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How to install Django with MySQL on Mac OS X

Installing Django on Mac OS X Leopard is supposed to be very straightforward, but if you are new to it, you may encounter a few puzzling questions and, in the case of MySQL, even a couple of headaches. I’m writing about this for the benefit of those of you who may attempt and struggle with this feat. MacPorts is not required for this how-to.

First and foremost, we are going to install Django from its svn repository, as opposed to obtaining the 0.96 release archive. The reason for this is that the trunk version implements a few new features. The development code is also rather stable and used by most people in production mode, even for sites like the Washington Post.

Checkout Django

svn co django_trunk

Tell Python where Django is

Mac OS X 10.5 already ships with Python 2.5.1, thus you won’t have to install it. You can verify this by running python in the Terminal (use exit() to get out of the python shell). What you need to do is inform Python about the location of your django_trunk directory. To do this create the following file:


Within this file, place only one line containing the path to your django_trunk folder. In my case, this is:


Of course, change it to the full path location of the directory on your filesystem.

Add to your PATH

The bin directory within the django folder (which is inside django_trunk itself) contains several management utilities. We need therefore to add the following to the PATH (again, change it to your own location):


How you go about doing this, depends on the shell you are using, and I’m assuming you are able to export a shell variable on your own. In case you are using the bash shell (as I do) then you should have a .profile file in your home directory. Alternatively, you could just create a symlink to the utility in /usr/bin, but I recommend the former approach.

Grab and install MySQL

I would normally recommend PostgreSQL, at least until we have DB2 on Mac, but I realize that many of you use and prefer MySQL, which also seems to be the only one that requires special instructions due to a few installation issues when trying to get MySQL and Python to work together. You can install MySQL by grabbing and running one of the packages that are available on the official site. Choose the one for x86 and Mac OS X 10.4.

Install the MySQLdb driver

Get MySQL-python-1.2.2.tar.gz from SourceForge. Please follow these exact instructions because the source code won’t compile out of the box and will give you the following error when trying to build it:

/usr/include/sys/types.h:92: error: duplicate 'unsigned'
/usr/include/sys/types.h:92: error: two or more data types
in declaration specifiers
error: Setup script exited with error: command 'gcc' failed

Run the following:

tar xvfz MySQL-python-1.2.2.tar.gz
cd MySQL-python-1.2.2

At this point, edit the _mysql.c file and comment out lines 37, 38 and 39 as follows:

//#ifndef uint
//#define uint unsigned int

Now, from the MySQL-python-1.2.2 folder run:

python build
sudo python install

If you still get an error (and only in that case) you’ll need to edit the site.cfg file within the same folder and set threadsafe = False, before running the two commands above once again.
If instead, you don’t receive an error but you see warnings about files not required on this architecture, don’t be concerned about them. The last step required is to create a symbolic link with the following command:

sudo ln -s /usr/local/mysql/lib/ /usr/local/mysql/lib/mysql

All these adjustments are required because we are building and installing the driver on Mac and not on Linux.

Verify the installation

You should be all set now, but let’s verify this right away. Open Terminal and run the following commands in the python shell (start this with the python command).

Verify that MySQLdb is correctly installed:

>>> import MySQLdb
>>> MySQLdb.apilevel

Now, verify that Django is working:

>>> import django
>>> print django.VERSION
(0, 97, 'pre')

By running exit() get out of the python shell, and verify that is in your path:
Type ' help' for usage.

If you obtain a similar output for all three of them, you are really set to write the next YouTube.

Where to go from here

Now that Django is installed, you can go read the Django Book 1.0 that’s available for free online. Something equally well done and useful is really missing from the Rails community. Above all, experiment, Django (and programming in general) is learnt by doing. The Definitive Guide to Django: Web Development Done Right is also available for purchase in its deadtree version, which just came out. It’s cheap and it’s already a best seller on Amazon. Despite the availably of a free version online, I like having paper versions of tech books so that I can read without staring at the monitor. Furthermore, I feel like rewarding the authors (who are also the framework creators), while encouraging publishing companies that are willing to allow authors to make their books available for free on the web. Well done guys!

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31 Responses to “How to install Django with MySQL on Mac OS X”

  1. C8E says:

    Great guide, good work Antonio

  2. […] stable and used by most people in production mode, even for sites like the Washington Post.Mas: […]

  3. […] how-to is essentially the same as my previous one, only this time I’ve provided step-by-step instructions for installing Django with PostgreSQL […]

  4. […] How to install Django with MySQL on Mac OS X | Zen and the Art of Ruby Programming Covers a couple of problems in the installation of mysql-python (tags: django python mysql osx) […]

  5. Michael says:

    I followed your instructions, but I get the following error why I try to run “python build” in the “MySQL-python-1.2.2” folder:

    EnvironmentError: /usr/local/bin/mysql_config not found

    Any suggestions?

