Django: ImproperlyConfigured: The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty

I am trying to set up multiple setting files (development, production, ..) that include some base settings. Cannot succeed though. When I try to run ./manage.py runserver I am getting the following error:

    (cb)clime@den /srv/www/cb $ ./manage.py runserver
    ImproperlyConfigured: The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty.

Here is my settings module:

    (cb)clime@den /srv/www/cb/cb/settings $ ll
    total 24
    -rw-rw-r--. 1 clime clime 8230 Oct  2 02:56 base.py
    -rw-rw-r--. 1 clime clime  489 Oct  2 03:09 development.py
    -rw-rw-r--. 1 clime clime   24 Oct  2 02:34 __init__.py
    -rw-rw-r--. 1 clime clime  471 Oct  2 02:51 production.py

Base settings (contain SECRET_KEY):

    (cb)clime@den /srv/www/cb/cb/settings $ cat base.py:
    # Django base settings for cb project.

    import django.conf.global_settings as defaults

    DEBUG = False
    TEMPLATE_DEBUG = False

    INTERNAL_IPS = ('127.0.0.1',)

    ADMINS = (
        ('clime', '[email protected]'),
    )

    MANAGERS = ADMINS

    DATABASES = {
        'default': {
            #'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2', # Add 'postgresql_psycopg2', 'mysql', 'sqlite3' or 'oracle'.
            'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
            'NAME': 'cwu',                   # Or path to database file if using sqlite3.
            'USER': 'clime',                 # Not used with sqlite3.
            'PASSWORD': '',                  # Not used with sqlite3.
            'HOST': '',                      # Set to empty string for localhost. Not used with sqlite3.
            'PORT': '',                      # Set to empty string for default. Not used with sqlite3.
        }
    }

    # Local time zone for this installation. Choices can be found here:
    # http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_zones_by_name
    # although not all choices may be available on all operating systems.
    # In a Windows environment this must be set to your system time zone.
    TIME_ZONE = 'Europe/Prague'

    # Language code for this installation. All choices can be found here:
    # http://www.i18nguy.com/unicode/language-identifiers.html
    LANGUAGE_CODE = 'en-us'

    SITE_ID = 1

    # If you set this to False, Django will make some optimizations so as not
    # to load the internationalization machinery.
    USE_I18N = False

    # If you set this to False, Django will not format dates, numbers and
    # calendars according to the current locale.
    USE_L10N = False # TODO: make this true and accustom date time input

    DATE_INPUT_FORMATS = defaults.DATE_INPUT_FORMATS + ('%d %b %y', '%d %b, %y') # + ('25 Oct 13', '25 Oct, 13')

    # If you set this to False, Django will not use timezone-aware datetimes.
    USE_TZ = True

    # Absolute filesystem path to the directory that will hold user-uploaded files.
    # Example: "/home/media/media.lawrence.com/media/"
    MEDIA_ROOT = '/srv/www/cb/media'

    # URL that handles the media served from MEDIA_ROOT. Make sure to use a
    # trailing slash.
    # Examples: "http://media.lawrence.com/media/", "http://example.com/media/"
    MEDIA_URL = '/media/'

    # Absolute path to the directory static files should be collected to.
    # Don't put anything in this directory yourself; store your static files
    # in apps' "static/" subdirectories and in STATICFILES_DIRS.
    # Example: "/home/media/media.lawrence.com/static/"
    STATIC_ROOT = '/srv/www/cb/static'

    # URL prefix for static files.
    # Example: "http://media.lawrence.com/static/"
    STATIC_URL = '/static/'

    # Additional locations of static files
    STATICFILES_DIRS = (
        # Put strings here, like "/home/html/static" or "C:/www/django/static".
        # Always use forward slashes, even on Windows.
        # Don't forget to use absolute paths, not relative paths.
    )

    # List of finder classes that know how to find static files in
    # various locations.
    STATICFILES_FINDERS = (
        'django.contrib.staticfiles.finders.FileSystemFinder',
        'django.contrib.staticfiles.finders.AppDirectoriesFinder',
    #    'django.contrib.staticfiles.finders.DefaultStorageFinder',
    )

    # Make this unique, and don't share it with anybody.
    SECRET_KEY = '8lu*6g0lg)9z!ba+a$ehk)xt)x%rxgb$i1&022shmi1jcgihb*'

    # List of callables that know how to import templates from various sources.
    TEMPLATE_LOADERS = (
        'django.template.loaders.filesystem.Loader',
        'django.template.loaders.app_directories.Loader',
    #     'django.template.loaders.eggs.Loader',
    )

    TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS = (
        'django.contrib.auth.context_processors.auth',
        'django.core.context_processors.request',
        'django.core.context_processors.debug',
        'django.core.context_processors.i18n',
        'django.core.context_processors.media',
        'django.core.context_processors.static',
        'django.core.context_processors.tz',
        'django.contrib.messages.context_processors.messages',
        'web.context.inbox',
        'web.context.base',
        'web.context.main_search',
        'web.context.enums',
    )

    MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES = (
        'django.middleware.common.CommonMiddleware',
        'django.contrib.sessions.middleware.SessionMiddleware',
        'django.middleware.csrf.CsrfViewMiddleware',
        'django.contrib.auth.middleware.AuthenticationMiddleware',
        'django.contrib.messages.middleware.MessageMiddleware',
        'watson.middleware.SearchContextMiddleware',
        'debug_toolbar.middleware.DebugToolbarMiddleware',
        'middleware.UserMemberMiddleware',
        'middleware.ProfilerMiddleware',
        'middleware.VaryOnAcceptMiddleware',
        # Uncomment the next line for simple clickjacking protection:
        # 'django.middleware.clickjacking.XFrameOptionsMiddleware',
    )

