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File upload size

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Probably the most frequently asked question in the Moodle.org Using Moodle forums is "How do I increase the upload file size limit?" The changes that need be made are the same in all versions of Moodle, just in different OS' they need be made in different places. Upload file sizes are restricted in a number of ways and each one in this list restricts the following ones:

Server level
Moodle site level
Course level
Activity level

This is a contentious issue, mainly because you might think that it should be set inside the Moodle. Unfortunately, this is not so, these are environment issues that need to be set in the server and PHP folders, Moodle cannot work outside itself.

Contents

Physical access to Server

These instructions assume you have full physical and administrative access to your server. If you are using a hosted server then you will probably need to look into other ways to increase your file upload size.

There are positives and negatives to both methods below. If you modify the php.ini file then the changes will effect all php applications on your server. Since PHP5 you can only have one php.ini file on your server. The php.ini method will work with all web servers though. The .htaccess method will only effect the folder and all subfolders that it is placed in, but you must have certain settings enabled in Apache.

Restricting the File size - how it works

The Host may set a limit on the maximum file upload size in the Server environment, which you may override if the Host allows you to. PHP has a setting that it uses to limit the size of the file that it handles in upload. The Host has set that figure in the php.ini based on their particular perceptions and their clientele need. This size appears in Moodle in the Administration > Security > Site Policies > Maximum uploaded file size drop-down combo box. You can change this at any time to suit your site need. In the Course Settings page, there is also a further restriction that can be made. At no time can the Course setting over-ride the Site setting, nor can the Site setting over-ride the php.ini setting, which cannot over-ride the Server setting. The only exception to this rule is that you can manipulate both the Server and the PHP settings, and how to do that is described below.

Modifying the php.ini file

These instructions show you how to change the file upload size by editing your php.ini file.

Ubuntu Linux Instructions

These instructions assume that you have installed the standard Moodle package, PHP 5 and Apache 2 via apt-get and left it all as a default install. If you have compiled yourself I presume that you will know where your php.ini files are!

You need to edit the following three settings in your php.ini file located at: /etc/php5/apache2/

  • Type "sudo nano /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini"
  • Press Ctrl and W and type "post_max_size"
  • Change the value to the number of Mb you want your site to accept as uploads
  • Press Ctrl and W and type "upload_max_filesize"
  • Change the value to the number of Mb you want your site to accept as uploads
  • Press Ctrl and W and type "max_execution_time"
  • Change the value to 600
  • Press Ctrl and O
  • Press Ctrl and X
  • Type sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Your new file size limit should now appear in Administration > Security > Site Policies > Maximum uploaded file size


XAMPP on Mac Instructions

These are instructions for how to do this for Moodle on a Mac using the XAMPP sample download package available. (This is not for a OS X production server.)

  • Close down Apache and MySQL if they are running via the XAMPP Control app and close the XAMPP Control app
  • Open Finder and go to Applications
  • Navigate down and open the folder XAMPP / xamppfiles / etc
  • Open the file php.ini with TextEdit (or another plain text editor)
  • Search for the post_max_size setting and up this from 128M (the default) to more; 500M is the maximum
  • Do the same for upload_max_filesize (make the numbers the same)
  • Search for the max execution_time setting and up this to 300 (or more if you get timeouts on uploads)
  • Save the php.ini file
  • restart Apache and MySQL as usual


Note: You may get a "permission denied" error when saving the php.ini file unless you are logged in with admin access to your Mac. To work around this, you can set the /etc directory in which the php.ini file is located to be writable temporarily. For how to do that, see here or here.

Windows XP and Server 2003 Instructions

These instructions presume that you have downloaded the latest PHP 5.3.x Windows zip package and extracted it to C:\PHP. If you have installed PHP to another location then change all references to "C:\PHP" to the location you installed PHP too.

lightbulb.png Download and install any text editor that can save the file in a UTF-8 format, Crimson Editor is one such, NotePad++ is another, use that instead of either Wordpad or Notepad! The issue is that WordPad or Notepad will include hidden characters that may not be compatible with the requirements of PHP.
  • Open C:\PHP
  • Right Click the php.ini file in this folder and choose "Open with..." selecting your editor of choice.
  • Press Ctrl + F and type "post_max_size" (click Find...", where needed)
  • Change the value to the number of Mb you want your site to accept as uploads
  • Press Ctrl + F and type "upload_max_filesize" (click Find...", where needed)
  • Change the value to the number of Mb you want your site to accept as uploads
  • Press Ctrl + F and type "max_execution_time" (click Find...", where needed)
  • Change the value to 600
  • Press Ctrl and S or the save button.
  • Exit your editor.
  • Restart your webserver to reload PHP with the edited changes.
    • For IIS
    • Open the Start Menu on your server and select "Run"
    • Type "iisreset /RESTART"
    • For Apache 2 and Windows XP
    • Go to Start > All Programs > Apache > Restart
    • For Apache 2 and Windows Server
    • The following command will work as long as you have installed Apache 2 as a service on your Windows Server
    • Open your Start Menu on your server and select "Run"
    • Type "httpd -k restart"

Your new file size limit should now appear in Administration > Security > Site Policies > Maximum uploaded file size

NOTE: These instructions also cover the Xampp Windows installer. Just replace C:\PHP with C:\Moodle\server\php and to restart your Moodle with a normal stop-start.

Modifying the apache config file

Ubuntu Linux Instructions

You may also need to edit the config.php file in the moodle directory:

  • Type "gksudo nautilus" to get root permissions
  • Navigate to /etc/moodle
  • Open apache.conf
  • Go to the "<IfModule mod_php5.c>" section
  • Change "php_value upload_max_filesize = 2M" to a higher value
  • Change "php_value post_max_size = 2M" to a higher value
  • Go to the "<IfModule mod_php4.c>" section
  • Change "php_value upload_max_filesize = 2M" to a higher value
  • Change "php_value post_max_size = 2M" to a higher value
  • Save file
  • Type sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Modifying the .htaccess file

The following instructions will only work on an Apache web server, and also the Apache server must have Overrides allowed. Traditionally, you could only use .htaccess files when PHP was run as a module of Apache, but with Apache 2.2, this appears to no longer be the case. You can now use the .htaccess file in either module or cgi forms. As well, allowing the use of .htaccess files will cause a performance hit on the server, not a desirable outcome either - so check with your Host.

The .htaccess file is a distributed configuration file, that is, it can be used on a per-folder basis to configure each user's folder and sub-folders. You cannot alter the "AllowOverrides" directive in the Apache configuration file with a .htaccess file, only the Host can set that manually. Usually the Host will place a .htaccess file into your site Root if they do allow you to override the server settings. You can edit it the same as below, and the overrides you set will work. Alternatively, you may create your own .htaccess file in your text editor. It may also be called something else, like .config. If you have any file that starts with a ., you might want to open it in your text editor, just out of curiosity.

Create a file called .htaccess in Moodle's main directory (where 'index.php' is located, not the 'moodledata' directory) that contains the following information:

php_value upload_max_filesize 20971520
php_value post_max_size 20971520
php_value max_execution_time 600

20971520 is the integer value for 20Mb. You can use the following site to convert MegaBytes to Bytes.

For a more complete description of how to edit the .htacess file, look at this page, Apache Tutorial: .htaccess files

Modifying the IIS 7.0/7.5 configuration (Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2)

First increase activity and request time outs (allows large files to succeed on slow connections)

FastCGI Settings > Edit (Right-click on PHP application)
Set Process Model > Activity Timeout to '3600' (one hour)
Set Process Model > Request Timeout to '3600' (one hour)

Next set 'Maximum allowed content length'

Request Filtering > Edit Feature Settings:
Set 'Maximum allowed content length' to your desired file size (in bytes) e.g. '536870912' for 512MB (default is approximately 28.6MB)

Hosted Server

Things can be a little different with a hosted server for uploaded and downloaded file size. You are probably going to to be told to create or change a .htaccess file, or to modify a php.ini file.

lightbulb.png It might be a good idea to talk to with your service provider before you attempt anything. They probably have instructions on "how to" and may have their own limits for uploaded file size. Some hosts measure the file size in gigabytes and others in megabytes. If you are unhappy with their limits, then check your contract and consider changing your provider to one that has a limit and price that you like.

.htaccess with hosted server

The one purpose of an .htaccess file is to override the the current limitations of both the server and the php.ini file. Your hosted server should inform you where that file needs be placed in your Moodle, but generally in the root is sufficient. They may already have a standard file you can use, if so, use it - but perhaps not.

To the .htaccess file add the lines:

 php_value upload_max_filesize 128M
 php_value post_max_size 128M
 

This will limit uploads to 128MB, but you can make it any size you agree with your provider. The wording may vary slightly, according to the demands of the server.

php.ini with hosted server

Some servers will not allow you to change the moodle root .htaccess file and tell you to use a php.ini file for php directives. Here you can use the instruction located in the section above called Modifying the php.ini file.

Find the php.ini file in your moodle subfolder on your hosted server. You might want to copy the file as a backup just in case. Edit php.ini, find "upload_max_filesize" and post_max_size in the code. After the = change the number. Here the max filesize is 20 megabytes.

upload_max_filesize = 20M
post_max_size = 20M
lightbulb.png Still not changed? Some hosts using cpanel have a php config program under services/software. Use the "Single php.ini" option and make sure you note the location of the php.ini file to modify. This changes the .htaccess file in the same area and thus the server limit for all programs using php.

See Also