TemplateDoesNotExist Error in Django

As a Django developer, one of the most common errors you may encounter is the TemplateDoesNotExist error. This error occurs when the Django tries to render a template that does not exist in the location specified. While frustrating, this error is usually easy to resolve once you understand what causes it. In this blog post, we’ll examine the TemplateDoesNotExist error in detail and discuss solutions.

What Causes the TemplateDoesNotExist Error?

First, let’s look at why this error happens. In Django, the template loader is responsible for locating and loading templates to render. By default, it looks for templates in a templates directory inside each app. So if you have a view trying to render app/template.html, Django will look for a template.html file inside the app/templates/ directory.

The TemplateDoesNotExist error occurs when the template loader fails to find a template at the specified path. Some common reasons this happens include:

  • The template file does not exist at all
  • The template file exists but in the wrong location
  • The template path/name specified is incorrect

The error message will specify the path Django tried to load, which helps track down what went wrong.

Solutions for Fixing the TemplateDoesNotExist Error

While frustrating, fixing the TemplateDoesNotExist error is usually straightforward once you know the cause. Here are some common solutions:

1. Check the template file exists

First, validate that the template file does actually exist. If the file is missing entirely, you’ll need to create it at the expected location.

2. Verify the template path/name

Double check that the path or template name specified in the view is correct. A small typo can lead Django to look in the wrong place.

3. Check the template location

Confirm the template is in the proper location as specified by the template directories and loaders settings. The default is inside templates folders within apps, but this can be configured.

4. Add the template location to settings

If the template is in a non-standard location, add that directory path to the DIRS list in the TEMPLATES setting. This will tell Django where to search for the template.

5. Use the full template path name

You can avoid confusion by using the full path name from the templates directory (e.g. myapp/templates/template.html). This removes ambiguities in where Django should look.

Handling Missing Templates Gracefully

When a template is missing, instead of showing an ugly error, you may want to handle it gracefully. Two ways to do this:

  • Create a custom 404 error page template that will be shown when any template is missing.
  • Set up a default template to use as a fallback in the template loader configuration.


To summarize, the Django TemplateDoesNotExist error indicates that the template loader was unable to find a template at the path specified. Some debugging and checking that the template exists in the proper location will usually get things working. Using full path names and configuring custom 404 error pages can help avoid having errors visible to users. With a little care, you can resolve TemplateDoesNotExist errors quickly and deliver seamless experiences in your Django projects.