AbstractUser vs AbstractBaseUser in Django: User Model

Django is a popular Python web framework, provides flexible options for creating custom user model to manage authentication and user data in your applications. Two key components for defining custom user models are AbstractUser and AbstractBaseUser. In this blog post, we’ ll explore the differences between these two approaches and help you decide which one is suitable for your project.

Understand AbstractUser Model

AbstractUser is built-in Django abstract base class that serves as starting point for creating custom user models. It inherits from AbstractBaseUser and includes common fields and methods required for user authentication and management. When you extend AbstractUser you can add additional fields to the user model, such as name, profile picture or any other user-specific data.

from django.contrib.auth.models import AbstractUser

class CustomUser(AbstractUser):
    # Add custom fields here
    profile_picture = models.ImageField(upload_to='profile_pictures/')
    date_of_birth = models.DateField(null=True, blank=True)

When to Use AbstractUser

  1. Simple User Models: If your application requires straightforward user model with standard authentication features like username, email, and password, AbstractUser is convenient choice. You can extend it to include additional user-related fields.
  2. Leverage Existing Functionality: AbstractUser leverages Django’s built-in authentication functionality, such as authentication backends and management commands. This makes it suitable for most projects where you don’t need highly customized user authentication logic.

Understand AbstractBaseUser User Model

On the other hand, AbstractBaseUser is a more customizable option for creating custom user models. It provides a lower-level, minimalistic base class for user models. When using AbstractBaseUser, you have complete control over the fields and methods required for authentication. You must define these fields and methods yourself.

from django.contrib.auth.models import AbstractBaseUser, BaseUserManager

class CustomUserManager(BaseUserManager):
    def create_user(self, email, password=None):
        # Custom user creation logic

class CustomUser(AbstractBaseUser):
    email = models.EmailField(unique=True)
    # Add custom fields here

    objects = CustomUserManager()

When to Use AbstractBaseUser

  1. Highly Customized Authentication: If your project requires complex authentication logic, such as multi-step registration, social login integration, or unique authentication methods, AbstractBaseUser provides flexibility to implement these features from scratch.
  2. Minimalistic User Models: When you need a minimalistic user model with only a few fields and want to build the rest of the functionality yourself, AbstractBaseUser is a better choice.
  3. Data Privacy Compliance: In cases where you need fine-grained control over user data for compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR, using AbstractBaseUser allows you to manage user data storage .


Choosing between AbstractUser and AbstractBaseUser in Django depends on your project requirements and the level of customization needed for user authentication and management. AbstractUser is a straightforward choice for most projects, offering built-in functionality and extensibility. In contrast, AbstractBaseUser provides complete control for highly customized authentication solutions. Consider your project’s needs and resources when selecting the right approach for your custom user model.

Find this Code on Github.

Check our Blogs on: