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This guide is designed for Linux Ubuntu 16.04+ (18.04 tested). Other distributions should be supported with slightly little modifications.

This page describes how to run a production-ready instance of Cytomine in a few steps, either on personal computers (such as laptops, desktops) or on larger servers. Once Cytomine's server is installed, your Cytomine instance can be accessed through a modern web browser or via clients using the RESTful API.

Step 1 - Install requirements

Cytomine runs in Docker containers, so that the only requirement is to install Docker.

Check official Docker documentation to install Docker for Ubuntu. In particular, choose Install using the repository, set up the repository and install Docker CE.

You can optionally improve your Docker installation with the post installation steps for Linux.

Step 2 - Retrieve Cytomine bootstrap

To install Cytomine with the last features from ULiege research team, run these commands:

mkdir Cytomine/
cd Cytomine/
git clone https://github.com/Cytomine-ULiege/Cytomine-bootstrap.git
cd Cytomine-bootstrap

Step 3 - Configure your instance

Open configuration.sh file in your favorite text editor such as nano.

Have a look at Cytomine configuration reference to configure your instance.


cd Cytomine-bootstrap
nano configuration.sh

Configure URLs

To install Cytomine locally on your machine, you can keep the XXX_URL variables unchanged. Be sure to use URLs that are not already used by other applications (avoid localhost) to prevent conflicts.

Add the XXX_URL variable values into the /etc/hosts of your host machine.

sudo nano /etc/hosts

In the /etc/hosts, add the following lines and don't forget to adapt them with values you chose for XXX_URL variables.

127.0.0.1	localhost-core
127.0.0.1	localhost-ims
127.0.0.1	localhost-upload


# if you enabled IRIS plugin
127.0.0.1	localhost-iris 


# if you enabled RETRIEVAL plugin
127.0.0.1	localhost-retrieval


# if you enabled SOFTWARE plugin
127.0.0.1   rabbitmq

Configure data paths

All paths referenced in variables XXX_PATH must exist and be mappable in the Docker engine. To create the data in your $HOME, set paths with

IMS_STORAGE_PATH=~/data/images
IMS_BUFFER_PATH=~/data/_buffer
FAST_DATA_PATH=~/data/images


# if you enabled SOFTWARE plugin
SOFTWARE_CODE_PATH=~/data/softwares/code
SOFTWARE_DOCKER_IMAGES_PATH=~/data/softwares/images
JOBS_PATH=~/data/jobs
SERVER_SSHKEYS_PATH=~/data/ssh


# if you enabled RETRIEVAL plugin
RETRIEVAL_PATH=~/data/thumb

# if you enabled BACKUP plugin
BACKUP_PATH=~/data/backup

Don't forget to create all these directories (mkdir) if they don't exist.

Step 4 - Initialize your deployment

Generate your installation script with the command

sudo bash init.sh

Step 5 - Deploy your instance

Run the generated deployment script with the command

sudo bash start.sh 
# OR, in old versions: sudo bash start_deploy.sh

Deployment can take some time, especially if it's the first time you install Cytomine on your host machine. All Docker container images have to be downloaded.

Step 6 - Check your running instance

When start up is finished, check the application is running in your browser on the URL specified in your CORE_URL variable (by default: localhost-core).

An admin account is created by default. To connect,

  • Username: admin
  • Password: retrieve it in Cytomine-bootstrap/configs/core/cytomineconfig.groovy. Search the line with grails.adminPasswordFor example, in grails.adminPassword='5366E276-7574-4155-84C1-E1EA5ECB1039', the password is 5366E276-7574-4155-84C1-E1EA5ECB1039

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