How to Override Django Admin Site Templates

What will you learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will delve into the process of customizing the appearance of your Django admin site by overriding its default templates. By following this tutorial, you will gain the ability to make your admin interface stand out with a unique and personalized design.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

When utilizing the Django admin site, there may arise situations where the default visual presentation does not align with your project’s specific requirements or branding guidelines. In such cases, you might seek to alter the layout, tweak styles, or introduce new functionalities that are not readily available out of the box. Thankfully, Django offers a flexible solution that allows for template overriding without directly modifying Django’s internal code.

By creating custom template files within your project that mirror the structure and paths of those in Django’s admin app, you can seamlessly customize nearly every aspect of the admin site’s appearance. This approach ensures that your modifications take precedence over the default templates while maintaining a clear separation between your customizations and Django�s core functionality. This separation facilitates smoother updates and maintenance processes in the future.


# configuration

        'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
        'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],  # Ensure correct setup

# Copyright PHD
  1. Create a directory structure within your project that mirrors django.contrib.admin.templates in your templates folder.
  2. Copy an existing admin template you wish to modify into this directory.
  3. Implement your changes within this duplicated file as needed.

For example, if you intend to override admin/base_site.html, establish a path within your project like your_project/templates/admin/base_site.html and customize it accordingly.


By configuring a custom template directory in, Django is directed to search for templates in the specified location before resorting to its default internal locations, including those under django.contrib.admin. When replicating the relative path of an administrative template (e.g., admin/base_site.html) in our custom templates directory (your_project/templates/), Django will prioritize using our version during rendering instead of its built-in one.

This method offers remarkable flexibility, enabling modifications ranging from basic color schemes and fonts to intricate page layouts while ensuring compatibility with future Python and PostgreSQL versions since no direct alterations are made on them but rather on their web interface presentation managed by Python-based frameworks like django-admin-interface among others.

    1. How do I determine which template needs overriding? To identify the necessary templates for customization, refer to the source code of django.contrib.admin or consult online resources/documentation detailing template correspondences with various parts of the admin interface.

    2. Can I extend existing templates instead of fully replacing them? Certainly! Utilize {% extends “original_template_name.html” %} at the beginning of your customized template file and incorporate or override blocks as required.

    3. Will my modifications be lost upon updating Django? No, alterations made outside Django�s core libraries/packages remain intact through updates unless intentionally overwritten by developers manually or via automated processes.

    4. Is it feasible to include static files in overridden templates? Absolutely! Similar to handling static files in other parts of a Django project, include {% load static %} at the top of your customized theme file and reference CSS/JS/image assets using {% static “path/to/asset” %} notation throughout HTML structures.

    5. **What should I do if my overridden template fails to display? Ensure that �DIRS� under TEMPLATES setting accurately points towards the correct location housing customized themes; clearing cache can also aid particularly during extended development server usage for testing/debugging purposes.


Customizing Django Admin Site Templates empowers you with significant flexibility to enhance both visual appeal and functionality while elevating user experience standards. By embracing these practices, you establish a foundation for sustainable development methodologies that promote innovation and creativity within an ever-evolving tech landscape.

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