How to run a local Django development server over HTTPS with a trusted self-signed SSL certificate

Aug 10, 2021 · Updated: Aug 13, 2021 · by Tim Kamanin

Generating a self-signed SSL certificate for local Django development has always been a hassle for me. Until the day I discovered mkcert, a zero-config tool that creates locally trusted development certificates, your browser will not complain about.

In this tutorial, I'll share my process, and you'll learn how to create a local SSL certificate for your Django project and run it in development mode with HTTPS enabled.

I can't wait to tell you about it, follow me!

Step 1 - Generating a local SSL certificate

  1. First, let's install mkcert on your machine. If you are running on macOS, you can use Homebrew package manager to do this. Run the following command in your terminal:

    brew install mkcert

    If you're running on Linux or Windows, please refer to installation instructions in the package repo (

  2. Next, let's make your Operational System trust the local certificates we're about to generate. You need to install a local certificate authority (CA) in the system trust store to do this. Run the following command:

    mkcert -install

  3. Next, you need to generate a certificate for the localhost domain.

    In the terminal, go to the root of your Django project. Then run the following terminal command to generate a certificate for localhost and

    mkcert -cert-file cert.pem -key-file key.pem localhost

    If you plan to run your local server under a domain other than localhost, replace localhost with the domain of your choice.

    If everything went right, you should see the following result:

    mkcert command output
    The certificate is at "cert.pem" and the key at "key.pem"

As a result, we have generated a local SSL certificate that will work with any localhost development server running on any port.

FYI: You can reuse this certificate with any local project that runs on localhost. The certificate has nothing to do with Django or Python.

Step 2 - Configuring Django server to work with HTTPS

The default Django runserver command doesn't support SSL; therefore, we need to use the alternative runserver_plus command, which is part of the excellent Django Extensions package.

  1. Run the following command to install Django extensions alongwith the Wekzeug server:

    pip install django-extensions Werkzeug

    The runserver_plus command requires installation of the Werkzeug server, which is better known in the world of the Python Framework Flask.

  2. Next, open the file in your code editor and add django_extensions to the INSTALLED_APPS list:
        # other apps

  3. Finally, start the local development server in HTTPS mode by running the command:

    python runserver_plus --cert-file cert.pem --key-file key.pem

And that's it; you should now see the local development server running at the default https://localhost:8000 address.

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