Installation Updated May 16, 2019

System Requirements

We recommend the following minimum specifications for running a Virtool server:

  • Linux operating system
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 1 TB fast storage
  • 1 Gb network connection

Higher CPU clock speeds and core counts will allow more operations to be run in parallel.


Virtool works best in modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported.

Install the Server

Download the latest Virtool release from the Virtool website and unpack the downloaded archive.

tar -xvf virtool.tar.gz

Move the unpacked directory to your installation location:

mv virtool /opt

Run in the background using nohup.

nohup ./run &
We suggest running Virtool as a dedicated user.


Virtool uses MongoDB v3.6.0+ as a database service. You will have to get MongoDB running before starting Virtool. We highly recommend installing and updating MongoDB through your Linux package manager.

The MongoDB documentation provides step-by-step instructions for installing MongoDB on common Linux distributions:

Once you have installed MongoDB, ensure it is running by issuing the following command:

sudo service mongod status

You will receive output similar to the following if MongoDB is running:

● mongod.service - High-performance, schema-free document-oriented database
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/mongod.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Fri 2017-04-21 15:55:59 PDT; 2s ago
 Main PID: 11844 (mongod)
    Tasks: 14
   Memory: 31.1M
      CPU: 95ms
   CGroup: /system.slice/mongod.service
           └─11844 /usr/bin/mongod --quiet --config /etc/mongod.conf

External Software

Virtool relies on a number of common bioinformatics programs. These should be available in your PATH so Virtool can find them. You will encounter errors if these programs are not available.

Name Version Purpose
Skewer 0.2.2 Read trimming and quality control
FastQC v0.11.5 Calculating quality metrics for sample libraries
Bowtie2 2.3.2 High-throughput read alignment
SPAdes v3.8.1 De novo assembly
HMMER 3.1b2 Motif detection