Configuration Overview

Gunicorn pulls configuration information from three distinct places.

The first place that Gunicorn will read configuration from is the framework specific configuration file. Currently this only affects Paster applications.

The second source of configuration information is a configuration file that is optionally specified on the command line. Anything specified in the Gunicorn config file will override any framework specific settings.

Lastly, the command line arguments used to invoke Gunicorn are the final place considered for configuration settings. If an option is specified on the command line, this is the value that will be used.

Once again, in order of least to most authoritative:
  1. Framework Settings
  2. Configuration File
  3. Command Line


To check your configuration when using the command line or the configuration file you can run the following command:

$ gunicorn --check-config

It will also allows you to know if your applican can be launched.

Framework Settings

Currently, only Paster applications have access to framework specific settings. If you have ideas for providing settings to WSGI applications or pulling information from Django’s feel free to open an issue to let us know.

Paster Applications

In your INI file, you can specify to use Gunicorn as the server like such:

use = egg:gunicorn#main
host =
port = 80
workers = 2
proc_name = brim

Any parameters that Gunicorn knows about will automatically be inserted into the base configuration. Remember that these will be overridden by the config file and/or the command line.

Configuration File

The configuration file should be a valid Python source file. It only needs to be readable from the file system. More specifically, it does not need to be importable. Any Python is valid. Just consider that this will be run every time you start Gunicorn (including when you signal Gunicorn to reload).

To set a parameter, just assign to it. There’s no special syntax. The values you provide will be used for the configuration values.

For instance:

import multiprocessing

bind = ""
workers = multiprocessing.cpu_count() * 2 + 1

On a side note, Python’s older than 2.6 can use sysconf to get the number of processors:

import os

def numCPUs():
    if not hasattr(os, "sysconf"):
        raise RuntimeError("No sysconf detected.")
    return os.sysconf("SC_NPROCESSORS_ONLN")

Command Line

If an option is specified on the command line, it overrides all other values that may have been specified in the app specific settings, or in the optional configuration file. Not all Gunicorn settings are available to be set from the command line. To see the full list of command line settings you can do the usual:

$ gunicorn -h

There is also a --version flag available to the command line scripts that isn’t mentioned in the list of settings.


This is an exhaustive list of settings for Gunicorn. Some settings are only able to be set from a configuration file. The setting name is what should be used in the configuration file. The command line arguments are listed as well for reference on setting at the command line.

Config File


  • -c FILE, --config FILE
  • None

The path to a Gunicorn config file.

Only has an effect when specified on the command line or as part of an application specific configuration.

Server Socket


  • -b ADDRESS, --bind ADDRESS
  • ['']

The socket to bind.

A string of the form: ‘HOST’, ‘HOST:PORT’, ‘unix:PATH’. An IP is a valid HOST.

Multiple addresses can be bound. ex.:

$ gunicorn -b -b [::1]:8000 test:app

will bind the test:app application on localhost both on ipv6 and ipv4 interfaces.


  • --backlog INT
  • 2048

The maximum number of pending connections.

This refers to the number of clients that can be waiting to be served. Exceeding this number results in the client getting an error when attempting to connect. It should only affect servers under significant load.

Must be a positive integer. Generally set in the 64-2048 range.

Worker Processes


  • -w INT, --workers INT
  • 1

The number of worker process for handling requests.

A positive integer generally in the 2-4 x $(NUM_CORES) range. You’ll want to vary this a bit to find the best for your particular application’s work load.


  • -k STRING, --worker-class STRING
  • sync

The type of workers to use.

The default class (sync) should handle most ‘normal’ types of workloads. You’ll want to read for information on when you might want to choose one of the other worker classes.

A string referring to one of the following bundled classes:

  • sync
  • eventlet - Requires eventlet >= 0.9.7
  • gevent - Requires gevent >= 0.12.2 (?)
  • tornado - Requires tornado >= 0.2

Optionally, you can provide your own worker by giving gunicorn a python path to a subclass of gunicorn.workers.base.Worker. This alternative syntax will load the gevent class: gunicorn.workers.ggevent.GeventWorker. Alternatively the syntax can also load the gevent class with egg:gunicorn#gevent


  • --worker-connections INT
  • 1000

The maximum number of simultaneous clients.

This setting only affects the Eventlet and Gevent worker types.


  • --max-requests INT
  • 0

The maximum number of requests a worker will process before restarting.

Any value greater than zero will limit the number of requests a work will process before automatically restarting. This is a simple method to help limit the damage of memory leaks.

If this is set to zero (the default) then the automatic worker restarts are disabled.


  • -t INT, --timeout INT
  • 30

Workers silent for more than this many seconds are killed and restarted.

Generally set to thirty seconds. Only set this noticeably higher if you’re sure of the repercussions for sync workers. For the non sync workers it just means that the worker process is still communicating and is not tied to the length of time required to handle a single request.


  • --graceful-timeout INT
  • 30

Timeout for graceful workers restart.

Generally set to thirty seconds. How max time worker can handle request after got restart signal. If the time is up worker will be force killed.


  • --keep-alive INT
  • 2

The number of seconds to wait for requests on a Keep-Alive connection.

Generally set in the 1-5 seconds range.



  • --limit-request-line INT
  • 4094

The maximum size of HTTP request line in bytes.

This parameter is used to limit the allowed size of a client’s HTTP request-line. Since the request-line consists of the HTTP method, URI, and protocol version, this directive places a restriction on the length of a request-URI allowed for a request on the server. A server needs this value to be large enough to hold any of its resource names, including any information that might be passed in the query part of a GET request. Value is a number from 0 (unlimited) to 8190.

This parameter can be used to prevent any DDOS attack.


  • --limit-request-fields INT
  • 100

Limit the number of HTTP headers fields in a request.

This parameter is used to limit the number of headers in a request to prevent DDOS attack. Used with the limit_request_field_size it allows more safety. By default this value is 100 and can’t be larger than 32768.


  • --limit-request-field_size INT
  • 8190

Limit the allowed size of an HTTP request header field.

Value is a number from 0 (unlimited) to 8190. to set the limit on the allowed size of an HTTP request header field.



  • --debug
  • False

Turn on debugging in the server.

This limits the number of worker processes to 1 and changes some error handling that’s sent to clients.


  • --spew
  • False

Install a trace function that spews every line executed by the server.

This is the nuclear option.


  • --check-config
  • False

Check the configuration..

Server Mechanics


  • --preload
  • False

Load application code before the worker processes are forked.

By preloading an application you can save some RAM resources as well as speed up server boot times. Although, if you defer application loading to each worker process, you can reload your application code easily by restarting workers.


  • -D, --daemon
  • False

Daemonize the Gunicorn process.

Detaches the server from the controlling terminal and enters the background.


  • -p FILE, --pid FILE
  • None

A filename to use for the PID file.

If not set, no PID file will be written.


  • -u USER, --user USER
  • 1001

Switch worker processes to run as this user.

A valid user id (as an integer) or the name of a user that can be retrieved with a call to pwd.getpwnam(value) or None to not change the worker process user.


  • -g GROUP, --group GROUP
  • 1001

Switch worker process to run as this group.

A valid group id (as an integer) or the name of a user that can be retrieved with a call to pwd.getgrnam(value) or None to not change the worker processes group.


  • -m INT, --umask INT
  • 0

A bit mask for the file mode on files written by Gunicorn.

Note that this affects unix socket permissions.

A valid value for the os.umask(mode) call or a string compatible with int(value, 0) (0 means Python guesses the base, so values like “0”, “0xFF”, “0022” are valid for decimal, hex, and octal representations)


  • None

Directory to store temporary request data as they are read.

This may disappear in the near future.

This path should be writable by the process permissions set for Gunicorn workers. If not specified, Gunicorn will choose a system generated temporary directory.



A dictionary containing headers and values that the front-end proxy uses to indicate HTTPS requests. These tell gunicorn to set wsgi.url_scheme to “https”, so your application can tell that the request is secure.

The dictionary should map upper-case header names to exact string values. The value comparisons are case-sensitive, unlike the header names, so make sure they’re exactly what your front-end proxy sends when handling HTTPS requests.

It is important that your front-end proxy configuration ensures that the headers defined here can not be passed directly from the client.



Set the X-Forwarded-For header that identify the originating IP address of the client connection to gunicorn via a proxy.



Front-end’s IPs from which allowed to handle X-Forwarded-* headers. (comma separate).

Set to “*” to disable checking of Front-end IPs (useful for setups where you don’t know in advance the IP address of Front-end, but you still trust the environment)



  • --access-logfile FILE
  • None

The Access log file to write to.

“-” means log to stderr.


  • --access-logformat STRING
  • "%(h)s %(l)s %(u)s %(t)s "%(r)s" %(s)s %(b)s "%(f)s" "%(a)s"

The Access log format .

By default:

%(h)s %(l)s %(u)s %(t)s “%(r)s” %(s)s %(b)s “%(f)s” “%(a)s”

h: remote address l: ‘-‘ u: currently ‘-‘, may be user name in future releases t: date of the request r: status line (ex: GET / HTTP/1.1) s: status b: response length or ‘-‘ f: referer a: user agent T: request time in seconds D: request time in microseconds, p: process ID {Header}i: request header {Header}o: response header


  • --error-logfile FILE, --log-file FILE
  • -

The Error log file to write to.

“-” means log to stderr.


  • --log-level LEVEL
  • info

The granularity of Error log outputs.

Valid level names are:

  • debug
  • info
  • warning
  • error
  • critical


  • --logger-class STRING
  • simple

The logger you want to use to log events in gunicorn.

The default class (gunicorn.glogging.Logger) handle most of normal usages in logging. It provides error and access logging.

You can provide your own worker by giving gunicorn a python path to a subclass like gunicorn.glogging.Logger. Alternatively the syntax can also load the Logger class with egg:gunicorn#simple


  • --log-config FILE
  • None

The log config file to use. Gunicorn uses the standard Python logging module’s Configuration file format.

Process Naming


  • -n STRING, --name STRING
  • None

A base to use with setproctitle for process naming.

This affects things like ps and top. If you’re going to be running more than one instance of Gunicorn you’ll probably want to set a name to tell them apart. This requires that you install the setproctitle module.

It defaults to ‘gunicorn’.


  • gunicorn

Internal setting that is adjusted for each type of application.



  • --settings STRING
  • None

The Python path to a Django settings module.

e.g. ‘myproject.settings.main’. If this isn’t provided, the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable will be used.

Server Mechanics


  • --pythonpath STRING
  • None

A directory to add to the Python path for Django.

e.g. ‘/home/djangoprojects/myproject’.

Server Hooks


  • def on_starting(server):

Called just before the master process is initialized.

The callable needs to accept a single instance variable for the Arbiter.


  • def on_reload(server):

Called to recycle workers during a reload via SIGHUP.

The callable needs to accept a single instance variable for the Arbiter.


  • def when_ready(server):

Called just after the server is started.

The callable needs to accept a single instance variable for the Arbiter.


  • def pre_fork(server, worker):

Called just before a worker is forked.

The callable needs to accept two instance variables for the Arbiter and new Worker.


  • def post_fork(server, worker):

Called just after a worker has been forked.

The callable needs to accept two instance variables for the Arbiter and new Worker.


  • def pre_exec(server):

Called just before a new master process is forked.

The callable needs to accept a single instance variable for the Arbiter.


  • def pre_request(worker, req):
        worker.log.debug("%s %s" % (req.method, req.path))

Called just before a worker processes the request.

The callable needs to accept two instance variables for the Worker and the Request.


  • def post_request(worker, req, environ, resp):

Called after a worker processes the request.

The callable needs to accept two instance variables for the Worker and the Request.


  • def worker_exit(server, worker):

Called just after a worker has been exited.

The callable needs to accept two instance variables for the Arbiter and the just-exited Worker.


  • def nworkers_changed(server, new_value, old_value):

Called just after num_workers has been changed.

The callable needs to accept an instance variable of the Arbiter and two integers of number of workers after and before change.

If the number of workers is set for the first time, old_value would be None.

Server Mechanics


  • --proxy-protocol
  • False

Enable detect PROXY protocol (PROXY mode).

Allow using Http and Proxy together. It’s may be useful for work with stunnel as https frondend and gunicorn as http server.

PROXY protocol:

Example for stunnel config:


protocol = proxy accept = 443 connect = 80 cert = /etc/ssl/certs/stunnel.pem key = /etc/ssl/certs/stunnel.key


  • --proxy-allow-from

Front-end’s IPs from which allowed accept proxy requests (comma separate).



  • --keyfile FILE
  • None

SSL key file


  • --certfile FILE
  • None

SSL certificate file



  • --log-syslog-to SYSLOG_ADDR
  • udp://localhost:514

Address to send syslog messages


  • --log-syslog
  • False

Log to syslog.


  • --log-syslog-prefix SYSLOG_PREFIX
  • None

makes gunicorn use the parameter as program-name in the syslog entries.

All entries will be prefixed by gunicorn.<prefix>. By default the program name is the name of the process.


  • --log-syslog-facility SYSLOG_FACILITY
  • user

Syslog facility name