  6. Michael says:

    Ok, so I managed to solve the above error by entering the following command: “sudo ln -s /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config /usr/local/bin/mysql_config”. However, when I type “import MySQLdb” in the python shell to confirm that it is working, I get another error: Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.3-fat/egg/MySQLdb/”, line 19, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.3-fat/egg/”, line 7, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.3-fat/egg/”, line 6, in __bootstrap__
    ImportError: dlopen(/Users/michael/.python-eggs/MySQL_python-1.2.2-py2.5-macosx-10.3-fat.egg-tmp/, 2): Library not loaded: /usr/local/mysql/lib/mysql/libmysqlclient.15.dylib
    Referenced from: /Users/michael/.python-eggs/MySQL_python-1.2.2-py2.5-macosx-10.3-fat.egg-tmp/
    Reason: image not found

  7. Michael says:

    The following command fixed my problem:

    sudo ln -s /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config /usr/local/bin/mysql_config

  8. k00k says:


    Graci! You saved me with this one, I was going crazy. You fixed me.

  9. Thank you SO much for this article! I struggled for quite a while to get MySQL configured to use with Django until I found this article.

    Many, many, MANY thanks!

  10. mikeal says:

    Thanks man, i could not find any way to get these stupid mysql bindings to compile until I read about commenting out those lines.

    You saved me man.

  11. […] La seva instal·lació en un MacOS X (per variar) és una mica entrebancada, és a dir, no és difícil, però si susceptible de problemes. Al final ho he pogut instal·lar amb les intruccions que he trobat aqui. […]

  12. Ryan Donohue says:


    I was having a lot of trouble with a “mysql_config not found” error.

    So, for future beginners reading this, the following commands worked for me. Instead of

    python build
    sudo python install

    I used,

    env PATH=/usr/local/mysql-5.0.51a-osx10.4-i686/bin:$PATH python build


    sudo env PATH=/usr/local/mysql-5.0.51a-osx10.4-i686/bin:$PATH python install

    Replace “mysql-5.0.51a-osx10.4-i686” with whatever version you are using.

  13. Erik says:

    Thanks! _mysql.c comment was really helpful.

  14. sofia says:

    Thanks!! This was really helpful.
    Just to help other people, i also had difficulty installing the mysqlbindings and this article helped . Besides that i also had to add to the following
    mysql_config.path = “/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config” just before
    f = popen(“%s –%s” % (mysql_config.path, what)) .
    Finally was giving me trouble because i had added the path to .profile and not to .bash_profile .

  15. Brandon says:

    Any ideas where I went wrong? I am running Leopard and Python 2.5.1. I followed the directions above to the letter. Everything went fine until this build step for MySQL python.

    ::~/MySQL-python-1.2.2/> python build
    running build
    running build_py
    copying MySQLdb/ -> build/lib.macosx-10.3-fat-2.5/MySQLdb
    running build_ext
    building ‘_mysql’ extension
    gcc -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk -fno-strict-aliasing -Wno-long-double -no-cpp-precomp -mno-fused-madd -fno-common -dynamic -DNDEBUG -g -O3 -Dversion_info=(1,2,2,’final’,0) -D__version__=1.2.2 -I/usr/local/mysql/include -I/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5 -c _mysql.c -o build/temp.macosx-10.3-fat-2.5/_mysql.o -Os -arch x86_64 -fno-common
    In file included from /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5/Python.h:57,
    from pymemcompat.h:10,
    from _mysql.c:29:
    /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5/pyport.h:734:2: error: #error “LONG_BIT definition appears wrong for platform (bad gcc/glibc config?).”
    In file included from _mysql.c:35:
    /usr/local/mysql/include/my_config.h:1032:1: warning: “SIZEOF_LONG” redefined
    In file included from /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5/Python.h:8,
    from pymemcompat.h:10,
    from _mysql.c:29:
    /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5/pyconfig.h:807:1: warning: this is the location of the previous definition
    error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1

  16. Brandon says:

    Never mind my last question…I’m guilty of a n00b mistake – I installed the x86 64 bit version of MySQL and it was conflicting with the i386 version of Python during the build.

    • Sushil says:

      Hi Brandon! I am getting the same error. ‘gcc failed with exit status’. I am using XAMPP on my Mac OSX. Please let me know how did you solve the problem?

      • Sushil says:

        Hey i got it working!
        Changed the Python in to 32 bit version:
        defaults write Prefer-32-Bit -bool yes
        defaults write Prefer-32-Bit -bool no

        Installed developer package for XAMPP.

  17. Jason says:

    Very helpful, thanks for getting me started with Django on Leopard!!!

  18. Sebastian says:

    You just saved my life!! Thanks a lot!! Just want to mention here that I got an error on the first try because my MySQL is installed in a different directory than specified in site.cfg. No more problems after fixing that!

    Hey ho, let´s go!

  19. Joel says:

    works for me.. been trying to find a fix for this for hours.. thank you so very much!

  20. Joel says:

    Thank you so very much!

  21. ace place says:

    dood! you rock.

  22. Lindsay says:

    Just installed the MySQL db package using the instructions (after a fruitless attempt by myself). Thanks so much for providing us with this.

  23. joel says:


    I am still bothered by the error hereafter, hope you can help. Many thanks for sharing all this.


