What Does Moodle Mean?
Moodle is a free and open-source learning management system written in PHP and distributed under the General Public License. Developed on pedagogical principles, Moodle is used for blended learning, distance education, flipped classroom and other e-learning projects in schools, universities, workplaces and other sectors.
Moodle in itself stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.
This makes Moodle e-learning solutions, to be on a more robust hosting environment.
How to Choose a Moodle Hosting Provider
While Moodle hosting isn’t technically a type of hosting, there are some things to take into consideration and some specific features to look for when choosing a host for a Moodle site.
And while many hosts in Kenya who do offer those features, there are also some who are dedicated to Moodle LMS hosting.
Either way, knowing what you need from a host in order for your educational eLearning portal to function properly is paramount in that decision.
The first thing to consider is capacity. How many students will be accessing and using your site simultaneously?
Too many, and without a good host, and Moodle can run quite slowly, resulting in a poor user experience for your students.
Make sure your host can accommodate multiple users on your site at once, and at peak usage times.
Compatibility with Moodle
Next, check which version of Moodle you’ll be using. All versions of Moodle work best in a standard Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, or LAMP stack infrastructure.
Check that your host not only offers LAMP, but updates it on a regular basis to keep up with new versions of those components, but of the CMS you’ll be using.
In addition, select a host that will allow you to customize the PHP and MySQL configurations to accommodate Moodle. Not all hosts will let you do that.
Control Panel and Compression
Choose a host that offers a control panel through which you can compress files of 20 megabytes or more. This will make it easier for you to switch hosts in the future, should you ever decide to do so.
Also, make sure your Moodledata folder is not stored in the public folder, also for future ease of migration.
If all this seems a little confusing or just a lot to keep track of, look for a host that offers dedicated Moodle hosting.
That way, you’ll know they’ve thought of everything, and all you’ll have to worry about is creating high-quality educational content for your students.
Types of Hosting for Moodle
Shared hosting plans may not provide the power needed to host large websites for online learning, such as university courses that experience large enrollments.
Though, they will be adequate for smaller online learning services. For more power, you’ll want to check out Dedicated server plans or Virtual private servers depending on your need.
Dedicated Moodle Hosting
Dodwell Solutions is specialized in Moodle hosting in Kenya and the entire East Africa. We also provide Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud hosting to run your Moodle website on.
Our hosting services are scalable, making it able to handle everything from 500 to 10 thousand students.
Moodle Customization Options
Customization options for Moodle come in the following forms:
- Themes are template packages that change the way the course looks
- Plugins enhance the functionality of Moodle by adding additional features written in PHP
- Language packs help tutors to provide courses in their learners’ local languages
- Dreamweaver is a proprietary web development suite that can be used to create and manage Moodle pages
- Moodle is open source so you can alter its underlying code.
The open source nature of Moodle makes it very flexible and extensible. Most changes can be made in the administration panel; those that cannot can usually be hacked together using PHP.
Themes are one of the most powerful options for customizing Moodle. Themes can also change the look of an entire elearning website, letting companies add their own colors and branding.
Some organizations develop their own themes based on bootstrap content, so it’s easy to customize the theme for your own use.
The fact that plugins are written in PHP helps a lot. It not only helps in creating your own, but it means there are a lot that have been contributed by the user community.
Dodwell Solutions’ Dedicated Servers
If you’re looking for a web hosting account for Moodle, you’ll need Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP for a smooth installation.
Moodle’s own documentation states that this is the “safest” way to install it, and there’s a huge amount of support for the LAMP stack.
Moodle can also be installed on Windows or Mac as a standalone piece of software – ideal if you want to give it a test drive before handing it over to your system admin team.
One-Click vs. DIY Installation
If you want to install Moodle to a hosting account but your provider doesn’t give you one-click installs, the process will be slightly more complicated.
Many hosting companies provide helpful customer support to walk you through this.
If you aren’t so good with the technical stuff, then you might want to switch to a hosting provider that integrates simple application installs.
Databases and PHP
But, if you still want to take this on, there are a couple of things that must be done before starting.
First, you’ll want to make sure that your host provides a database such as MySQL or MariaDB.
The host will also have to support PHP. You may have to configure PHP in your control panel.
In order for your Moodle website to work, you will also need a variety of PHP extensions installed.
If you are unsure if you have these with your host service, don’t worry. Moodle will check for these extensions while installing so you can install necessary scripts before continuing.
You can also talk to your hosting provider about their included script installations.
Final Installation Tasks
The rest of the process can be completed by following instructions on Moodle’s website.
Though, inexperienced web users will find it much easier to pick a hosting company that provides a one-click install of the application.
- A bare minimum of 160MB storage space for core files – but remember that you need space for your multimedia and content uploaded by students
- Linux or Windows
- A backup location with sufficient space (preferably in a remote location)
- 256MB server RAM (again, a bare minimum – Moodle recommends 1GB for every 10-20 concurrent users)
- MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL or Oracle support (MySQL or PostgreSQL recommended)
- Remote backup provision to store copies of your students’ work
- A web server
- A modern web browser.
In summary, here’s what Moodle needs at a minimum vs what it needs to run optimally:
|Anything that runs the software listed below
|Apache, IIS, lightttpd, nginx, cherokee, zeus, and LiteSpeed
|Apache or IIS
|Most recent (stable) release
|MSSQL, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL
|MySQL or PostgreSQL
|Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 8, Safari 5, Chrome 11, Opera 9
|The latest version of the browser of your choice plus the necessary plugins for your content
You may be tempted to get the most inexpensive hosting for your Moodle setup, but keep in mind that as your student body scales, you’ll need to scale your website as well.
Best to keep that in mind when selecting your web hosting package.
While many web hosting companies offer Moodle as a 1-click installer, not all of them will meet these requirements on their cheapest plans.
The remote backup provision is rarely offered on any web hosting plan, and will require a more complicated setup than a regular website.
We recommend opting for a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server, but have a chat with your host before committing.
For robust and more scalable hosting services write to firstname.lastname@example.org