Running Oracle Database Express Edition (XE) On Mac

Oracle describe Oracle XE as:

Free Oracle Database for Everyone

Oracle XE is an excellent local database that can be used for a variety of uses including local development.

Oracle Database XE can be downloaded for free (assuming you have an Oracle login - also free) from Unfortunately, there are downloads for Windows and Linux only - there is no native package for the Mac.

So, how can we run Oracle XE on a Mac ?

The simplest way is via Docker. The steps we will follow to achieve this are:

  • Download the Oracle XE image for Linux
  • Create a Docker image
  • Run the Docker image.

I'm assuming you already have Docker installed and working on your Mac, if not, checkout the Docker documentation.

Download the Oracle XE Image

Since the Oracle XE image is proprietary, we need to create our own Docker image rather then download a pre-generated image from Docker Hub. To enable us to download, we must login to the Oracle site and download the XE image from: . This link will require a login, and remember that the Linux image must be downloaded.

Once downloaded, you should have a file called something like:


Create a Docker Image

After downloading the Oracle Linux image, we are in a good position to create a Docker image. To make this easier, Oracle have provided some scripts that can be cloned from GitHub that take all of the hard work out of the process.

Clone the Oracle docker-images repo from

Change directory to the docker-images/OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/dockerfiles directory within the cloned repository. Inside this directory, you will see subdirectories for each version of Oracle that we can create a Docker image for.


Since we are creating a Docker image for the XE version of the database, copy the downloaded Oracle image into the 18.4.0 folder.

We've now downloaded everything necessary and can create the Docker image. This is done by executing the following:

> cd docker-images/OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/dockerfiles
> ./ -v 18.4.0 -x

The -v parameter tells the script to create an Oracle 18.4.0 version image, whereas the -x option tells the script to create the image using the XE instance.

After a few minutes, the Docker image will be created. Execute docker images to verify this.

docker images
REPOSITORY                    TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
oracle/database               18.4.0-xe           4a3df8f54b1b        56 minutes ago      8.44GB

Run the Docker image

After creating the Docker image, we can run it using the docker run command. Execute the following:

docker run --name OracleXE -p 1521:1521 -p 5500:5500 -v /opt/oracle/oradata oracle/database:18.4.0-xe

This starts the Docker image and names the container OracleXE. Ports 1521 and 5500 are forwarded from the container to the local host.

After a few seconds / minutes, the Oracle database will be up and running as a Docker container.

docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                       COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                    PORTS                                                      NAMES
a79bb5a81feb        oracle/database:18.4.0-xe   "/bin/sh -c 'exec $O…"   42 minutes ago      Up 42 minutes (healthy)>1521/tcp,>5500/tcp, 8080/tcp   OracleXE

Since we didn't specify a password when starting the container, Oracle created a default one. This is logged to the console as:


If you want to manually specify a password when the image is created, you can specify the -e ORACLE_PWD parameter to the docker run command above.


That's all there is to it. You can now run Oracle XE locally on a Mac with a minimum of trouble.

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