2. Installation

Axes is easy to install from the PyPI package:

$ pip install django-axes[ipware]  # use django-ipware for resolving client IP addresses OR
$ pip install django-axes          # implement and configure custom AXES_CLIENT_IP_CALLABLE

After installing the package, the project settings need to be configured.

1. Add axes to your INSTALLED_APPS:


    # Axes app can be in any position in the INSTALLED_APPS list.

2. Add axes.backends.AxesStandaloneBackend to the top of AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS:

    # AxesStandaloneBackend should be the first backend in the AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS list.

    # Django ModelBackend is the default authentication backend.

For backwards compatibility, AxesBackend can be used in place of AxesStandaloneBackend. The only difference is that AxesBackend also provides the permissions-checking functionality of Django’s ModelBackend behind the scenes. We recommend using AxesStandaloneBackend if you have any custom logic to override Django’s standard permissions checks.

3. Add axes.middleware.AxesMiddleware to your list of MIDDLEWARE:

    # The following is the list of default middleware in new Django projects.

    # AxesMiddleware should be the last middleware in the MIDDLEWARE list.
    # It only formats user lockout messages and renders Axes lockout responses
    # on failed user authentication attempts from login views.
    # If you do not want Axes to override the authentication response
    # you can skip installing the middleware and use your own views.

4. Run python manage.py check to check the configuration.

5. Run python manage.py migrate to sync the database.

Axes is now functional with the default settings and is saving user attempts into your database and locking users out if they exceed the maximum attempts.

You should use the python manage.py check command to verify the correct configuration in development, staging, and production environments. It is probably best to use this step as part of your regular CI workflows to verify that your project is not misconfigured.

Axes uses checks to verify your Django settings configuration for security and functionality. Many people have different configurations for their development and production environments, and running the application with misconfigured settings can prevent security features from working.

Version 6 breaking changes and upgrading from django-axes version 5

If you have not specialized django-axes configuration in any way you do not have to update any of the configuration.

The instructions apply to users who have configured django-axes in their projects and have used flags that are deprecated. The deprecated flags will be removed in the future but are compatible for at least version 6.0 of django-axes.

The following flags and configuration have changed:

django-ipware has become an optional dependency. To keep old behaviour, use pip install django-axes[ipware] in your install script or use django-axes[ipware] in your requirements file(s) instead of plain django-axes. The new django-axes package does not include django-ipware by default but does use django-ipware if it is installed and no callables for IP address resolution are configured with the settings.AXES_CLIENT_IP_CALLABLE configuration flag.

django-ipware related flags have changed names. The old flags have been deprecated and will be removed in the future. To keep old behaviour, rename them in your settings file:

  • settings.AXES_PROXY_ORDER is now settings.AXES_IPWARE_PROXY_ORDER,

  • settings.AXES_PROXY_COUNT is now settings.AXES_IPWARE_PROXY_COUNT,



settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS configuration flag has been added which supersedes the following configuration keys:

  1. No configuration for failure tracking in the following items (default behaviour).



  4. settings.AXES_LOCK_OUT_BY_USER_OR_IP, and

  5. settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT.

To keep old behaviour with the new flag, configure the following:

  1. If you did not use any flags, use settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = ["ip_address"],

  2. If you used settings.AXES_ONLY_USER_FAILURES, use settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = ["username"],

  3. If you used settings.AXES_LOCK_OUT_BY_USER_OR_IP, use settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = ["username", "ip_address"], and

  4. If you used settings.AXES_LOCK_OUT_BY_COMBINATION_USER_AND_IP, use settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = [["username", "ip_address"]],

  5. If you used settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT, add "user_agent" to your list(s) of lockout parameters.
    1. settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT would become settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = [["ip_address", "user_agent"]]

    2. settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT with settings.AXES_ONLY_USER_FAILURES would become settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = [["username", "user_agent"]]

    3. settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT with settings.AXES_LOCK_OUT_BY_USER_OR_IP would become settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = [["ip_address", "user_agent"], "username"]

    4. settings.AXES_USE_USER_AGENT with settings.AXES_LOCK_OUT_BY_COMBINATION_USER_AND_IP would become settings.AXES_LOCKOUT_PARAMETERS = [["ip_address", "user_agent", "username"]]

    5. Other combinations of flags were previously not considered; the flags had precedence over each other as described in the documentation but were less-than-trivial to understand in their previous form. The new form is more explicit and flexible, although it requires more in-depth configuration.

The new lockout parameters define a combined list of attributes to consider when tracking failed authentication attempts. They can be any combination of username, ip_address or user_agent in a list of strings or list of lists of strings. The attributes defined in the lists are combined and saved into the database, cache, or other backend for failed logins. The semantics of the evaluation are available in the documentation and axes.helpers.get_client_parameters callable.

settings.AXES_HTTP_RESPONSE_CODE default has been changed from 403 (Forbidden) to 429 (Too Many Requests). To keep the old behavior, set settings.AXES_HTTP_RESPONSE_CODE = 403 in your settings.

axes.handlers.base.AxesBaseHandler.is_admin_site has been deprecated due to misleading naming in favour of better-named axes.handlers.base.AxesBaseHandler.is_admin_request. The old implementation has been kept for backwards compatibility, but will be removed in the future. The old implementation checked if a request is NOT made for an admin site if settings.AXES_ONLY_ADMIN_SITE was set. The new implementation correctly checks if a request is made for an admin site.

axes.handlers.cache.AxesCacheHandler has been updated to use atomic cache.incr calls instead of old cache.set calls in authentication failure tracking to enable better parallel backend support for atomic cache backends like Redis and Memcached.

Disabling Axes system checks

If you are implementing custom authentication, request middleware, or signal handlers the Axes checks system might generate false positives in the Django checks framework.

You can silence the unnecessary warnings by using the following Django settings:


Axes has the following warnings codes built in:

  • axes.W001 for invalid CACHES configuration.

  • axes.W002 for invalid MIDDLEWARE configuration.

  • axes.W003 for invalid AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS configuration.

  • axes.W004 for deprecated use of AXES_* setting flags.


Only disable the Axes system checks and warnings if you know what you are doing. The default checks are implemented to verify and improve your project’s security and should only produce necessary warnings due to misconfigured settings.

Disabling Axes components in tests

If you get errors when running tests, try setting the AXES_ENABLED flag to False in your test settings:


This disables the Axes middleware, authentication backend and signal receivers, which might fix errors with incompatible test configurations.

Disabling atomic requests

Django offers atomic database transactions that are tied to HTTP requests and toggled on and off with the ATOMIC_REQUESTS configuration.

When ATOMIC_REQUESTS is set to True Django will always either perform all database read and write operations in one successful atomic transaction or in a case of failure roll them back, leaving no trace of the failed request in the database.

However, sometimes Axes or another plugin can misbehave or not act correctly with other code, preventing the login mechanisms from working due to e.g. exception being thrown in some part of the code, preventing access attempts being logged to database with Axes or causing similar problems.

If new attempts or log objects are not being correctly written to the Axes tables, it is possible to configure Django ATOMIC_REQUESTS setting to to False:


Please note that atomic requests are usually desirable when writing e.g. RESTful APIs, but sometimes it can be problematic and warrant a disable.

Before disabling atomic requests or configuring them please read the relevant Django documentation and make sure you know what you are configuring rather than just toggling the flag on and off for testing.

Also note that the cache backend can provide correct functionality with Memcached or Redis caches even with exceptions being thrown in the stack.