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Django backend for Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database using pyodbc

django-pyodbc-azure is a refined fork of django-pyodbc, a Django Microsoft SQL Server external DB backend that uses ODBC by employing the pyodbc library. It supports Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database.


  • Supports Django 1.8.3
  • Supports Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008/2008R2, 2012, 2014 and Azure SQL Database
  • Supports LIMIT+OFFSET and offset w/o LIMIT emulation.
  • Passes most of the tests of the Django test suite.
  • Compatible with SQL Server , SQL Server Native Client , Micosoft ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server on Windows and FreeTDS ODBC drivers.


  • Django 1.8.3
  • pyodbc 3.0 or newer


  1. Install pyodbc and Django

  2. Install django-pyodbc-azure

    pip install django-pyodbc-azure
  3. Now you can point the ENGINE setting in the settings file used by your Django application or project to the 'sql_server.pyodbc' module path

    'ENGINE': 'sql_server.pyodbc'


Standard Django settings

The following entries in a database-level settings dictionary in DATABASES control the behavior of the backend:


    String. It must be "sql_server.pyodbc".

  • NAME

    String. Database name. Required.

  • HOST

    String. SQL Server instance in "server\instance" (on-premise) or "" (Azure SQL Database) format.

  • PORT

    String. Server instance port. An empty string means the default port.

  • USER

    String. Database user name in "user" (on-premise) or "user@server" (Azure SQL Database) format. If not given then MS Integrated Security will be used.


    String. Database user password.


    Boolean. Set this to False if you want to disable Django’s transaction management and implement your own.

and the following entries are also available in the TEST dictionary for any given database-level settings dictionary:

  • NAME

    String. The name of database to use when running the test suite. If the default value (None) is used, the test database will use the name “test_” + NAME.


    String. The collation order to use when creating the test database. If the default value (None) is used, the test database is assigned the default collation of the instance of SQL Server.


    String. The creation-order dependencies of the database. See the official Django documentation for more details.


    String. The alias of the database that this database should mirror during testing. Default value is None. See the official Django documentation for more details.


Dictionary. Current available keys are:

  • driver

    String. ODBC Driver to use ("SQL Server Native Client 11.0" etc). See Default is "SQL Server" on Windows and "FreeTDS" on other platforms.

  • dsn

    String. A named DSN can be used instead of HOST.

  • host_is_server

    Boolean. Only relevant if using the FreeTDS ODBC driver under Unix/Linux.

    By default, when using the FreeTDS ODBC driver the value specified in the HOST setting is used in a SERVERNAME ODBC connection string component instead of being used in a SERVER component; this means that this value should be the name of a dataserver definition present in the freetds.conf FreeTDS configuration file instead of a hostname or an IP address.

    But if this option is present and it’s value is True, this special behavior is turned off.

    See for more information.

  • unicode_results

    Boolean. If it is set to True, pyodbc’s unicode_results feature is activated and strings returned from pyodbc are always Unicode. Default value is False.

  • extra_params

    String. Additional parameters for the ODBC connection. The format is "param=value;param=value".

  • collation

    String. Name of the collation to use when performing text field lookups against the database. Default is None; this means no collation specifier is added to your lookup SQL (the default collation of your database will be used). For Chinese language you can set it to "Chinese_PRC_CI_AS".

  • use_legacy_datetime

    Boolean. DateField, TimeField and DateTimeField of models are mapped to SQL Server’s legacy datetime type if the value is True (the same behavior as the original django-pyodbc). Otherwise, they are mapped to new dedicated data types (date, time, datetime2). Default value is False, and note that the feature is always activated when you use SQL Server 2005, or the outdated ODBC drivers ("FreeTDS"/"SQL Server"/"SQL Native Client").

  • connection_timeout

    Integer. Sets the timeout in seconds for the database connection process. Default value is 0 which disables the timeout.

backend-specific settings

The following project-level settings also control the behavior of the backend:


    Boolean. If it is set to False, pyodbc’s connection pooling feature won’t be activated.


Here is an example of the database settings:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'sql_server.pyodbc',
        'NAME': 'mydb',
        'USER': 'user@myserver',
        'PASSWORD': 'password',
        'HOST': '',
        'PORT': '',

        'OPTIONS': {
            'driver': 'SQL Server Native Client 11.0',

# set this to False if you want to turn off pyodbc's connection pooling


The following features are currently not supported:

  • Altering a model field from or to AutoField at migration


This version of django-pyodbc-azure only supports Django 1.8. If you want to use it on older versions of Django, specify an appropriate version number (1.2.x for Django 1.7) at installation like this:

pip install "django-pyodbc-azure<1.8"



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