This document covers the usage of django-user-accounts. It assumes you’ve read Installation.

django-user-accounts has very good default behavior when handling user accounts. It has been designed to be customizable in many aspects. By default this app will:

  • enable username authentication
  • provide default views and forms for sign up, log in, password reset and account management
  • handle log out with POST
  • require unique email addresses globally
  • require email verification for performing password resets

The rest of this document will cover how you can tweak the default behavior of django-user-accounts.

Limiting access to views

To limit view access to logged in users, normally you would use the Django decorator django.contrib.auth.decorators.login_required. Instead you should use account.decorators.login_required.

Customizing the sign up process

In many cases you need to tweak the sign up process to do some domain specific tasks. Perhaps you need to update a profile for the new user or something else. The built-in SignupView has hooks to enable just about any sort of customization during sign up. Here’s an example of a custom SignupView defined in your project:

import account.views

class SignupView(account.views.SignupView):

    def after_signup(self, form):
        super(SignupView, self).after_signup(form)

    def update_profile(self, form):
        profile = self.created_user.profile  # replace with your reverse one-to-one profile attribute
        profile.some_attr = "some value"

This example assumes you had a receiver hooked up to the post_save signal for the sender, User like so:

from django.dispatch import receiver
from django.db.models.signals import post_save

from django.contrib.auth.models import User

from mysite.profiles.models import UserProfile

@receiver(post_save, sender=User)
def handle_user_save(sender, instance, created, **kwargs):
    if created:

You can define your own form class to add fields to the sign up process:


from django import forms
from django.forms.extras.widgets import SelectDateWidget

import account.forms

class SignupForm(account.forms.SignupForm):

    birthdate = forms.DateField(widget=SelectDateWidget(years=range(1910, 1991)))


import account.views

import myproject.forms

class SignupView(account.views.SignupView):

   form_class = myproject.forms.SignupForm

   def after_signup(self, form):
       super(SignupView, self).after_signup(form)

   def create_profile(self, form):
       profile = self.created_user.profile  # replace with your reverse one-to-one profile attribute
       profile.birthdate = form.cleaned_data["birthdate"]

To hook this up for your project you need to override the URL for sign up:

from django.conf.urls import patterns, include, url

import myproject.views

urlpatterns = patterns("",
    url(r"^account/signup/$", myproject.views.SignupView.as_view(), name="account_signup"),
    url(r"^account/", include("account.urls")),


Make sure your url for /account/signup/ comes before the include of account.urls. Django will short-circuit on yours.

Using email address for authentication

django-user-accounts allows you to use email addresses for authentication instead of usernames. You still have the option to continue using usernames or get rid of them entirely.

To enable email authentication do the following:

  1. check your settings for the following values:



    If you need to change the value of ACCOUNT_EMAIL_UNIQUE make sure your database schema is modified to support a unique email column in account_emailaddress.

    ACCOUNT_EMAIL_CONFIRMATION_REQUIRED is optional, but highly recommended to be True.

  2. define your own LoginView in your project:

    import account.forms
    import account.views
    class LoginView(account.views.LoginView):
        form_class = account.forms.LoginEmailForm
  3. ensure "account.auth_backends.EmailAuthenticationBackend" is in AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS

If you want to get rid of username you’ll need to do some extra work:

  1. define your own SignupForm and SignupView in your project:

    import account.forms
    class SignupForm(account.forms.SignupForm):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            super(SignupForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
            del self.fields["username"]
    import account.views
    import myproject.forms
    class SignupView(account.views.SignupView):
        form_class = myproject.forms.SignupForm
        identifier_field = 'email'
        def generate_username(self, form):
            # do something to generate a unique username (required by the
            # Django User model, unfortunately)
            username = "<magic>"
            return username
  2. many places will rely on a username for a User instance. django-user-accounts provides a mechanism to add a level of indirection when representing the user in the user interface. Keep in mind not everything you include in your project will do what you expect when removing usernames entirely.

    Set ACCOUNT_USER_DISPLAY in settings to a callable suitable for your site:

    ACCOUNT_USER_DISPLAY = lambda user:

    Your Python code can use user_display to handle user representation:

    from account.utils import user_display

    Your templates can use {% user_display request.user %}:

    {% load account_tags %}
    {% user_display request.user %}

Allow non-unique email addresses

If your site requires that you support non-unique email addresses globally you can tweak the behavior to allow this.

Set ACCOUNT_EMAIL_UNIQUE to False. If you have already setup the tables for django-user-accounts you will need to migrate the account_emailaddress table:

ALTER TABLE "account_emailaddress" ADD CONSTRAINT "account_emailaddress_user_id_email_key" UNIQUE ("user_id", "email");
ALTER TABLE "account_emailaddress" DROP CONSTRAINT "account_emailaddress_email_key";

ACCOUNT_EMAIL_UNIQUE = False will allow duplicate email addresses per user, but not across users.

Including accounts in fixtures

If you want to include account_account in your fixture, you may notice that when you load that fixture there is a conflict because django-user-accounts defaults to creating a new account for each new user.


IntegrityError: Problem installing fixture \
      ...'/app/fixtures/some_users_and_accounts.json': \
      Could not load account.Account(pk=1): duplicate key value violates unique constraint \
DETAIL:  Key (user_id)=(1) already exists.

To prevent this from happening, subclass DiscoverRunner and in setup_test_environment set CREATE_ON_SAVE to False. For example in a file called lib/

from django.test.runner import DiscoverRunner
from account.conf import AccountAppConf

class MyTestDiscoverRunner(DiscoverRunner):

    def setup_test_environment(self, **kwargs):
        super(MyTestDiscoverRunner, self).setup_test_environment(**kwargs)
        aac = AccountAppConf()
        aac.CREATE_ON_SAVE = False

And in your settings:

TEST_RUNNER = "lib.tests.MyTestDiscoverRunner"

Enabling password expiration

Password expiration is disabled by default. In order to enable password expiration you must add entries to your settings file:

ACCOUNT_PASSWORD_EXPIRY = 60*60*24*5  # seconds until pw expires, this example shows five days

and include ExpiredPasswordMiddleware with your middleware settings:


ACCOUNT_PASSWORD_EXPIRY indicates the duration a password will stay valid. After that period the password must be reset in order to view any page. If ACCOUNT_PASSWORD_EXPIRY is zero (0) then passwords never expire.

If ACCOUNT_PASSWORD_USE_HISTORY is False, no history will be generated and password expiration WILL NOT be checked.

If ACCOUNT_PASSWORD_USE_HISTORY is True, a password history entry is created each time the user changes their password. This entry links the user with their most recent (encrypted) password and a timestamp. Unless deleted manually, PasswordHistory items are saved forever, allowing password history checking for new passwords.

For an authenticated user, ExpiredPasswordMiddleware prevents retrieving or posting to any page except the password change page and log out page when the user password is expired. However, if the user is “staff” (can access the Django admin site), the password check is skipped.