Django Brake - a versatile ratelimiting app for Django.





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Django Brake - Not Actively Maintained

.. image:: https://secure.travis-ci.org/gmcquillan/django-brake.png?branch=master :target: http://travis-ci.org/gmcquillan/django-brake

Django Brake provides a decorator to rate-limit views. Limiting can be based on IP address or a field in the request--either a GET or POST variable.

If the rate limit is exceded, either a 403 Forbidden can be sent, or the request can be annotated with a limited attribute, allowing you to take another action like adding a captcha to a form.

This is a fork of Django Ratelimit, to support:

  • Django 1.3 and above
  • Multiple buckets (e.g. separate endpoints)
  • Allow for multiple time thresholds (periods) per bucket
  • Analyze which functions were limited, and what their counts were.
  • allow rate limiting of distinct request paths separately, even if they map to the same view

The intention is to remain API compliant with Django Ratelimit.


If you are upgrading from a version prior to 1.4.1, please upgrade to that version first, then upgrade to the latest version. There has been a serialization change for cached count values so that expirations are more precise.

To upgrade from any version prior to 1.4.X:

  • First upgrade to 1.4.1. It's backwards compatible with all previous versions, but won't cause a service interruption while you're deploying the latest version of django-brake. pip install django-brake==1.4.1

  • After this is fully deployed to all your webservers, then you can safely deploy the latest: pip install -U django-brake

Using Django Brake

from brake.decorators import ratelimit is the biggest thing you need to do. The @ratelimit decorator provides several optional arguments with sensible defaults (in italics).

:ip: Whether to rate-limit based on the IP. True :use_request_path: Whether to use request.path instead of the view function name when constructing the ratelimit cache keys. Useful if many URLs map to the same view and you want to divide them into separate buckets. False :block: Whether to block the request instead of annotating. False :method: Which HTTP method(s) to rate-limit. May be a string or a list. all :field: Which HTTP field(s) to use to rate-limit. May be a string or a list. None :rate: The number of requests per unit time allowed. 5/m :increment: A callable that will accept the request and response as arguments and, when called, will return True or False. If it returns False, the current request is not counted against the limit. Useful for only counting invalid login attempts against the limit, for example, and not valid ones. None



def myview(request):
    # Will be true if the same IP makes more than 5 requests/minute.
    was_limited = getattr(request, 'limited', False)
    return HttpResponse()

def myview(request):
    # If the same IP makes >5 reqs/min, will return HttpResponseForbidden
    return HttpResponse()

def login(request):
    # If the same username OR IP is used >5 times/min, this will be True.
    # The `username` value will come from GET or POST, determined by the
    # request method.
    was_limited = getattr(request, 'limited', False)
    return HttpResponse()

@ratelimit(increment=lambda req, resp: resp.count)
def login(request):
    resp = HttpResponseRedirect()
    if login_is_correct:
        # Do not count correct logins against the limit.
        resp.count = False
        resp.count = True
    return resp

def login(request):
    # Only apply rate-limiting to POSTs.
    return HttpResponseRedirect()

@ratelimit(field=['username', 'other_field'])
def login(request):
    # Use multiple field values.
    return HttpResponse()

def slow(request):
    # Allow 1 reqs/min, 10 per hour, and 100 per day.
    return HttpResponse()

## Example Login Code to *only* block login failures

def login(request):
    """Just a regular django login flow."""
    from brake import utils as brake_utils
    # minute, hour, day periods.
    periods = (60, 60 * 60, 24 * 60 * 60,)
    # 'login' is whatever your func.__name__ attribute would be
    # for the function that is decorated
    limits = brake_utils.get_limits(
        request, 'login', 'username', self.PERIODS

    # Check limits before we even see if the form is valid.
    # This way, even if the attacker stumbles on the
    # correct passphrase, they're locked out.

    if limits:
        request.flash['error'] = 'You have been ratelimited'
        return http.HttpResponseRedirect(urlresolvers.reverse(

    form = forms.AuthenticationForm()
    if form.method == 'POST':
        form = forms.AuthenticationForm(data=request.POST):
            # Login information was not correct.
            if form.is_valid():
                # Proceed with login process, and redirect to next page.

            # If our form is invalid, we increment counters manually
                'username', # Username value.
            # Return to login page
            # Optionally, you can pass in the form context
            return http.HttpResponseRedirect(urlresolvers.reverse(

# If you're interested in which endpoints failed, and what the
# counts were:

@ratelimit(field='username', method='POST', rate='1/m')
def login(request):
    # Limits is a dict that looks like this:
    # {'period': 60, 'field': 'username', 'count', 1}
    # This can give you more insight into how to deal with
    # the ratelimiting issue.
    limits =  getattr(request, 'limits', {})

    if limits:
        return http.HttpResponseRedirect(urlresolvers.reverse(

Implementation Details:

Some Required Customization

By default we only track the IP that we get from request.META['HOST_ADDR']. Unless your webservers are sitting directly on routable IPs and have no loadbalancers or upstream proxies, this is probably not what you want!

Since this is a deployment detail, we leave this up to those who choose to implement Django Brake. You do so with a simple bit of Inheritence and override.


# In its own module, or in your view module; however you like:

from brake.backends import cachebe

class MyBrake(cachebe.CacheBackend):
    def get_ip(self, request):
        return request.META.get(

# Now in your settings.py:

RATELIMIT_CACHE_BACKEND = 'path.to.module.MyBrake'

.. note:: RATELIMIT_CACHE_BACKEND is now a string of the path to a class. The class itself should be the last in the chain.

.. note:: RATELIMIT_STATUS_CODE is another setting you might set if you'd like the decorator to return something other than 403 if block=True.


These are variables which you do not need to modify directly, but are essential to the functioning of Brake

:function_name: This is the name of the function decorated with Brake; this allows us to separate into different "buckets" for each view. This is automatically added and doesn't need to be specified. :period: This is derrived from the rate information passed in as a string. It's the number of seconds for which the increment on a bucket + period will be valid. It sets the TTL in memcache.

The cache key structure from one bad login attempt from our example above would look something like this:


# The form value derived counters:
rl:func:<function_name>:period:<60>:field:<username>:<sha1 of username>
rl:func:<function_name>:period:<3600>:field:<username>:<sha1 of username>
rl:func:<function_name>:period:<86400>:field:<username>:<sha1 of username>
# The IP derived counters:

All period numbers are equivilent to the TTL for that key.

If any of these thresholds are passed, then the view will 403. This is a huge improvement in terms of usablity and security of many existing ratelimiting applications.


To run the test you need to simply run:


virtualenv django-brake
cd django-brake
. bin/activate
python setup.py develop

There's no slick test runner since we're trying not to fully integrate with Django. See brake/tests/tests.py for more code examples.


Thanks to James Socol (jsocol) on Github. A vast majority of the work on this project is his (django-ratelimit).

Also thanks to Simon Willison's ratelimitcache, on which Jsocol's version of this library is largly based.

.. _jsocol: http://github.com/jsocol .. _django-ratelimit: https://github.com/jsocol/django-ratelimit .. _Simon Willison: http://simonwillison.net/ .. _ratelimitcache: https://github.com/simonw/ratelimitcache

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