    ROOT_URLCONF = 'cb.urls'

    # Python dotted path to the WSGI application used by Django's runserver.
    WSGI_APPLICATION = 'cb.wsgi.application'

    TEMPLATE_DIRS = (
        # Put strings here, like "/home/html/django_templates" or "C:/www/django/templates".
        # Always use forward slashes, even on Windows.
        # Don't forget to use absolute paths, not relative paths.
        '/srv/www/cb/web/templates',
        '/srv/www/cb/templates',
    )

    INSTALLED_APPS = (
        'django.contrib.auth',
        'django.contrib.contenttypes',
        'django.contrib.sessions',
        'django.contrib.sites',
        'django.contrib.messages',
        'django.contrib.staticfiles',
        'south',
        'grappelli', # must be before admin
        'django.contrib.admin',
        'django.contrib.admindocs',
        'endless_pagination',
        'debug_toolbar',
        'djangoratings',
        'watson',
        'web',
    )

    AUTH_USER_MODEL = 'web.User'

    # A sample logging configuration. The only tangible logging
    # performed by this configuration is to send an email to
    # the site admins on every HTTP 500 error when DEBUG=False.
    # See http://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/topics/logging for
    # more details on how to customize your logging configuration.
    LOGGING = {
        'version': 1,
        'disable_existing_loggers': False,
        'filters': {
            'require_debug_false': {
                '()': 'django.utils.log.RequireDebugFalse'
            }
        },
        'formatters': {
            'standard': {
                'format' : "[%(asctime)s] %(levelname)s [%(name)s:%(lineno)s] %(message)s",
                'datefmt' : "%d/%b/%Y %H:%M:%S"
            },
        },
        'handlers': {
            'mail_admins': {
                'level': 'ERROR',
                'filters': ['require_debug_false'],
                'class': 'django.utils.log.AdminEmailHandler'
            },
            'null': {
                'level':'DEBUG',
                'class':'django.utils.log.NullHandler',
            },
            'logfile': {
                'level':'DEBUG',
                'class':'logging.handlers.RotatingFileHandler',
                'filename': "/srv/www/cb/logs/application.log",
                'maxBytes': 50000,
                'backupCount': 2,
                'formatter': 'standard',
            },
            'console':{
                'level':'INFO',
                'class':'logging.StreamHandler',
                'formatter': 'standard'
            },
        },
        'loggers': {
            'django.request': {
                'handlers': ['mail_admins'],
                'level': 'ERROR',
                'propagate': True,
            },
            'django': {
                'handlers':['console'],
                'propagate': True,
                'level':'WARN',
            },
            'django.db.backends': {
                'handlers': ['console'],
                'level': 'DEBUG',
                'propagate': False,
            },
            'web': {
                'handlers': ['console', 'logfile'],
                'level': 'DEBUG',
            },
        },
    }

    LOGIN_URL = 'login'
    LOGOUT_URL = 'logout'

    #ENDLESS_PAGINATION_LOADING = """
    #    <img src="/static/web/img/preloader.gif" alt="loading" style="margin:auto"/>
    #"""
    ENDLESS_PAGINATION_LOADING = """
        <div class="spinner small" style="margin:auto">
            <div class="block_1 spinner_block small"></div>
            <div class="block_2 spinner_block small"></div>
            <div class="block_3 spinner_block small"></div>
        </div>
    """

    DEBUG_TOOLBAR_CONFIG = {
        'INTERCEPT_REDIRECTS': False,
    }

    import django.template.loader
    django.template.loader.add_to_builtins('web.templatetags.cb_tags')
    django.template.loader.add_to_builtins('web.templatetags.tag_library')

    WATSON_POSTGRESQL_SEARCH_CONFIG = 'public.english_nostop'

One of the setting files:

    (cb)clime@den /srv/www/cb/cb/settings $ cat development.py 
    from base import *

    DEBUG = True
    TEMPLATE_DEBUG = True

    ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['127.0.0.1', '31.31.78.149']

    DATABASES = {
        'default': {
            'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
            'NAME': 'cwu',
            'USER': 'clime',
            'PASSWORD': '',
            'HOST': '',
            'PORT': '',
        }
    }

    MEDIA_ROOT = '/srv/www/cb/media/'

    STATIC_ROOT = '/srv/www/cb/static/'

    TEMPLATE_DIRS = (
        '/srv/www/cb/web/templates',
        '/srv/www/cb/templates',
    )

Code in manage.py:

    (cb)clime@den /srv/www/cb $ cat manage.py 
    #!/usr/bin/env python
    import os
    import sys

    if __name__ == "__main__":
        os.environ.setdefault("DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE", "cb.settings.development")

        from django.core.management import execute_from_command_line

        execute_from_command_line(sys.argv)

If I add from base import * into /srv/www/cb/cb/settings/__init__.py (which is otherwise empty), it magically starts to work but I don't understand why. Anyone could explain to me what's going on here? It must be some python module magic.

EDIT: Everything also starts to work if I remove this line from base.py

    django.template.loader.add_to_builtins('web.templatetags.cb_tags')

If I remove this line from web.templatetags.cb_tags, it also starts to work:

    from endless_pagination.templatetags import endless

I guess it is because, in the end, it leads to

    from django.conf import settings
    PER_PAGE = getattr(settings, 'ENDLESS_PAGINATION_PER_PAGE', 10)

So it creates some weird circular stuff and game over.

I had the same error and it turned out to be a circular dependency between something loaded by the settings and the settings module itself. In my case it was a middleware class which was named in the settings which itself tried to load the settings.

From: stackoverflow.com/q/19128540