Tweaks for making django admin faster

19 January 2012 (updated 20 September 2018)

Here follow a number of tricks I've employed in the past to make django admin faster.

Editable foreign keys in the changelist *

If you have foreign keys in list_editable django will make 1 database query for each item in the changelist. Quite a lot for a changelist of 100 items. The trick is to cache the choices for that formfield:

class MyAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_editable = 'myfield',
    def formfield_for_dbfield(self, db_field, **kwargs):
        request = kwargs['request']
        formfield = super(MyAdmin, self).formfield_for_dbfield(db_field, **kwargs)

        if == 'myfield':
            choices = getattr(request, '_myfield_choices_cache', None)
            if choices is None:
                request._myfield_choices_cache = choices = list(formfield.choices)
            formfield.choices = choices

        return formfield

Foreign keys or many to many fields in admin inlines *

If you have fk of m2m fields on InlineModelAdmin for every object in the formset you'll get a database hit. You can avoid this by having something like:

class MyAdmin(admin.TabularInline):
    fields = 'myfield',
    def formfield_for_dbfield(self, db_field, **kwargs):
        formfield = super(MyAdmin, self).formfield_for_dbfield(db_field, **kwargs)
        if == 'myfield':
            # dirty trick so queryset is evaluated and cached in .choices
            formfield.choices = formfield.choices
        return formfield

Enable template caching *

It's amazing how easy it is to forget to add this in your settings:

    ('django.template.loaders.cached.Loader', (

Use annotations if possible for function entries list_display instead of making additional queries *

Check the aggregation api to see if you can use this. Here's the typical example:

class AuthorAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = 'books_count',

    def books_count(self, obj):
        return obj.books_count

    def queryset(self, request):
        return super(AuthorAdmin, self).queryset(

The models would look like this:

class Author(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

class Book(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)
    author = models.ForeignKey(Author, related_name="books")

Cache the filters from the admin changelist *

This has the obvious tradeoff that you'll have stale data in the list of filter but if they don't change that often and those distinct queries are killing your database then this will help a lot. Just add a custom change_list.html template in your project (eg: templates/<myapp>/change_list.html):

{% extends "admin/change_list.html" %}
{% load admin_list i18n cache %}

{% block filters %}
    {% cache 300 admin_filters request.GET.items request.path request.user.username %}
        {% if cl.has_filters %}
          <div id="changelist-filter">
            <h2>{% trans 'Filter' %}</h2>
            {% for spec in cl.filter_specs %}{% admin_list_filter cl spec %}{% endfor %}
        {% endif %}
    {% endcache %}
{% endblock %}

Bonus trick *

frame = sys._getframe(1)
while frame:
    if frame.f_code.co_name == 'render_change_form':
        if 'request' in frame.f_locals:
            request = frame.f_locals['request']
    frame = frame.f_back
    raise RuntimeError("Could not find request object.")

# do stuff with request

This could be used in some specific cases (eg: you need the request in a widget's render method), as a last resort ofcourse ;)


What did you do to make django admin faster?

This entry was tagged as django django admin python