This is very important question, because it take a lot of time when you met Django for first time. This guide is for setting up Django MEDIA and STATIC files for development environment and it will be more compact then official guide, though I'll give a reference to it.

Configuration of and

First you should consult official documentation and be sure that you've setup proper middleware classes. If you create new project with or using PyCharm then this classes is already in there, but you should check it anyway.

Then you should specify MEDIA_ROOT and STATIC_ROOT:

STATIC_URL = '/static/'  
STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'upgrademystartup', 'static')

MEDIA_URL = '/media/'  
MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'upgrademystartup', 'media')


You could add aditional static files directory if you put it in the tuple STATICFILES_DIRS.

That's all. Now you'll see that all your static files applied you your project without other actions thanks to 'django.contrib.staticfiles'. You shouldn't add anything else to, because middleware manage this for you. But wait. What is about MEDIA? It won't work this way. You should add this in your urls after everything else:

urlpatterns += static(MEDIA_URL, document_root=MEDIA_ROOT)

That's all. It helps me and I hope this guide will help someone, because it's shorter then oficcial guidelines, made for Django 1.8 and really simple.