Auto reloading python Flask app upon code changes – Dev

The best answers to the question “Auto reloading python Flask app upon code changes” in the category Dev.


I’m investigating how to develop a decent web app with Python. Since I don’t want some high-order structures to get in my way, my choice fell on the lightweight Flask framework. Time will tell if this was the right choice.

So, now I’ve set up an Apache server with mod_wsgi, and my test site is running fine. However, I’d like to speed up the development routine by making the site automatically reload upon any changes in py or template files I make. I see that any changes in site’s .wsgi file causes reloading (even without WSGIScriptReloading On in the apache config file), but I still have to prod it manually (ie, insert extra linebreak, save). Is there some way how to cause reload when I edit some of the app’s py files? Or, I am expected to use IDE that refreshes the .wsgi file for me?


If you are talking about test/dev environments, then just use the debug option. It will auto-reload the flask app when a code change happens.

Or, from the shell:

$ export FLASK_DEBUG=1
$ flask run


The current recommended way is with the flask command line utility.


$ export
$ export FLASK_ENV=development
$ flask run

or in one command:

$ FLASK_ENV=development flask run

If you want different port than the default (5000) add --port option.


$ FLASK_ENV=development flask run --port 8080

More options are available with:

$ flask run --help

FLASK_APP can also be set to module:app or module:create_app instead of See for a full explanation.


If you’re running using uwsgi look at the python auto reload option:

uwsgi --py-autoreload 1

Example uwsgi-dev-example.ini:

socket =
master = true
virtualenv = /Users/xxxx/.virtualenvs/sites_env
chdir = /Users/xxx/site_root
module = site_module:register_debug_server()
callable = app
uid = myuser
chmod-socket = 660
log-date = true
workers = 1
py-autoreload = 1


def register_debug_server():
    from werkzeug.debug import DebuggedApplication

    app = Flask(__name__)
    app.debug = True
    app = DebuggedApplication(app, evalex=True)
    return app

Then run:

uwsgi --ini uwsgi-dev-example.ini

Note: This example also enables the debugger.

I went this route to mimic production as close as possible with my nginx setup. Simply running the flask app with it’s built in web server behind nginx it would result in a bad gateway error.


In test/development environments

The werkzeug debugger already has an ‘auto reload’ function available that can be enabled by doing one of the following:


app.debug = True

You can also use a separate configuration file to manage all your setup if you need be. For example I use ‘’ with a ‘DEBUG = True’ option. Importing this file is easy too;


However this is not suitable for a production environment.

Production environment

Personally I chose Nginx + uWSGI over Apache + mod_wsgi for a few performance reasons but also the configuration options. The touch-reload option allows you to specify a file/folder that will cause the uWSGI application to reload your newly deployed flask app.

For example, your update script pulls your newest changes down and touches ‘reload_me.txt’ file. Your uWSGI ini script (which is kept up by Supervisord – obviously) has this line in it somewhere:

touch-reload = '/opt/virtual_environments/application/reload_me.txt'

I hope this helps!