Installing an ANNIS Server

The ANNIS server version can be installed on UNIX based servers, or else under Windows using Cygwin, the freely available UNIX emulator. To install the ANNIS server:

  1. Download and install PostgreSQL 9.4 (or above) for your operating system from and make a note of the administrator password you set during the installation. After installation, PostgreSQL may automatically launch the PostgreSQL Stack Builder to download additional components – you can safely skip this step and cancel the Stack Builder if you wish. You may need to restart your OS if the PostgreSQL installer tells you to.

Note: Under Linux, you might have to set the PostgreSQL password manually. E.g. on Ubuntu you can achieve this with by running the following commands:

sudo -u postgres psql
  1. Install a Java Servlet Container ("Java web server") such as Tomcat or Jetty
  2. Download the ANNIS service distribution file annis-service-<version>- distribution.tar.gz from the website and then unzip the downloaded file:
tar xzvf annis-service-<version>-distribution.tar.gz -C <installation directory>
  1. Set the environment variables (each time when starting up)
export ANNIS_HOME=<installation directory>

  1. Next initialize your ANNIS database (only the first time you use the system): init -u <username> -d <dbname> -p <new user password> -P <postgres superuser password>

You can omit the PostgreSQL administrator password option (-P). Then the database and user must already exist. E.g. you should execute the following as PostgreSQL administrator:

CREATE LANGUAGE plpgsql; -- ignore the error if the language is already installed
CREATE USER myuser PASSWORD 'mypassword';

Now you can import some corpora: import path/to/corpus1 path/to/corpus2 ...

Warning: The above import-command calls other PostgreSQL database commands. If you abort the import script with Ctrl+C, these SQL processes will not be automatically terminated; instead they might keep hanging and prevent access to the database. The same might happen if you close your shell before the import script terminates, so you will want to prefix it with the "nohup"- command.

  1. Now you can start the ANNIS service: start
  1. To get the ANNIS front-end running, first download annis-gui-<version>.war from our website and deploy it to your Java servlet container (this depends on the servlet container you use).

Note: We also strongly recommend reconfiguring the PostgreSQL server’s default settings as described here.

Tomcat: UTF8 encoding in server.xml

If using Tomcat make sure the UTF-8 encoding is used for URLs. Some installations of Tomcat don't use UTF-8 for the encoding of the URLs and that will cause problems when searching for non-ASCII characters. In order to avoid this the Connector-configuration needs the property "URIEncoding" set to "UTF-8" like in this example ($CATALINA_HOME/server.xml):

<Connector port="8080" protocol="HTTP/1.1"
executor="tomcatThreadPool" />

Install ANNIS Service and Web front-end on different servers

It is possible to install the service and the front-end on different servers. Per-default the ANNIS service is only listening to connections from localhost for security reasons. You should use a proxy server if you want to enable access from outside. E.g. the Apache configuration could look like this:

ProxyPass /annis3-service http://localhost:5711
<location /annis3-service>

If you your server is this configuration would result in the service URL

The service is responsible for the authentication and authorization (see the user configuration for more information), thus the corpora are only accessible by the service if the user can provide the appropriate credentials. HTTP Basic Authentication is used for transporting the user name and password as clear text over the network. Thus you should always make sure to enforce encrypted SSL (HTTPS) connections for the public accessable service.

After you made the service available for other servers you have to configure the front-end to use this non-default service URL. Change the file WEB-INF/conf/ and set the AnnisWebService.URL to the right value:

# set to an valid e-mail adress in order to enable the "Report a bug" button

If you want to secure your service even further you might want to setup a firewall in a way that only the server running the front-end is allowed to access the HTTP(S) port on the server running the backend service.