Django vs Rails in 2021: Comparison Performance Frameworks

    Igor Zats
    Igor Zats

    Today we are going to compare Rails vs Django! Basically, these are two well-made web frameworks for web development that have a lot of similarities from the programming perspective. Rails comes from Ruby and Django comes from Python. They are both dynamically-typed, object-oriented languages. But the performance of Ruby on Rails vs Django depends on the projects where they are implemented. On some measures, you can say that they are like twins. The only difference between the two is the language under the hood, their philosophies, and the ecosystem.

    Let's take a look at their histories to understand them better!



      What is Framework Django?

      Django was released in 2005. This Python-based web framework was originally created in order to speed up a news sites development. Today it is an evolved web framework used for general purposes. Some apps built on Django, like Pinterest, Instagram, and Bitbucket, may be quite familiar to you.

      This web framework provides built-in ORM, Authentication, Admin UI, Session management and other juicy tools. It is quite easy to write and read the code in Django. This framework is available under a 3 clause BSD license.

      What is Framework Ruby on Rails?

      This web framework was originally released 10 years ago in 2008. Ruby on Rails quickly gained attention and became more popular than Django. Ruby on Rails powers a lot of popular websites, like Fiverr, GitHub, Basecamp, and Airbnb. As of winter 2017, the number of contributors on GitHub surpassed 3,300.

      Ruby on Rails (just like Django) comes with a basic toolkit that can be used by a developer to build a database-driven app.

      The main principle of Rails is “convention over configuration.”  With Rails, you don't have to write as much code as you do in Django. Ruby on Rails is available under an MIT license.

      Who is More Popular: Django or Rails?

      Let’s examine the some recent data: 

      rails vs django

      As you can see, Ruby is in the top 10, while Django holds only the 12th position. 200,000 more websites have been built with Rails than with Django. The data from the past month shows that Rails has been extending that lead:

      • Ruby on Rails - 6,304 new sites

      • Django - 1,228 new sites

      Rails added 5 times more new websites last month than Django.

      Websites dropped over the past month:

      • Ruby on Rails - 4,062 sites dropped

      • Django - 890 sites dropped

      This paints quite a similar picture. Rails was dropped by 5 times more websites than Django.

      Overall, the net change for the month has the total number of websites using Rails growing by 2,242 and the total number of websites using Django growing by 338.

      If we focus on the tendencies inside the web frameworks ecosystem (websites added vs websites dropped), we see that Rails has a 2.5% growth rate and 98.4% retention rate compared to a growth rate of 2.3% and retention rate of 98.3% for Django.

      Despite the similar growth and retention rates, Rails currently has a small edge in overall popularity, holding 3.3% of the market share, while Django holds only 0.68%.

      Difference Between Ruby on Rails vs Python Django


      The level of performance between both frameworks is quite similar. If you compare Bitbucket (which is based on Django) and Github (which is based on Rails), you'll notice that they are equally fast. If speed is your biggest concern for your website, there is no big difference between Ruby on Rails and Django.


      The architecture of both Rails and Django is based on a well-structured MVC model. Due to this fact, your application will have basic divisions between conventional layers: defined models, controllers, and routes. Things can be implemented differently in Django and Rails, but only in regards to the scheme, so this is not really a concern.


      Django is a great web framework, with which you can build complex database-driven web applications and websites quickly. Meanwhile, Ruby on Rails is your boy if you want to build modern database-backed web apps.


      One of the most popular types of intervention used by perpetrators is XSS attacks. This is a malicious code that is embedded in pages, replacing certain data on websites. For example, it can change links to lead a user to the intruder's site or insert harmful ads. Quite often, such pieces of code remain passive for a long time, which prevents its detection. The consequences of such attacks can be disastrous because they can also be used to take a users' money. The basis of protection against such attacks is a set of filters that developers must integrate into the website or application. It is here that we can see one of the main differences between Python and ROR. Django templates already have built-in filters that protect against most types of harmful inputs. The only thing that remains to do is to strengthen their actions. With Ruby on Rails, not everything is so rosy. XSS attacks are the most common type of violation of the integrity of a site written with this framework. And this behavior can completely destroy the entire web service. Thus, sites developed on ROR require third-party solutions.

      Another type of attack is cross-site request forgery (CSRF). This helps one user to perform actions on behalf of another user without consent. Django has its own tools to identify and prevent most of these types of attacks. Ruby also has some built-in protocols for protecting prototypes, but its developers recommend to always take additional safety measures.

      SQL Injection is a type of action in which a hacker has the ability to execute requests in a database of sites or applications. Such attacks may result in the deletion of all or just parts of the data and information leakage. In Django ORM, developers can protect SQL by shielding its usage. Ruby has special filters that do not execute certain SQL characters. This provides good database security but may require enhanced precautions.

      Among all hacker attacks, Clickjacking is perhaps the most harmless. Its essence is to automatically redirect users to another site. Such attacks are usually used to increase traffic to third-party resources. Django has a standard module called X-Frame-Options that prevents clickjacking. Ruby's logic works a little differently. To be protected against such attacks, developers must add the “X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN” HTTP header to the site’s pages.


      The syntax is a set of rules described by symbols that are part of a running program. Each programming language has its own syntax. To make an application, platform, or website work correctly, developers must mutch their codes to a set of rules. The Python syntax is pretty straightforward and makes it suitable for most projects. Moreover, it is very readable. This is beneficial when a developer must be replaced or added to the project, and the new team member needs to understand the existing code as quickly as possible.

      Many people call ROR syntax elegant. Indeed, to write the same command on Ruby, you need fewer lines of code than on Django. However, the readability of the code on the Ruby framework is more difficult. Thus, a new member of the team will need more time to investigate the project.

      In general, the answer to the question of which syntax is better is based on the preferences of the developer, since this issue does not significantly affect the overall structure of the site that users see. But, it is worth noting that due to its simplicity, it is easier for an entry-level programmer to learn Django.


      API are third-party programs that are executed by your website or application. For example, all built-in payment systems are API. There are also internal APIs that allow different components of the system to communicate with each other. Python has a Django’s REST framework that makes it easy to develop third-party applications. The installation of these tools is quite simple using the pip command. Using the REST functionality, you can create a simple API in just 3 lines of code.

      Comparing Ruby on Rails vs Python, it is worth noting that the first does not have REST technology. This means that the process of creating an API on ROR is very complicated and depends on the skills of the programmer. This tilts the API issue in favor of Django, which makes the development process simpler and more affordable.

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      Development principles

      The Django benchmarks:

      • Reusability

      • Fast development

      • It's easy to write and read your code

      • Explicit is better than implicit

      • DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself)

      The Rails way:

      • DRY

      • ActiveRoad pattern

      • Codes are shorter and cleaner

      • Convention over configuration


      Django is quicker to install. It can take just a few seconds and requires a created virtual end then running a pip install command. Rails takes a little longer to install. First, you have to install bundle and gem, and then run the gem install rails command.

      Third-party libraries

      For Django, there are plenty of third-party libraries and lots of platforms available for free to help you learn about them. We would recommend Django PackagesIt is really hard to find a better one if you are looking for Django Apps. Unfortunately, Rails is not supported by such a hidden treasure.

      Learning curve

      The learning curve is steep for Rails. Because you have to pick up a lot of independent concepts, it's highly recommended that you use a seasoned programmer. Meanwhile, you can learn Django a bit faster, due to the better readability of the code, so it is a good choice for beginners.

      Community and support

      The Ruby community is highly developed. Programmers from all over the world support each other on various blogs and youtube channels. Of course, the Django fan teams are also vast. But it is believed that the ROR community of programmers is more advanced. At the same time, many note the extremely detailed Django documentation. This is no doubt a factor as to why the Django community is less developed. Python's papers are very understandable, allowing even a novice to quickly understand the syntax.

      From the point of view of programming language

      From a user’s point of view, the app is identical no matter how it was built and what framework has been used. If Instagram had been developed with RoR instead of with Django, it would still be the same Instagram we like and use today. The difference is under the cover.

      The main difference is in the programming languages, philosophy, and approach. Python is more about obviousness, while Ruby is about flexibility and freedom.

      Notable open-source  projects


      • Bootcamp - Bootcamp is a simple concept of an enterprise social network with a simple feed app on the front page, similar to Twitter.

      • Woid - Woid is a Django based web crawler that sorts top stories from a website you like to read. It is a good example of a fairly simple Django open-source project that shows how to do simple web-crawling.

      • Parsifal - Parsifal is a tool that performs systematic literature reviews that require a huge amount of time from the researcher.

      • Bloodhound - Bloodhound is another web-crawler, whose purpose is tracking and indexing price movements on retail stores on a daily basis.

      Ruby on Rails:

      • Discourse - Discourse is a simple platform for simple communication, which can be used as a discussion forum or a mailing list.

      • Spree Commerce - Spree Commerce is an open-source platform that can be used to build online storefronts. Some well-known brands like Lavazza, for example, use this platform.

      • Refinery CMS. Refinery CMS is a content management system that offers classy out-of-the-box solutions. It is available for free and supported by a large community.

      • Fat-Free CRM. Fat-Free CRM is a customer relationship management platform that provides automated sales processes. It handles managing contacts, lead tracking,  customer databases, and quotes.

      Python Django vs Ruby on Rails: When Should You Use It?

      You can go with Django if your team prefers the Django philosophy, works with Python, and believes that documentation is your best friend. It is also the right decision if you have to work with Python libraries, like machine learning apps, etc.

      Advantages of Django

      • More control when choosing configuration options and layouts

      • Concise and transparent

      • Most updates are not that painful or frequent compared to RoR

      • Python resembles the English syntax

      • Stronger and more useful in areas such as analytics, scientific programming, data manipulation, and system administration

      If a wide range of plugins is ok for you – that'll be a bonus! Ruby on Rails is a framework that does the work for you, and its web-oriented community will give you a solid backup.

      Benefits of using Ruby on Rails

      • CoC (convention over configuration) philosophy - well-made, structured layout with defaults that you can easily get up and run

      • Pattern-matching characters in syntax and differing characters used as an analog to keywords

      • Good adaptation and speed

      • Large community both offline and online

      Wrapping up

      The choice of the necessary programming language is usually dictated by the latest trend and the desire to make a quality product. Both Django and ROR are great web frameworks that have advantages and disadvantages. However, it is worth emphasizing that with Python, performance is higher. This means that a search on your site will be faster. Additionally, Python is a simple and interesting programming language. Its syntax allows any developer to quickly understand the code and study the project. And this can be very important when you need to meet deadlines. Built-in Django tools also provide more protection modules than Rails. Your site and data will always be reliably secured if you decide to use Python. Besides, such well-known services as Instagram and Pinterest are written on the Python framework.

      The KeyUA team uses various programming languages ​​and frameworks, but focuses mostly on Django. After all, it has already shown its productivity and effectiveness. Our programmers have extensive experience in developing platforms, online stores, and APIs in Python. We also monitor the quality of knowledge, so we are constantly studying new information, trends, and features in web development.

      Depending on your business, we will develop secure project architecture and convenient functionality. Our team cares about customers, therefore we guarantee perfect programming solutions. 


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