Django Registration redux

So, 4 years ago [already??] I wrote a post about a shortcut to getting "User registration with verification email", using very little code by leveraging the password reset machinery built into Django.

Since then, of course, Django has moved on... and recently, the auth views were rewritten as class-based views, which changes the game entirely.

As a result, I've committed to providing here an updated version of the previous post.

A lot of the following is copied verbatim from the previous article, but I will update the docs links (from Django 1.7 to 2.1) and clarify where it's been found valuable.

It's important to note that you should do all of this right at the very start of your project, as advised here

Step 1: User model

This step has not changed much. We follow the steps here .

We'll start an app called 'accounts' by running startapp accounts

Then we'll create a User model in there, which inherits from AbstractBaseUser and PermissionsMixin.

from django.db import models
from django.contrib.auth.models import AbstractBaseUser, PermissionsMixin

class User(AbstractBaseUser, PermissionsMixin):
    USERNAME_FIELD = 'email'

    email = models.EmailField(unique=True)
    is_active = models.BooleanField(default=False)
    is_staff = models.BooleanField(default=False)

    # Admin expects these two methods.
    def get_full_name(self):

    def get_short_name(self):

Add to this whatever other fields you record against all your users - name, avatar image, what have you.

Why AbstractBaseUser, and not AbstractUser? Because AbstractUser implements the default Django user model, and we don't want that. Notably, it includes 'username' as unique, and 'email' as not.

PermissionsMixin gives us is_superuser, groups and user_permissions, as well as the right methods to participate in the normal permissions machinery.

Now we also need to add a custom Manager to help the rest of Django.

from django.contrib.auth.models import BaseUserManager

class UserManager(BaseUserManager):

    def _create_user(self, email, password, **kwargs):
        user = self.model(
        return user

    def create_user(self, email, password, **kwargs):
        kwargs.setdefault('is_staff', False)
        kwargs.setdefault('is_superuser', False)
        return self._create_user(email, password, **kwargs)

    def create_superuser(self, email, password, **kwargs):
        kwargs.setdefault('is_superuser', True)
        kwargs.setdefault('is_staff', True)
        return self._create_user(email, password, **kwargs)

You may be wondering what "normalize_email" does? That lower-cases the host name of the email address (everything right of the @) to avoid case clashes. Many people wonder why not also lower case the mailbox name (everything left of the @)? According to the RFCs, that's an invalid transform - you can assume host names are lower case-able, but not mailboxes.

Next we tell our User model to use this by adding:

objects = UserManager()

to your User model.

Finally, set AUTH_USER_MODEL in your

AUTH_USER_MODEL = "accounts.User"

2. Registration

This is where the clever part comes.

Instead of creating all our own code to manage sending the email and verifying the token, we can re-use the existing password reset machinery that's built into Django!

Let's face it, what's the difference between a verification email for registration, and one for password reset?

We just need to hook in the existing views, and tweak them to use different templates.

We will need to create a form, so in accounts/ add:

from django import forms

from . import models

class RegistrationForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = models.User
        fields = ['email']

Notice we don't put the password here. Later when the users passes through the PasswordResetConfirmView their new password will be set.

Next we create a sub-class of the default PasswordResetForm. In PasswordResetView, it's actually the form class that contains all the code to send the emails.

This form has a get_user method which will query for Users with matching emails, as well as is_active being True, and will then filter for those having a "usable" password.

We need to change how it finds the list of users to send emails, since we already have the User:

from django.contrib.auth.forms import PasswordResetForm

class RegistrationEmailForm(PasswordResetForm):
    def __init__(self, user, *args, **kwargs):
        self.user = user
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)

    def get_users(self, email):
        return (self.user,)

Now, we add our registration view to accounts/

from django.contrib.auth.views import PasswordResetView
from django.urls import reverse_lazy

from . import forms

class UserRegistrationView(PasswordResetView):
    template_name = 'register/register_form.html'
    form_class = forms.RegistrationForm
    email_template_name = 'register/registration_email.txt'
    # html_email_template_name = Set
    subject_template_name = 'register/registration_subject.txt'
    success_url = reverse_lazy('register-done')

    def form_valid(self, form):
        self.object =
        self.object.is_active = True

        form = forms.RegistrationEmailForm(self.object, self.request.POST)
        form.is_valid()  # Must trigger validation
        return super().form_valid(form)

So here we're taking the existing PasswordResetView, and overriding a bunch of attributes, as well as extending the form_valid method to save our User, then replace the form with our custom sub-class of PasswordResetForm.

As a precaution, we set an unusable password on the user. This guarantees they can't log in, and must complete the email verification to set as password.

Lastly we, create our accounts/ Instead of sub-classing all of the other views, we can override their config attributes when calling as_view():

from django.contrib.auth import views as auth
from django.urls import path, reverse_lazy

from . import views

urlpatterns = [


This is a near exact copy of django.contrib.auth.urls, but for three things:

  1. We're using our own UserRegistrationView instead of PasswordResetView
  2. We've changed the template_names.
  3. We've altered the success_urls to point to our own urls.

Finally, hook these URLs into your root

urlpatterns = [
    path(r'accounts/', include('accounts.urls', namespace='accounts')),


Remember to write the following templates:

  • register/register.html : Presents the registration form, including the email field.
  • register/registration_email.txt : Body of the verification email
  • register/registration_subject.txt : Subject-line of the verification email

See here for what context is provided.

  • register/register_done.html : Shown after the initial registration form is submitted, after the email is sent.

This should instruct the user to check for the email.

  • register/register_confirm.html : Displayed when the user follows the email verification link.

See here for what context is provided.

  • register/register_complete.html : Final step, once password is updated.


Thanks xrogaan for all your feedback!

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