There are many ways and places to try Moodle to see how it works. Here are a few ideas from the least technical knowledge required to the most ambitious and/or costly, which may be easy for some.
You're welcome to explore Moodle by logging in to one of our demo sites. These are places to play, experiment and learn by doing:
- Mount Orange School (Moodle 2.1 Demo) - introduces educators to Moodle, an great demonstration site where you can be principal, teacher and student!
- Moodle Demonstration Site - The oldest demonstration site that refreshes every hour, with many courses in many languages.
- Perhaps the least obvious way to try Moodle is to explore Moodle.org. It is a large, free Moodle site itself. For the most part you will be a student on the site but there are several areas where "students" can act as teachers. Of course, Moodle.org is all about learning about Moodle though interaction with others, not for experimenting (that is what demo.moodle.net is for).
- Windows or MacOS complete install packages supplied free via Moodle.org as downloads. These include Apache, PHP, MySQL and other programs that will create a web server. Not recommended for production servers (ie heavy use) and probably best used on a small internal network with a small number of users, or a standalone computers for playing with Moodle by yourself. Not as easy as Mt. Orange you will have more control.
- Obtaining a free copy of Apache Friends bundled software to create a web server for a Linux, Windows, Solaris or Mac operating system, then add a standard Moodle package to that. This could be used on a production web server, on a computer serving a small network or on a standalone computer. Moodle.org uses a lite version for their Windows and Mac OS complete install packages. Slightly more difficult than a moodle.org complete install package to get going but will also educate you in web server operations, in addition to playing with Moodle.
- Ask a Moodle Partner what they suggest. This is actually very easy, but there can be a cost associated with it.
- Go to your existing web host or a web hosting service. You will usually find they offer a versions of Moodle "free" with the push of a few buttons to install it. Or install a copy of the latest and greatest Moodle on their server which your have already paid for. The commercial low cost servers may install Moodle but they will not offer any support about Moodle (but you do have Moodle.org and Moodle Docs). These usually need research to really understand what is required for a full production Moodle site. But not that difficult to install for just trying Moodle out.
- The most difficult and time consuming way just to "try Moodle" is to search out a web hosting service from scratch, purchase web hosting services and install a version of Moodle on your new hosted web server. The exception to degree of difficulty would be a Moodle Partner who might offer web hosting, a turnkey Moodle installation to meet your needs and support. The goal here would probably go beyond a mere "I would just like to try Moodle".