Upgrading

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.2. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Upgrading.

Before you do anything else, read Upgrading to Moodle 2.2

Moodle is designed to upgrade itself from one version to the next. The procedure is

  1. Back up everything.
  2. Replace the old version of the code with the new one.
  3. Log in to your Moodle site and go to Settings > Site administration > Notifications which will then trigger Moodle to self-update.

These steps are explained in more detail below.

Sometimes there are specific considerations when upgrading to a particular version. See the Releases page for more information on this. You also have to be more careful if you have installed additional plug-ins or customised the code.

See this tutorial if you are upgrading Moodle on cpanel. It is a bit rough around the edges and is a little dated, but you should get the idea.

There is also a separate page about upgrading Moodle if you installed it using the Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Debian package manager.


When upgrading a Moodle installation you should follow these steps:

Before you upgrade your site for real

You are strongly advised to make a copy of your entire Moodle site onto another computer (see Moodle migration) and run the upgrade there to verify it will work. If you decide not to do this, make sure you have good backups. If the upgrade fails you will need the backups to go back.

Check the requirements

Spend some time re-reading the installation documentation and documentation for the new version. Check the system requirements for the target version you want to upgrade-to in Settings > Site administration > Server > Environment.

Put your Site into Maintenance Mode

Before you begin upgrading your site, you should put it into Maintenance Mode to stop any non-admin users from logging in.

Backup important data

See Site backup for more specific information.

There are three areas that should be backed up before any upgrade:

  1. Moodle software (For example, everything in server/htdocs/moodle)
  2. Moodle uploaded files (For example, server/moodledata)
  3. Moodle database (For example, the SQL or Postgres database)

Experienced site administrators know that it is a best practice (a very good idea) to make a backup of any production system before a major upgrade. In fact, it is a good idea to automate your server to backup your Moodle installation daily. Most upgrades on sites that have used the standard Moodle packages (no contributed code and no little tweaks to the php files), will not have any major issues with the upgrade process.

TIP: One more time, "do not risk what you can not afford to lose": do regular backups, make sure it is really backed up and know how to restore a backup!

Install the new Moodle software

Upgrading can be a simple process or a more complicated process. Sites that have not used contributed code and are migrating from say Moodle 2.x.1 to 2.x.3 should not have a problem. However, we still recommend that with any production server that you have made a successful backup of the MySQL database, the moodledata directory and the moodle program folders and files.

  • Do not overwrite an old installation unless you know what you are doing ... sometimes old files can cause problems in new installations. Review the backup section above.

Standard install package

Having read the cautions about backups, download a copy of the standard install package. Here is a set of simple instructions for an average site.

  • It is probably a good idea to use the Site administration block>Server>Maintenance mode to prevent user activity as the site upgrades.
  • Having moved your old Moodle software program files to another location, unzip or unpack the upgrade file so that all new the Moodle software program files are in the location the old files used to be in on the server. Moodle will adjust SQL and moodledata if it needs to in the upgrade.
  • Copy your old config.php file back to the new Moodle directory. If you've defined individual blocks for new courses you have to delete 'admin' block definition and replace by 'settings' for the new block.
  • If you had added any custom plugins or themes into your Moodle you can add them to the new code. It is important to check that you get the correct version for your new version of Moodle. You should check in the optional plugins database. Be particularly careful that you do not overwrite any code in the new version of Moodle. If you are upgrading to Moodle 2.0 or newer, note that all optional plugins and themes required a significant rewrite and some do not have 2.0 versions (yet).
  • Use the notification link in the site administration to start the upgrade process. You will see a series of lines or screens indicating progress.
  • After a successful upgrade, turn off the maintenance mode, so your users can get into the site.

Using a downloaded archive

In some installs, the site administrator may overwrite the Moodle code with a backup copy. Or create a new clean install copy of Moodle, then restore an archive (via a compressed file or parts of a saved set of Moodle code files and folders).

  • Do not overwrite an old installation unless you know what you are doing ... sometimes old files can cause problems in new or "cleaned" installations. The best way is to rename the current Moodle code directory (for example rename "moodle" to "moodleold"), then unpack the new Moodle archive into the old location (for example, a new directory called "moodle").

Linux

mv moodle moodle.backup
tar xvzf moodle-1.1.tgz

Next, copy across your config.php, any other plugins such as custom themes, and your .htaccess file if you created one (check that optional/custom plugins are the correct version for your new Moodle first):

cp moodle.backup/config.php moodle
cp -pr moodle.backup/theme/mytheme moodle/theme/mytheme
cp -pr moodle.backup/mod/mymod moodle/mod/mymod

Don't forget to make moodle/config.php (and the rest of the source code) readable by your www server. Ideally the files should not be writable by your server.

If you use cron, take care that cron.php is executeable and uses the correct php command:

chmod 740 admin/cli/cron.php (some configurations need chmod 750 or chmod 755)
copy the first line from cron.php (if it looks like '#!/usr/local/bin/php' or '#!/usr/local/bin/php5.3', no need to copy '<?php')


if necessary.

Using Git

You can use Git for updating or upgrading your Moodle. New sites are recommended to use this rather than CVS since all Moodle development has moved to Git.

See Git for Administrators for further details.

Finishing the upgrade

The last step is to trigger the upgrade processes within Moodle.

To do this just go to Settings > Site administration > Notifications.

Moodle will automatically detect the new version and perform all the SQL database or file system upgrades that are necessary. If there is anything it can't do itself (very rare) then you will see messages telling you what you need to do.

Assuming all goes well (no error messages) then you can start using your new version of Moodle and enjoy the new features!


TIP: Use the site administration block>Server>Maintenance mode to prevent users from changing data during the upgrade.
TIP: If you are running a large scale Moodle site (e.g. have more tha 10,000+ courses and 40,000+ users), make sure that you do your own performance profiling testing. Post a thread or check the Installation problems forum and check Tracker for potential issues.

Verify the upgrade (optional)

If you wish to confirm that the database definitions in the upgraded database match the definitions of a new, clean install (which they should) you might like to look at Verify Database Schema.

Upgrading more than one version

Normally you can upgrade directly from any Moodle version to any later version. So, for example you could upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1, or from 1.9 to 2.2.

However, every so often, this general rule gets broken, because supporting really large jumps (for example Moodle 1.6 to 2.2 in one step) would be impossible. Recent break points have been:

  • You must have upgraded to version 1.9.x before you can upgrade to a later 2.x version.
  • You must have upgraded to version 2.2.x before you can upgrade to 2.3 or later.

If you are upgrading from a pre-1.6 version it is recommended that you upgrade first to the latest 1.6.x, then to the latest 1.9.x and finally to the latest 2.x. See Petr's forum post Re: Continuing on Upgrade docs for further information.

See also

Documentation on upgrading to particular versions:

Using Moodle.org forum discussions: