There is a django-ca Docker container available.

Assuming you have Docker installed, simply start the docker container with:

docker run --name=django-ca -p 8000:8000 mathiasertl/django-ca

You still need the shell to create one or more root CAs. For the admin interface, we also create a superuser:

docker exec -it django-ca python ca/ createsuperuser
docker exec -it django-ca python ca/ init_ca \
   example /C=AT/ST=Vienna/L=Vienna/O=Org/

… and visit http://localhost:8000/admin/.


Every environment variable passed to the container that starts with DJANGO_CA_ is loaded as a normal setting:

docker run -e DJANGO_CA_CA_DIGEST_ALGORITHM=sha256 ...

This however only works for settings that are supposed to be a string. For more complex settings, you can pass a YAML configuration file. For example, if you create a file /etc/django-ca/settings.yaml:

# Certificates expire after ten years, default profile is "server":

# The standard Django DATABASES setting, see Django docs:
      ENGINE: ...

And then start the container with:

docker run -v /etc/django-ca/:/etc/django-ca \
   -e DJANGO_CA_SETTINGS=/etc/django-ca/settings.yaml ...

… the container will load your settings file.


The container starts a uWSGI instance to let you use the admin interface. To replace the simple default configuration for something else, you can pass DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_INI as environment variable to set a different location:

docker run -v /etc/django-ca/:/etc/django-ca \
   -e DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_INI=/etc/django-ca/uwsgi.ini ...

The docker container comes with different ini files, each located in /usr/src/django-ca/uwsgi/:




Default. Serves plain HTTP on port 8000, including static files. Suitable for basic setups.


Serves the uwsgi protocol supported by NGINX and Apache. Does not serve static files, has three worker processes.

You can also always pass additional parameters to uWSGI using the DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_PARAMS environment variable. For example, to start six worker processes, simply use:

docker run -v /etc/django-ca/:/etc/django-ca \
   -e DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_PARAMS="--processes=6" ...

Use NGINX or Apache

In more professional setups, uWSGI will not serve HTTP directly, but a webserver like Apache or NGINX will be a proxy to uWSGI communicating via a dedicated protocol. Usually, the webserver serves static files directly and not via uWSGI.


uWSGI supports a variety of webservers:

First, you need to create a directory that you can use as a Docker volume that will contain the static files that are served by the webserver. Note that the process in the container runs with uid/gid of 9000 by default:

sudo mkdir /usr/share/django-ca
sudo chown 9000:9000 /usr/share/django-ca

Now configure your webserver appropriately, e.g. for NGINX:

server {
    # ... everything else

    location / {
        include uwsgi_params;

    location /static/ {
        alias /home/mati/git/mati/django-ca/static/static/;

Now all that’s left is to start the container with that volume and set DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_INI to a different ini file (note that this file is included in the container, see above):

docker run \
   -e DJANGO_CA_UWSGI_INI=/usr/src/django-ca/uwsgi/uwsgi.ini \
   -p 8000:8000 --name=django-ca \
   -v /usr/share/django-ca:/usr/share/django-ca \

Note that /usr/share/django-ca on the host will now contain the static files served by your webserver. If you configured NGINX on port 80, you can now visit e.g. http://localhost/admin/ for the admin interface.

Run as different user

It is possible to run the uWSGI instance inside the container as a different user, but you have to make sure that /var/lib/django-ca/ and /usr/share/django-ca/ are writable by that user.


/var/lib/django-ca/ contains all sensitive data including CA private keys and login credentials to the admin interface. Make sure you protect this directory!

Assuming you want to use uid 3000 and gid 3001, set up appropriate folders on the host:

mkdir /var/lib/django-ca/ /usr/share/django-ca/
chown 3000:3001 /var/lib/django-ca/ /usr/share/django-ca/
chmod go-rwx /var/lib/django-ca/

If you want to keep any existing data, you now must copy the data for /var/lib/django-ca/ in the container to the one on the host.

Now you can run the container with the different uid/gid:

docker run \
   -p 8000:8000 --name=django-ca \
   -v /usr/share/django-ca:/usr/share/django-ca \
   -v /var/lib/django-ca:/var/lib/django-ca \
   --user 3000:3001 \

Build your own container

If you want to build the container by yourself, simply clone the repository and execute:

docker build -t django-ca .