We’ve built a small Django example here: MemCachier Django sample app.

We support the pylibmc memcache client as it has great performance and Python 3 support. However, it can sometimes be difficult to install locally as it relies on the C libmemcached library. If you prefer, you can try a pure python client, python-binary-memcached. You'll also need the django-bmemcached package.

Here we explain how you setup and install MemCachier with Django. Please see the Django caching guide for how you effectively use MemCachier. Django supports whole site caching, per-view caching and fragement caching.

MemCachier has been tested with the pylibmc memcache client. This is a great client, fully-featured, high-performance and Python 2 & 3 support. As of Version 1.11 Django has out-of-the-box support for pylibmc. Older Django versions require django-pylibmc to work with MemCachier. Please follow the instructions in this example if you wish to use an older version.

The pylibmc client relies on the C libmemcached library. This should be fairly straight-forward to install with your package manager on Linux or Windows. For Mac OSX users, homebrew provides and easy solution. We also have a blog post for Ubuntu users on how to do this.

Once libmemcached is installed, then install pylibmc:

$ pip install pylibmc

Be sure to update your requirements.txt file with these new requirements (note that your versions may differ than what’s below):


Heroku Users: The above pylibmc requirements must be added directly to your requirements.txt file. They shouldn't be placed in an included pip requirement file. The Heroku Python buildpack checks the requirements.txt file and only that file for the presence of pylibmc to trigger bootstrapping libmemcached, which is prerequisite for installing pylibmc.

Next, configure your file the following way:

servers = os.environ['MEMCACHIER_SERVERS']
username = os.environ['MEMCACHIER_USERNAME']
password = os.environ['MEMCACHIER_PASSWORD']

    'default': {
        # Use pylibmc
        'BACKEND': 'django.core.cache.backends.memcached.PyLibMCCache',

        # TIMEOUT is not the connection timeout! It's the default expiration
        # timeout that should be applied to keys! Setting it to `None`
        # disables expiration.
        'TIMEOUT': None,

        'LOCATION': servers,

        'OPTIONS': {
            # Use binary memcache protocol (needed for authentication)
            'binary': True,
            'username': username,
            'password': password,
            'behaviors': {
                # Enable faster IO
                'no_block': True,
                'tcp_nodelay': True,

                # Keep connection alive
                'tcp_keepalive': True,

                # Timeout settings
                'connect_timeout': 2000, # ms
                'send_timeout': 750 * 1000, # us
                'receive_timeout': 750 * 1000, # us
                '_poll_timeout': 2000, # ms

                # Better failover
                'ketama': True,
                'remove_failed': 1,
                'retry_timeout': 2,
                'dead_timeout': 30,

The values for MEMCACHIER_SERVERS, MEMCACHIER_USERNAME, and MEMCACHIER_PASSWORD are listed on your cache overview page. Make sure to add them to your environment.

After this, you can start writing cache code in your Django app:

from django.core.cache import cache
cache.set("foo", "bar")
print cache.get("foo")

You may also be interested in the django-heroku-memcacheify pip, which fully configures MemCachier with one line of code for any Django app the pip supports.

A confusing error message you may get from pylibmc is MemcachedError: error 37 from memcached_set: SYSTEM ERROR (Resource temporarily unavailable). This indicates that you are trying to store a value larger than 1MB. MemCachier has a hard limit of 1MB for the size of key-value pairs. To work around this, either consider sharding the data or using a different technology. The benefit of an in-memory key-value store diminishes at 1MB and higher.