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This guide requires Apple Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.3 or above.

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 Mac. In particular download Docker for Mac from Docker store and follows instructions. Docker for Mac requires Apple Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.3 or above. 

Once Docker for Mac is running, Choose whale menu → Preferences from the menu bar and configure the runtime options described below.

Docker context menu

On the Advanced tab, you can change resource limits available to Docker.

Advanced Preference

By default, Docker for Mac drastically limit the resources available to Docker. Cytomine requires more resources to run without issue.

CPUs: By default, Docker for Mac is set to use half the number of processors available on the host machine. Set the number of CPUs available to a number greater than 75% of the number of processors on the host machine.

Memory: By default, Docker for Mac is set to use 2 GB runtime memory, allocated from the total available memory on your Mac. Increase RAM to a number at least greater than 4GiB. It is highly recommended to set it to at least 75% of the total available memory on your Mac.

Swap: Configure swap file size as needed. The default is 1 GB. Set it to 3GiB.

Step 2 - Retrieve Cytomine bootstrap

Download the archive and extract it.


To install Cytomine ULiege latest developments, continuous builds or pre-releases, you can clone the Git repository:

git clone

Step 3 - Configure your instance

Open file in your favorite text editor such as nano.

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

cd Cytomine-bootstrap

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.

Due to the isolated nature of Docker containers, some changes on your Mac network configuration are required to allow to communicate with Cytomine directly from your Mac (such as your browser). 

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.	localhost-core	localhost-ims	localhost-upload

# if you enabled IRIS plugin	localhost-iris 

# if you enabled RETRIEVAL plugin	localhost-retrieval

# if you enabled SOFTWARE plugin   rabbitmq

Then, flush your Mac's DNS cache, so it doesn't get confused by any changes you've made to the hosts file.

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Configure data paths

Data managed by Cytomine such as images are stored in directories mapped with your host machine. By default the /Users directories (and thus sub-directories) can be mapped in the Docker engine. Check whale menu → Preferences from the menu bar and then File Sharing tab to change location.

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


# if you enabled SOFTWARE plugin

# if you enabled RETRIEVAL plugin

# if you enabled BACKUP plugin

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

Step 5 - Deploy your instance

Run the generated deployment script with the command

sudo bash
# OR, in old versions: sudo bash

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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