Updating Records Efficiently with Django Querysets

Selecting the Records

The first step is selecting the records you want to update from the database. Django provides a rich queryset API that makes it easy to filter down to the specific set of records needed. For example, if we had a BlogPost model, we could select all posts in the database by author “Jane” like this:

posts = BlogPost.objects.filter(author="Jane")  

This returns a queryset containing all matching BlogPost records. We can chain other filters as well to narrow it down further if needed.

Updating the Records

Once we have the queryset containing the records we want to update, we can then update them all in one go using the queryset update() method. This performs an SQL UPDATE statement behind the scenes, updating allRecords in that queryset.

For example, to publish all of Jane’s blog posts, we could do:


Just like that, we’ve selected theRecords we want and applied an update to them in a single line of Python code!

The update() method takes keyword arguments where the keys are the field names to update, and values are the new values to set. This provides a clean way to apply updates.

Optimizing Performance

One thing to keep in mind is that update statements can be slow if updating a large number ofRecords. Django will run these updates one query at a time based on batch sizes.

So for better performance with bulk updates, you can override the batch size to update more records per query. For example:

posts.update(is_published=True, batch_size=500)

This will now update 500 records at a time in each query, helping improve efficiency especially for large tables.

You can also turn off djangoSignals to prevent running possibly expensive hooks on each update. Just use update() like this:

posts.update(is_published=True, update_fields=['is_published'])

The update_fields option limits what fields to update and also skips Signals, further optimizing the update queries.


Updating records while avoiding multiple steps is where Django querysets really shine. With some parameter tweaks for performance, it’s possible to efficiently update exactly the records you need in just one or two lines of Python.

The rich filtering and updates possible mean less database queries overall, while still keeping application code clean. So next time you need bulk updates in Django, reach for querysets to streamline the process!