startapp with to create app in another directory

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My Django project structure is:


How do I run python startapp app_name so that my newly created apps are within the /server directory? I tried running startapp appname within the server directory to create the app but I would end up with this error:

$ ./ runserver
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "./", line 10, in <module>
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 351, in execute_from_command_line
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 343, in execute
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 177, in fetch_command
    commands = get_commands()
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/utils/", line 101, in wrapper
    result = user_function(*args, **kwds)
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 72, in get_commands
    for app_config in reversed(list(apps.get_app_configs())):
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/apps/", line 137, in get_app_configs
  File "/Users/bli1/Development/Django/CL/cherngloong/cherngloong/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/apps/", line 124, in check_apps_ready
    raise AppRegistryNotReady("Apps aren't loaded yet.")
django.core.exceptions.AppRegistryNotReady: Apps aren't loaded yet.

You can specify the path to /server/appname directory after appname as the destination i.e. where the Django app directory structure will be created.

From the startapp docs:

startapp <app_label> [destination] # startapp command usage 

Creates a Django app directory structure for the given app name in the
current directory or the given destination.

If only the app name is given, the app directory will be created in
the current working directory.

If the optional destination is provided, Django will use that existing
directory rather than creating a new one

So, you can specify the path to your /server/appname directory as the destination value. startapp appname [destination] # specify destination

What you need to do?

1. You need to first create a directory appname inside /server.

mkdir /server/appname # create directory from root level

2. Then, run the startapp command to create the app. startapp appname ./server/appname

I always have my app in an internal folder (the same that Django creates, with the name of the project) following the design of Two Scoops of Django that is similar to what you want to do. When you want to create a new app, you can use, as the previous answer says,

python ../ startapp my_new_app

from within the folder in which you want to create the app. Another thing, even easier that is what I do, is that you can run

django-admin startapp my_new_app

from this inner folder, of apps and it will work.

If you are already in the server directory, then you can run

python ../ startapp appname

And appname will be created in the server directory instead of in the project root.

To Create a New App in Django project.


  • Go to your folder using Terminal, where you want to create app


  • Type the below command in terminal,
django-admin startapp <new_app_name>

Now, you can check, new app created with the given name.

The simplest way I found is to go inside the server folder and create an file:


Then, create any app you want:

django-admin startapp {{APP NAME}}

If you started the project using cookiecutter-django, then steps are given in the link below.

The difference from the accepted answer and other answers I see here is that you need to change the name of the app in as an extra step.

To copy paste that here:

1 - create the <name-of-the-app> app with python startapp
2 - move <name-of-the-app> directory to <project_slug> directory
3 - edit <project_slug>/<name-of-the-app>/ and
change name = "<name-of-the-app>" to name = "<project_slug>.<name-of-the-app>"
4 - add "<project_slug>.<name-of-the-app>.apps.<NameOfTheAppConfigClass>", on your LOCAL_APPS on config/settings/

Here <project_slug> would be your “server” directory.

Use absolute path for the manage file work well for me, an example to run from the destination folder

python /home/user/project_name/ startupapp app_name

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