your machine to access Azure SQL:

az sql server firewall-rule create --resource-group <resource-group> --server <server-name> --name AllowMyClientIP_1 --start-ip-address <your_public_ip> --end-ip-address <your_public_ip>

You can get your public IP here or through other ways, for example:

Setup the local environment

Make sure you have Python => 3.8.10 installed on your machine.

To confirm you can run python or python3 on terminal.

python --version


All the commands shown here are for Windows. If you are working on any other OS/ environment e.g., Linux, MAC etc. change these commands accordingly.

Make sure you have venv installed and create a new virtual environment in the folder where you have cloned the repository:

python3 -m venv env


In the above command the second parameter env is the location to create virtual environment. venv will create a virtual Python installation in the env folder. You should exclude your virtual environment directory from your version control system using .gitignore or similar.

Before you start installing or using Django packages in your virtual environment, you’ll need to activate it, for example on Windows:



You can confirm, you’re in the virtual environment by checking the location of your Python interpreter. It should be in the env directory. Run the command 'where python' to double check that. As long as your virtual environment is activated, pip will install packages into that specific environment, and you’ll be able to import and use packages in your Python application.

Install the dependencies

Make sure virtual environment is active and you are into your <working_folder>\azure-sql-db-django.


You can install all the required packages in one go by running the below command and directly move to Database ConnectionString Configuration section or may follow the instructions to execute them one by one:

pip install -r .\requirements.txt

Install Django:

pip install django

Also, install Django REST framework for REST API:

pip install djangorestframework

You should also install django-cors-headers. It’s a Django application for handling the server headers required for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS).

pip install django-cors-headers


Adding CORS headers allows your resources to be accessed on other domains. It’s important you understand the implications before adding the headers since you could be unintentionally opening up your site’s private data to others.

Configure Azure SQL connectivity with Django App


  • pyodbc 3.0 or newer
  • Microsoft SQL Server ODBC driver


  • Install ODBC driver: Instructions

  • Install pyodbc:

    pip install pyodbc
  • Install mssql-django:

    pip install mssql-django


Configure the Database ConnectionString in the file used by your Django project to use mssql and the related ODBC driver.

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'mssql',
        'PORT': '1433',
        'OPTIONS': {
                'driver': 'ODBC Driver 17 for SQL Server',

To connect Azure SQL DB using MSI (Managed Service Identity), you can have settings as below:

    'default': {
         'ENGINE': 'mssql',
         'Trusted_Connection': 'no', 
         'OPTIONS': { 
             'driver': 'ODBC Driver 17 for SQL Server', 
             'extra_params': "Authentication=ActiveDirectoryMsi;Encrypt=yes;TrustServerCertificate=no" }

Please note that for this sample we decided to avoid having secrets in the file. All sensitive details will be loaded from environment variables. For development purposes you can create an .env file, using the provided .env.sample, to provide database connection info.


mssql-django doesn’t support using time zones yet, so the recommendation is to ensure the USE_TZ option is set to False.

DATABASES = { ... }

# set this to False if the backend does not support using time zones

USE_TZ = False

Run the migrations command to propagate changes you made to your models (creating a class, adding a field, deleting a model, etc.) into your database schema.

python makemigrations customerapi

python migrate customerapi

Once migration is done successfully, you’ll see that database objects are created in your database. You can connect to your database and verify. Quickstart available here: Quickstart: Use Azure Data Studio to connect and query Azure SQL database

Run sample locally

Execute the below command, to start the development web server on the local machine. By default, the server runs on port 8000 on the IP address You can pass in an IP address and port number explicitly.

Initialize Django – this is needed only the first time

python migrate

python createsuperuser

and then run the server

python runserver

Once the Django application is running, you’ll see something like:

System check identified no issues (0 silenced).
February 04, 2022 - 14:32:15
Django version 4.0.2, using settings 'django-sql-project.settings'
Starting development server at
Quit the server with CTRL-BREAK.

Using a REST Client (like InsomniaPostman, or curl), you can now call your API, for example:

curl -X GET

And you’ll get a response something like (based on available data in tables):

    {"CustomerId": 1, "CustomerName": "Keith"},{"CustomerId": 2, "CustomerName": "Janet"},{"CustomerId": 4, "CustomerName": "Cortana"},{"CustomerId": 5, "CustomerName": "Michael"},{"CustomerId": 7, "CustomerName": "David"},{"CustomerId": 8, "CustomerName": "Mike"}

Check out the sample to test all the CRUD operations.

Deploy your application code to Azure App Service

Azure App service supports multiple methods to deploy your application code to Azure including support for GitHub Actions and all major CI/CD tools. This article focuses on how to deploy your code from your local workstation to Azure.


If you don’t have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

This article requires that you’re running the Azure CLI version 2.0 or later locally. To see the version installed, run the az --version command. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install Azure CLI.

You’ll need to login to your account using the az login command.

az login

If you have multiple subscriptions, choose the appropriate subscription in which the resource should be created. Select the specific subscription ID under your account using az account set command. Substitute the subscription ID property from the az login output for your subscription into the subscription ID placeholder.

az account set --subscription <subscription id>

Refer this article, to know more about configuring a Linux Python app for Azure app Service.

Configure static files

  • In your settings file, define STATIC_URL and STATIC_ROOT, for example:
# Static files (CSS, JavaScript, Images)

STATIC_URL = '/static/'
STATIC_ROOT = 'static'
  • Run the python collectstatic to gather static files into a directory at STATIC_ROOT path for the admin site:
python collectstatic

Create the App Service webapp and deploy code from a local workspace

In the terminal, make sure you’re in the repository root (<working_folder>\azure-sql-db-django) that contains the app code.

Run the below az webapp commands:

az webapp up create a webapp and deploy code from a local workspace to the app. Python apps are created as Linux apps by default.

# Create a web app and deploy the code
az webapp up -g <MyResourceGroup> -l <location> -p <azure-sql-db-django-plan> --sku B1 -n <azure-sql-db-django-api> -r 'PYTHON:3.9'

# Configure database information as environment variables
az webapp config appsettings set --settings DB_SERVER="<azure-sql-server-name>" DB_NAME="<db-name>" DB_USER="<db-user-id>" DB_PASSWORD="<db-password>"
  • For the --resource-group -g, you can use the same resource group you created for the Database in the previous section.
  • For the --location -l argument, use the same location as you did for the database in the previous section.
  • Create the App Service plan azure-sql-db-django-plan in the Basic pricing tier (B1), if it doesn’t exist. –plan and –sku are optional.
  • For the --runtime -r, canonicalize runtime in the format of Framework|Version, e.g. “PYTHON|3.9”. Allowed delimiters: “|” or “:”. Use az webapp list-runtimes --linux --output table for available list.
  • The app code expects to find database information in a number of environment variables. To set environment variables in App Service, you create “app settings” with the az webapp config appsettings set command.


App Service detects a Django project by looking for a file in each subfolder, which startproject creates by default. When App Service finds that file, it loads the Django web app. For more information, see Configure built-in Python image.

Browse to the app running on Azure App Service

The Python Django sample code is running a Linux container in App Service using a built-in image.

Browse to the deployed application in your web browser at the URL https://<app-name> or make a call to the API https://<app-name> using any other REST clients (like InsomniaPostman, or curl).

Congratulations! You’re running a Python Django app in Azure App Service for Linux, with Azure SQL database.


You can use mssql-django as a backend for your existing Django 4.0 project with no major change if that’s already configured for MS SQL Server.

If you encounter any issues or have any feedback about mssql-django, head over to our mssql-django project repository and submit an issue.


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