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Since I think, Oracle 10.2, Apex has been a no cost option of the Oracle database and can be optionally installed when a database instance is created using the DBCA. (DB Creation Application) Apart from that, it can be installed into a compliant DB instance manually.
Yes, it is free to download from OTN, see
but this is just the software which has to be installed into a compliant Oracle database instance.
So these are your options
1. Convince your DBA's to install Apex into one of the instances under their control.
if you can install software on to your own desktop/laptop.
2. Download the latest version of Oracle from
this will come with an earlier version of Apex which you can install when you create an instance, but my advice would be to create an instance without Apex and then install the latest version of Apex.
3. Download Oracle XE edition from
This is a cutdown version of the Oracle database with a free license that comes with Apex. Its easier to install and manage but has limitations. The version of Apex is an earlier version, so once again I would advise you to download the latest Apex, but this time you will have to do an upgrade of Apex in the instance rather than an install, which is almost the same, as an upgrade installs the new version and disables the old.
4. Download a copy of Oracle VM Virtual Box from
which is Oracle's virtualization software and then download the Database App Development Virtual Machine from
This has a complete Oracle database developement environment in a virtual machine that includes the database and Apex. The version of Apex isn't the very latest but it is recent. You could also upgrade this if you want. Also Oracle update the VM's at regular intervals.
5. Get an account at apex.oracle.com. This is an installation of Apex that is freely available on the public internet. It is meant for investigation purposes only, but is a good starting point if you just want to see what Apex is and how it works from a developer point of view.
6. There are a number of organisations, including Oracle, that provide at cost hosted Apex environments on the internet, in the cloud, if you like. See Hosting Companies at
Hope this helps.