Django Middleware: Tips, Tricks and Examples

What is Django Middlewares?

Django middlewares are a powerful tool for modifying and processing requests and responses in a Django application. They are similar to a pipeline, where each middleware component can perform a specific task, such as authentication or logging, before passing the request on to the next component in the pipeline.

Custom Django Middleware

Creating custom middleware in Django is simple. You need to create a new Python module, and then define a class with the following methods:

  • __init__(self, get_response): This is where you can initialize any variables or dependencies that your middleware will need.
  • process_request(self, request): This method is called before the view function is executed. You can use this method to modify the request or to return a response before the view function is called.
  • process_view(self, request, view_func, view_args, view_kwargs): This method is called after the request is processed by the process_request method and before the view function is called.
  • process_response(self, request, response): This method is called after the view function is executed and the response is returned. You can use this method to modify the response or to perform any cleanup tasks.

A simple example of creating a custom middleware that logs the time taken for a request to be processed:

from datetime import datetime

class TimingMiddleware:
    def __init__(self, get_response):
        self.get_response = get_response

    def process_request(self, request):
        request.start_time =

    def process_response(self, request, response):
        end_time =
        print(f"Time taken for request: {end_time - request.start_time}")
        return response

Advance use of middleware

An advanced use of middleware is using it to implement a rate limiter for an API. The middleware will check the number of requests made by the user within a given time frame, and if it exceeds the limit, it will return a 429 status code. This way you can handle the rate limiting functionality in a central place, making it easy to apply the same logic to multiple views or even across multiple applications.

Here’s an example of a rate limiter middleware that you can use in your Django application:

from datetime import timedelta
from django.utils import timezone
from django.core.cache import cache
from django.http import JsonResponse

class RateLimiterMiddleware:
    def __init__(self, get_response):
        self.get_response = get_response

    def process_request(self, request):
        user_ip = request.META['REMOTE_ADDR']
        key = f"rate_limit:{user_ip}"
        now =
        last_request_time = cache.get(key)

        if last_request_time is not None:
            if (now - last_request_time).seconds < 60:
                return JsonResponse({"error": "Too many requests, please try again later."}, status=429)

        cache.set(key, now, 60)  # expire the cache key after 60 seconds

To use this rate limiter middleware, you need to add it to the MIDDLEWARE setting in your Django settings file and configure the rate limit settings as per your requirements.



RATE_LIMIT = 100  # requests per minute

You can also add this middleware only to specific views or viewsets by using the middleware_classes attribute on the view or viewsets.

class MyView(View):
    middleware_classes = (RateLimiterMiddleware, )

This middleware uses Django’s caching framework to store the time of the last request made by a user, identified by their IP address. When a request is made, the middleware checks if the user has made a request within the last 60 seconds. If they have, the middleware returns a 429 status code, indicating that the user has exceeded the rate limit. Otherwise, it updates the cache with the current time and allows the request to continue.

You can configure the rate limit by changing the time duration and the time for which the cache key should expire.

Middleware: Tips & Tricks

  1. Keep it simple: Middlewares can quickly become complex if you try to do too much in one place. It’s best to keep your middlewares simple and focused on a specific task.

  2. Be mindful of the order: The order in which middlewares are applied can be important. Make sure that you have the right middlewares in the right order to achieve the desired effect.

  3. Use the middleware_classes attribute: You can use the middleware_classes attribute on a view or viewsets to apply middlewares only to specific views or viewsets, rather than globally.

  4. Use caching: If your middleware performs calculations or queries that can be cached, consider using Django’s caching framework to improve performance.

  5. Test your middleware: Make sure to test your middleware thoroughly to ensure that it is working as expected and doesn’t introduce any bugs or performance issues.

  6. Be aware of security implications: Some middlewares can introduce security risks if not implemented correctly, so be aware of the potential security implications of your middleware.

  7. Use third-party packages: There are many third-party packages available that provide useful middleware functionality, such as Django’s built-in middleware classes and other packages like Django-cors-headers, Django-ratelimit, Django-throttle.

Advantages of middlewares are:

  • They allow you to separate concerns and keep your code organized by isolating specific functionality in separate middleware components.
  • They are reusable and can be used across multiple views and applications.
  • They allow you to add or remove functionality to your application without modifying the views or models.

Disadvantages of middlewares are:

  • They can add complexity and make it harder to understand the flow of a request through your application.
  • If a middleware component raises an exception, it can be difficult to debug and understand where the exception occurred.
  • If a middleware component performs a task that takes a long time, it can slow down the overall performance of your application.


Django middlewares are a powerful tool for modifying and processing requests and responses in a Django application. They are easy to create and customize, and can be used to separate concerns, add or remove functionality, and even implement advanced features like rate limiting. However, it is important to be mindful of the potential complexity and performance implications when using middlewares.

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