django-watchman exposes a status endpoint for your backing services like databases, caches, etc.


The full documentation is at


We’re in love with django-watchman. External monitoring is a vital part of our service offering. Using django-watchman we can introspect the infrastructure of an application via a secure URL. It’s very well written and easy to extend. We’ve recommended it to many of our clients already.

— Hany Fahim, CEO, VM Farms.


  1. Install django-watchman:

    pip install django-watchman
  2. Add watchman to your INSTALLED_APPS setting like this:

  3. Include the watchman URLconf in your project like this:

    url(r'^watchman/', include('watchman.urls')),
  4. Start the development server and visit to get a JSON response of your backing service statuses:

        "databases": [
                "default": {
                    "ok": true
        "caches": [
                "default": {
                    "ok": true
        "storage": {"ok": true}

Pycon Canada Presentation (10 minutes)


Human-friendly dashboard

Visit to get a human-friendly HTML representation of all of your watchman checks.

Token based authentication

If you want to protect the status endpoint, you can use the WATCHMAN_TOKENS setting. This is a comma-separated list of tokens. When this setting is added, you must pass one of the tokens in as the watchman-token GET parameter:


Or by setting the Authorization: WATCHMAN-TOKEN header on the request:

curl -X GET -H "Authorization: WATCHMAN-TOKEN Token=\":token\""

If you want to change the token name, you can set the WATCHMAN_TOKEN_NAME. The value of this setting will be the GET parameter that you must pass in:

WATCHMAN_TOKEN_NAME = 'custom-token-name'


DEPRECATION WARNING: WATCHMAN_TOKEN was replaced by the WATCHMAN_TOKENS setting to support multiple authentication tokens in django-watchman 0.11. It will continue to work until it’s removed in django-watchman 1.0.

Custom authentication/authorization

If you want to protect the status endpoint with a customized authentication/authorization decorator, you can add WATCHMAN_AUTH_DECORATOR to your settings. This needs to be a dotted-path to a decorator, and defaults to watchman.decorators.token_required:

WATCHMAN_AUTH_DECORATOR = 'django.contrib.admin.views.decorators.staff_member_required'

Note that the token_required decorator does not protect a view unless WATCHMAN_TOKENS is set in settings.

Custom checks

django-watchman allows you to customize the checks which are run by modifying the WATCHMAN_CHECKS setting. In


You can also import the watchman.constants to include the DEFAULT_CHECKS and PAID_CHECKS in your

from watchman import constants as watchman_constants

WATCHMAN_CHECKS = watchman_constants.DEFAULT_CHECKS + ('', )

Checks take no arguments, and must return a dict whose keys are applied to the JSON response. Use the watchman.decorators.check decorator to capture exceptions:

from watchman.decorators import check

def my_check():
    return {'x': 1}

In the absence of any checks, a 404 is thrown, which is then handled by the json_view decorator.

Run a subset of available checks

A subset of checks may be run, by passing ? in the request URL. Only the callables given in the querystring which are also in WATCHMAN_CHECKS should be run, eg:

curl -XGET

Skip specific checks

You can skip any number of checks, by passing ? in the request URL. Only the checks in WATCHMAN_CHECKS which are not in the querystring should be run, eg:

curl -XGET

Check a subset of databases or caches

If your application has a large number of databases or caches configured, watchman may open too many connections as it checks each database or cache.

You can set the WATCHMAN_DATABASES or WATCHMAN_CACHES settings in order to override the default set of databases and caches to be monitored.


If you want to simply check that your application is running and able to handle requests, you can call ping:

It will return the text pong with a 200 status code. Calling this doesn’t run any of the checks.

Bare status view

If you would like a “bare” status view (one that doesn’t report any details, just HTTP 200 if checks pass, and HTTP 500 if any checks fail), you can use the bare_status view by putting the following into

import watchman.views
# ...
url(r'^status/?$', watchman.views.bare_status),

Django management command

You can also run your checks without starting the webserver and making requests. This can be useful for testing your configuration before enabling a server, checking configuration on worker servers, etc. Run the management command like so:

python watchman

By default, successful checks will not print any output. If all checks pass successfully, the exit code will be 0. If a check fails, the exit code will be 1, and the error message including stack trace will be printed to stderr.

If you’d like to see output for successful checks as well, set verbosity to 2 or higher:

python watchman -v 2
{"storage": {"ok": true}}
{"caches": [{"default": {"ok": true}}]}
{"databases": [{"default": {"ok": true}}]}

If you’d like to run a subset of checks, use -c and a comma-separated list of python module paths:

python watchman -c watchman.checks.caches,watchman.checks.databases -v 2
{"caches": [{"default": {"ok": true}}]}
{"databases": [{"default": {"ok": true}}]}

If you’d like to skip certain checks, use -s and a comma-separated list of python module paths:

python watchman -s watchman.checks.caches,watchman.checks.databases -v 2
{"storage": {"ok": true}}

Use -h to see a full list of options:

python watchman -h

X-Watchman-Version response header

Watchman can return the version of watchman which is running to help you keep track of whether or not your sites are using an up-to-date version. This is disabled by default to prevent any unintended information leakage for websites without authentication. To enable, update the EXPOSE_WATCHMAN_VERSION setting:


Custom response code

By default, watchman will return a 500 HTTP response code, even if there’s a failing check. You can specify a different response code for failing checks using the WATCHMAN_ERROR_CODE setting:



watchman includes log messages using a logger called watchman. You can configure this by configuring the LOGGING section of your Django settings file.

Here is a simple example that would log to the console:

    'version': 1,
    'disable_existing_loggers': False,
    'handlers': {
        'console': {
            'class': 'logging.StreamHandler',
    'loggers': {
        'watchman': {
            'handlers': ['console'],
            'level': 'DEBUG',

More information is available in the Django documentation.

APM (i.e. New Relic)

If you’re using APM and watchman is being often hit for health checks (such as an ELB on AWS), you will find some stats based on averages will be affected (average transaction time, apdex, etc):

You can disable APM instrumentation for watchman by using the WATCHMAN_DISABLE_APM setting:


This currently supports the following agents:

  • New Relic

Please open an issue if there’s another APM you use which is being affected.

Available checks


For each cache in django.conf.settings.CACHES:

  • Set a test cache item
  • Get test item
  • Delete test item


For each database in django.conf.settings.DATABASES:

  • Verify connection by calling connections[database].introspection.table_names()


Send a test email to using django.core.mail.send_mail.

If you’re using a 3rd party mail provider, this check could end up costing you money, depending how aggressive you are with your monitoring. For this reason, this check is not enabled by default.

For reference, if you were using Mandrill, and hitting your watchman endpoint once per minute, this would cost you ~$5.60/month.

Custom Settings

  • WATCHMAN_EMAIL_SENDER (default: Specify an email to be the sender of the test email
  • WATCHMAN_EMAIL_RECIPIENTS (default: []): Specify a list of email addresses to send the test email
  • WATCHMAN_EMAIL_HEADERS (default: {}): Specify a dict of custom headers to be added to the test email



  • Write a test file
  • Check the test file’s size
  • Read the test file’s contents
  • Delete the test file

Default checks

By default, django-watchman will run checks against your databases (watchman.checks.databases), caches (watchman.checks.caches), and storage (

Trying it out with Docker

A sample project is available along with a Dockerfile to make it easy to try out django-watchman.


  • Docker <>


  1. Build and run the Docker image with the current local code: make run
  2. Visit watchman json endpoint in your browser:
  3. Visit watchman dashboard in your browser:
  4. Visit watchman ping in your browser:
  5. Visit watchman bare status in your browser: