How to Solve: django.db.migrations.exceptions.InconsistentMigrationHistory When Running migrate

In this article, I walk through how to solve the InconsistentMigrationHistory error when running a migration. While wiping your database is a solution, it isn’t ideal, especially if you’re working in a non-dev environment. Here’s how to do it safely.

The Error

This error occurs sometimes if you’re running a migration:

$ ./ migrate
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<my_project>/./", line 22, in <module>
File "<my_project>/./", line 18, in main
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 442, in execute_from_command_line
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 436, in execute
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 412, in run_from_argv
self.execute(*args, **cmd_options)
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 458, in execute
output = self.handle(*args, **options)
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 106, in wrapper
res = handle_func(*args, **kwargs)
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/core/management/commands/", line 156, in handle
File "<my_project>/.venv/lib/python3.10/site-packages/django/db/migrations/", line 327, in check_consistent_history
raise InconsistentMigrationHistory(
django.db.migrations.exceptions.InconsistentMigrationHistory: Migration socialaccount.0001_initial is applied before its dependency sites.0001_initial on database 'default'.

In this case, this is because I had installed and migrated the socialaccount app before I added django.contrib.sites to INSTALLED_APPS .

I had already deployed this to production, so I didn’t want to do a database wipe.

Instead, I used this procedure to get the project back on track.

Enter the dbshell

Enter the DB shell. My database is PostgreSQL. If you’re using something different, ensure the queries are converted accordingly.

$ ENV_FILE=../.env.staging ./ dbshell

First back up the migrations table.

CREATE TABLE bak1_django_migrations AS SELECT * FROM django_migrations;

Let’s get a bearing on what migrations are already applied.

> SELECT DISTINCT(app) FROM django_migrations WHERE app IN ('socialaccount', 'sites');

Yup, as expected, looks like socialaccount was applied, but not sites .

Now we’re going to delete the socialccount migration. Remember how we made a back-up previously? If not, do that first. It’s just a single copy-and-paste command. Just do it.

So, on to the deletion:

DELETE FROM django_migrations WHERE app = 'socialaccount';

Also delete the tables. If your tables have data, then back them up. In this case (because socialaccount has relational tables), I needed to delete several:

DROP TABLE socialaccount_socialapp;
DROP TABLE socialaccount_socialaccount CASCADE;

If your tables had data, don’t worry (I mean, worry if you DIDN’T back up your tables). We’ll restore the data in a bit.

Our Migration Should Succeed Now

Now our migration should succeed:

$ ENV_FILE=../.env.staging ./ migrate
using ENV_PATH <env_path>
System check identified some issues:

Operations to perform:
Apply all migrations: ....
Running migrations:
Applying sites.0001_initial... OK
Applying sites.0002_alter_domain_unique... OK
Applying socialaccount.0001_initial... OK
Applying socialaccount.0002_token_max_lengths... OK
Applying socialaccount.0003_extra_data_default_dict... OK

If the tables you deleted (e.g. the socialaccount tables) had data in them, then restore them from the backup tables:

INSERT INTO socialaccount_socialaccount
SELECT * FROM bak1_socialaccount_socialaccount;

This assumes these tables are not part of a new migration (e.g. they have the exact same schema). If there’s any migration applied, then it will require more work. Probably fodder for another article.

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Jordan H (Principal, Damn Good Tech) #openforwork

Senior Full Stack Developer & Tech Lead (#openforwork)