    Python 2.5.1 (r251:54863, Feb 4 2008, 21:48:13)
    [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Inc. build 5465)] on darwin
    Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” for more information.
    >>> import MySQLdb
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.5-i386/egg/MySQLdb/”, line 19, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.5-i386/egg/”, line 7, in
    File “build/bdist.macosx-10.5-i386/egg/”, line 6, in __bootstrap__
    ImportError: dynamic module does not define init function (init_mysql)

  24. Kevin M says:

    I’m getting the following error (btw, I’m using MAMP, could that be the problem?)

    running build
    running build_py
    copying MySQLdb/ -> build/lib.macosx-10.3-fat-2.5/MySQLdb
    running build_ext
    building ‘_mysql’ extension
    gcc -arch ppc -arch i386 -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk -fno-strict-aliasing -Wno-long-double -no-cpp-precomp -mno-fused-madd -fno-common -dynamic -DNDEBUG -g -O3 -Dversion_info=(1,2,2,’final’,0) -D__version__=1.2.2 -I/Applications/MAMP/Library/include/mysql -I/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/include/python2.5 -c _mysql.c -o build/temp.macosx-10.3-fat-2.5/_mysql.o
    unable to execute gcc: No such file or directory
    error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1

  25. Jason says:

    Hey guys, just followed this guide and installed django, mysql with mamp setup. Both mysql and django are checked under python and seem to work. But once i start to compile my project it gives me this list of errors:
    Unhandled exception in thread started by
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/core/management/commands/”, line 48, in inner_run
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/core/management/”, line 122, in validate
    num_errors = get_validation_errors(s, app)
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/core/management/”, line 65, in get_validation_errors
    connection.validation.validate_field(e, opts, f)
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/db/backends/mysql/”, line 8, in validate_field
    db_version = connection.get_server_version()
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/db/backends/mysql/”, line 275, in get_server_version
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/db/backends/”, line 56, in cursor
    cursor = self._cursor(settings)
    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/django/db/backends/mysql/”, line 262, in _cursor
    self.connection = Database.connect(**kwargs)
    File “/Users/Duo/svn/cse360/flix/”, line 74, in Connect

    File “/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/MySQL_python-1.2.2-py2.5-macosx-10.5-i386.egg/MySQLdb/”, line 170, in __init__
    _mysql_exceptions.OperationalError: (2003, “Can’t connect to MySQL server on ‘’ (60)”)

    Anyone got any idea? Tried search around google but didn’t find much info. Any help would be appreciated!

  26. […] think thats it … short and sweet … here are the references I used: How to install Django with MySQL on Mac OS X Notes: installing Django / Python / Mysql on OS X ………Tags » django […]

  27. […] algumas compliações a instalar o Django com suporte a MySQL no OS X, mas este post […]

  28. frink says:

    Thanks. Many, many sites have similar fixes for the Python MySQLdb fix, but only yours included the ‘//’, which reminded me that the _mysql.c file required ‘//’ for a comment, and not just the ‘#’ symbol. You limited my headbanging to hours instead of days. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  29. Sami says:

    What are the disadvantages of installing Mysql with Mamp, not similarly as Antonio? This would make the process of installing Mysql much straightforward, at least for offline testing.

  30. Nikita says:
    Build _mysql on MacOSX Leopard with MacPorts 1.700.
    install macports ( packages 'mysql5', 'python26', 'python_select'
    > sudo /opt/local/bin/port -v install mysql5
    > sudo /opt/local/bin/port -v install python26
    > sudo /opt/local/bin/port -v install python_select
    activate python2.6 from macports using python_select
    > python_select python26
    1. install new setup tools
    Download 'setuptools-0.6c9-py2.6.egg' from, then
    > sh setuptools-0.6c9-py2.6.egg
    2. (*optional) add symlink
    sudo ln -s /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.6/bin/easy_install-2.6 /opt/local/bin/easy_install-2.6
    3. download MySQL-python-1.2.2.tar.gz and extends
    > tar xvfz MySQL-python-1.2.2.tar.gz
    > cd MySQL-python-1.2.2
    5. edit the _mysql.c file and comment out lines 37, 38 and 39:
    //#ifndef uint
    //#define uint unsigned int
    6. edit site.cfg: uncomment and change mysql_config to:
    mysql_config = /opt/local/bin/mysql_config5
    7. build
    > python build
    > sudo python install
  31. scrapmaster says:

    Thank you, sir, thank you, thank you. Sometimes I just love the internet.

  32. […] Antonio Cangiano – How to install Django with MySQLdb on MacOSx […]

  33. Carl G says:


  34. mika says:

    NOT funny: you have to install dev tools!! So going django with mySQL requires dev tools???? What is this?? AND – WHY is there just not an gui installer that does all the above crap?

  35. Daniel S says:

    There is a Django one click installer available!
    Check out (only django + MySQL at the moment, but PostgreSQL is in the works to)

  36. Andy says:

    If you’re having trouble getting it installed the new version of mysql-python requires some different instructions, also if you’re using 64 or 32 bit versions of python or mysql will make a difference. There’s some information here:

  37. […] have managed to import MySQLdb after checking out these guides, plus two Stack Overflow here and <a […]

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