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Forest Admin: A Django Admin Alternative

Looking for a Django Admin alternative? Read the comprehensive comparison between both internal tool solutions in terms of technical aspects, UI, security, and more.

Forest Admin versus Django

Updated on the 2nd of March 2023

In 2009, I came across the Django web framework, which completely changed my life as a web developer. One of the things that really stood out to me was their admin panel plugin, Django Admin. With just a few lines of code, you could have a fully-functional admin panel with all the standard CRUD features - I was amazed. At that time, I don't remember any other framework that had such an advanced admin panel generator.

Django Admin was my biggest inspiration behind Forest Admin! With its limitations in mind, I set out to create a more advanced admin panel that would help businesses scale without the usual headaches associated with such growth. With experience, I found that Django Admin had limitations that hindered companies from scaling, especially for business use cases. Comparing Django Admin to Forest Admin will help guide your choice of admin panel for your web application.

User Interface

Django Admin provides a pre-built user interface, but if you want to extend its functionality, you need to write code. On the other hand, Forest Admin for Django also provides a pre-built user interface, but it goes a step further by allowing both technical and non-technical users to customize it using a "visual builder" or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. This means that you can make changes to the interface by simply clicking and dragging elements, without needing to write any code.

User Experience

Forest Admin is designed with a focus on user experience, making it easy and intuitive for business users to manage their data and perform common operations. In contrast, Django Admin is primarily a developer tool and may not be as user-friendly for business users who are not familiar with coding or technical terminology. This can make it more difficult for a company to adopt Django Admin as their primary admin panel, potentially hindering their ability to manage their business operations effectively.

An example of the Django Admin list view.
Django Admin
An example of the Forest Admin collection view.
Forest Admin


Forest Admin is API-based, which means that the user interface fetches data from an API that is connected to the data source. This approach allows for a decoupling of the front-end and back-end, and makes it easy to switch between different data sources. In contrast, Django Admin is a server-side rendering application, which means that the server renders the HTML and sends it to the client. This approach can sometimes result in slower performance and less flexibility compared to an API-based approach.

Out-of-the-Box Standard Features

Forest Admin provides standard features such as search, filters, relationships, segmentation, and many more out of the box. This means that you can start using these features immediately without needing to define them in your application. In contrast, Django Admin requires you to define the user interface in your application, and sometimes this requires a detailed definition using filters to create segmentation, for example. This can result in extra work and complexity, especially if you're dealing with large amounts of data.


In terms of performance, Django Admin can sometimes suffer from performance issues, particularly when dealing with large data sets and relationships. For example, a classic scenario is when using the "belongsTo" relationship with a large data set, which can cause the browser to crash due to the sheer number of options in the native HTML dropdown. While there are many workarounds available online, Forest Admin has always been designed with performance in mind, making it effortless to benefit from an optimized experience. This can be especially valuable for companies that need to manage large amounts of data and require a responsive and efficient admin panel.


When it comes to security, Django Admin provides a pre-built permissions system that you can configure through code. On the other hand, Forest Admin not only provides a standard RBAC permission system that you can customize in the user interface to fit your needs, but it also includes a series of other security features natively. For example, Forest Admin offers IP Whitelisting, Autologout, enforced 2FA authentication, and more.


Django Admin is a purely open-source admin panel that customers can host themselves. In contrast, Forest Admin has a hybrid SaaS architecture that allows customers to benefit from the advantages of both self-hosted and SaaS models. The data and the API generated are hosted on the customer's side, and everything is open source, while the UI is hosted on a SaaS platform. This provides customers with flexibility, security, data privacy, continuous improvement, scalability, and performance.

Conclusion: A Powerful Django Admin Alternative

In many cases, developers start with Django Admin and assume they'll figure out a better solution later. However, Forest Admin offers a more advanced feature set and requires significantly less maintenance for better results. So if you want to start strong with a robust admin panel that's designed to scale and support your business operations, Forest Admin is the perfect choice. Don't settle for less when you can have more from the very beginning.

Feature Forest Admin Django Admin
User Interface Pre-built with customizable visual builder Pre-built, requires code to extend functionality
User Experience Designed for business users, intuitive Primarily a developer tool, may not be user-friendly for business users
API API-based, easy to switch data sources Server-side rendering, less flexibility
Out-of-the-Box Standard Features Provides many features out of the box Requires defining user interface in application
Performance Designed with performance in mind Can suffer from performance issues with large data sets
Security Standard RBAC system with additional security features Pre-built permissions system
Hosting Hybrid SaaS architecture Open-source and self-hosted