Mastering Custom Routing in Django Rest Framework (DRF)

In Django Rest Framework, you can customize routing by defining custom URL patterns that map to views. You can do this by defining a file in your app’s directory and using the url() function to define URL patterns that map to views.

Django Rest Framework (DRF) is a versatile and powerful tool for building RESTful APIs. While DRF provides a robust default routing system, there are scenarios where you might need more flexibility. In such cases, custom routing comes to the rescue. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of custom routing in DRF, discuss its use cases, and provide practical examples of how to implement it effectively.

Understanding Custom Routing

Custom routing in DRF allows you to define and control the URL patterns for your API endpoints explicitly. Unlike the default routing provided by DRF’s routers, which follow a convention, custom routing gives you complete freedom to define your API’s URL structure according to your specific requirements.

Use Cases for Custom Routing

Here are some common scenarios where custom routing is beneficial:

  • Unique URL Structure: When your API’s URL structure does not align with the default router’s conventions.
  • Dynamic Endpoints: Creating endpoints based on dynamic data or user input.
  • API Versioning: Implementing versioning for your API.
  • Custom Actions: Defining custom actions beyond the standard CRUD operations.

Implementing Custom Routing in DRF

To implement custom routing in DRF, you’ll need to define the routes explicitly in your project’s file. You can leverage Django’s URL patterns to create custom routes and map them to your API views.

Examples of Custom Routing

Let’s explore some practical examples of custom routing in DRF:

Endpoint Customization


from django.urls import path
from . import views

urlpatterns = [
    path('api/products/', views.ProductList.as_view(), name='product-list'),
    path('api/products/<int:pk>/', views.ProductDetail.as_view(), name='product-detail'),
    path('api/products/<int:pk>/reviews/', views.ProductReviews.as_view(), name='product-reviews'),

In this example, we customize the URL patterns for product-related endpoints to match a specific structure.

Dynamic Routing


from django.urls import path
from . import views

urlpatterns = [
    path('api/articles/<slug:category>/', views.CategoryArticles.as_view(), name='category-articles'),

Here, we create a dynamic endpoint based on the category slug, allowing users to access articles in different categories.

Read more on How to Generate Slug URL in Django using Slugify



from django.urls import path, include
from rest_framework.urlpatterns import format_suffix_patterns
from . import views

v1_patterns = [
    path('products/', views.ProductListV1.as_view(), name='product-list-v1'),
    # More version 1 endpoints...

v2_patterns = [
    path('products/', views.ProductListV2.as_view(), name='product-list-v2'),
    # More version 2 endpoints...

urlpatterns = [
    path('api/v1/', include(v1_patterns)),
    path('api/v2/', include(v2_patterns)),

urlpatterns = format_suffix_patterns(urlpatterns)

In this example, we implement API versioning by defining separate URL patterns for version 1 and version 2 of the API.

Read more on Versioning APIs in Django Rest Framework Guide with Examples

Custom Actions


from rest_framework import viewsets
from rest_framework.decorators import action
from rest_framework.response import Response

class ProductViewSet(viewsets.ModelViewSet):
    queryset = Product.objects.all()
    serializer_class = ProductSerializer

    @action(detail=True, methods=['GET'])
    def reviews(self, request, pk=None):
        product = self.get_object()
        reviews =
        serializer = ReviewSerializer(reviews, many=True)
        return Response(

In this example, we define a custom action reviews that retrieves reviews for a specific product.

Best Practices for Custom Routing

  • Documentation: Ensure that your custom routing is well-documented, especially when it deviates from standard conventions.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistency in your custom routing structure throughout your API.
  • Permissions: Implement appropriate permissions and authentication for custom endpoints as needed.


Custom routing in Django Rest Framework gives you the flexibility to design your API’s URL structure according to your specific requirements. Whether you need unique URL patterns, dynamic routing, versioning, or custom actions, custom routing allows you to tailor your API to suit your project’s needs. By following the examples and best practices outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well-equipped to implement custom routing efectively in your DRF projects, providing a highly customizable and powerful API..

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