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XNAT is built to run within a Tomcat webserver and uses a PostgreSQL database to store data. To install XNAT, you will need to first install its prerequisites (Java, PostgreSQL, and Tomcat). After successfully installing the prerequisites, you can download the XNAT WAR file and deploy it to Tomcat. If you are experienced with XNAT, you can also build developmental versions of XNAT from the xnat-web repository. 


These applications should be installed and tested prior to installing XNAT:

  • Java JDK 1.7 or 1.8:  ( Download)
    • Unix Users: The Oracle JDK is recommended.  We've seen issues with the applets when using OpenJDK and the IcedTea plugin.
    • Function: Runs core XNAT engine.
    • Make sure to install the JDK and not the JRE.

      XNAT does not work with Java 9 or 10! Support for later versions of Java is being discussed tentatively, but there's no timetable for delivery.

      While XNAT should function properly when running under either Java 7 or Java 8, the XNAT team recommends that XNAT administrators use Java 8 for a few reasons:

      1. Java 8 has significantly longer support than Java 7.
      2. Java 8 provides a few performance enhancements over Java 7.
      3. An upcoming XNAT feature ("Event Service" functionality in XNAT) will move the minimum requirement for XNAT to Java 8. Note: it's still to be determined if this functionality will be added in the core XNAT code or provided as a plugin.
  • PostgreSQL 9.1-9.6 (9.6 is preferred) (Download (Installation Guide)
    • Function: Database backend 

      XNAT is not compatible with PostgreSQL 10+. The latest 9.X version is recommended.

  • Apache Tomcat 7  (Download) (Installation Guide)
    • Function: Web application server
    • Be sure to read the section on Tomcat Configuration in the XNAT 1.7 Installation Instructions.

      XNAT 1.7 is not compatible with Apache Tomcat 8. Please make sure that you download the latest version of Tomcat 7, but there are a number of known issues with XNAT running on Tomcat 8.