Installing add-ons

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.5. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Installing add-ons.

An add-on is an optional plugin for adding additional features and functionality to Moodle, such as new activities, new quiz question types, new reports, integrations with other systems and many more.

What is meant by the words 'plugin' and 'add-on'?

Moodle = core code + plugins

Plugins may be either standard plugins (included in the Moodle download package) or add-ons.

Considerations for production sites (skip if you're just moodling)

VERY IMPORTANT Warning: Please be aware that some add-ons have not been reviewed, and the quality and/or suitability for your Moodle site has not been checked. Please be careful. It may not do what you expect, it may have serious security issues or it may even not work at all. This is however improving over time with the evolving new plugins directory system.

  • If you have a large site for production purposes consider if you really need the add-on? More functionality means more things to support, more things to (potentially) go wrong and more things to worry about at upgrade time.
  • Is the add-on supported and maintained? If something goes wrong can you get support? Will bugs be fixed?
  • If the add-on does not work in a future version of Moodle, what will you do about it?
  • Beware of patches (Moodle Plugins Directory Other category) ! If an add-on modifies or replaces core files then be very careful. It can only be guaranteed to work with the exact build (version) of Moodle it was created for and is highly unlikely to survive a Moodle upgrade.

Installing an add-on

To install an add-on, its source code must be put (deployed) into the appropriate location inside the Moodle installation directory and the main administration page Administration > Site administration > Notifications must be visited. There are three ways how the add-on code can be deployed into Moodle.

New feature
in Moodle 2.5!
In Moodle 2.5 onwards, an add-on code may be deployed from within Moodle, either directly from the Moodle plugins directory or by uploading a ZIP file. The web server process has to have write access to the plugin type folder where the new add-on is to be installed in order to use either of these methods.

Alternatively, an add-on code may be deployed manually at the server.

Installing directly from the Moodle plugins directory

  1. Login as an admin and go to Administration > Site administration > Plugins > Install add-ons.
  2. Click the button 'Install add-ons from Moodle plugins directory'.
  3. Search for a plugin with an Install button (i.e. suitable for 2.5), click the Install button then click Continue.
  4. Check that you obtain a 'Validation passed!' message, then click the button 'Install add-on'.

Installing via uploaded ZIP file

  1. Go to the Moodle plugins directory, select Moodle 2.5 as version, then choose an add-on with a Download button and download the ZIP file.
  2. Login to your Moodle site as an admin and go to Administration > Site administration > Plugins > Install add-ons.
  3. Upload the ZIP file, select the appropriate plugin type, tick the acknowledgement checkbox, then click the button 'Install add-on from the ZIP file'.
  4. Check that you obtain a 'Validation passed!' message, then click the button 'Install add-on'.
Install add-ons
Add-on package validation

For both of the above methods, after clicking the button 'Install add-on', you will then be automatically redirected to Settings > Site administration > Notifications and the installation process (i.e. creating required database tables etc) will happen.

Installing manually at the server

If you can't deploy the add-on code via the administration web interface, you have to copy it to the server file system manually (e.g. if the web server process does not have write access to the Moodle installation tree to do this for you).

First, establish the correct place in the Moodle code tree for the add-on type. Common locations are:

  • /path/to/moodle/theme/ - themes
  • /path/to/moodle/mod/ - activity modules and resources
  • /path/to/moodle/blocks/ - sidebar blocks
  • /path/to/moodle/question/type/ - question types
  • /path/to/moodle/course/format/ - course formats
  • /path/to/moodle/admin/report/ - admin reports

See dev:Plugins for the full list of all plugin types and their locations within the Moodle tree.

  1. Go to the Moodle plugins directory, select Moodle 2.5 as version, then choose an add-on with a Download button and download the ZIP file.
  2. Upload or copy it to your Moodle server.
  3. Unzip it in the right place for the plugin type (or follow add-on instructions).
  4. In your Moodle site (as admin) go to Settings > Site administration > Notifications (you should, for most plugin types, get a message saying the add-on is installed).

Note: The add-on may contain language files. They'll be found by your Moodle automatically. These language strings can be customized using the standard Settings > Site administration > Language editing interface. If you get a "Database error" when you try to edit your language files, there is a strong chance that the language files included within the downloaded ZIP file of this add-on have a coding problem. If you delete the plugin_name/lang/other_language_different_to_English/ folder with the new language strings and the database error disappears, this is indeed the case. Please notify the plugin maintainer, so that it can be fixed in future releases.

Troubleshooting

Errors

If you obtain an error, please turn debugging on to obtain additional information about the cause of the error.

tool_installaddon/err_curl_exec - cURL error 60 
This suggests problems with the validation of the SSL certificate of the remote (moodle.org) site. This is also a known problem in Moodle Windows 7 servers running the Moodle package for Windows. See SSL certificate for moodle.org for more info and possible solutions.

When installing manually

  • Check the file permissions. The web server needs to be able to read the plugin files. If the the rest of Moodle works then try to make the plugin permissions and ownership match.
  • Did you definitely unzip or install the add-on in the correct place?
  • Because Moodle scans plugin folders for new plugins you cannot have any other files or folders there. Make sure you deleted the zip file and don't try to rename (for example) an old version of the plugin to some other name - it will break.
  • Make sure the directory name for the plugin is correct. All the names have to match. If you change the name then it won't work.

Obtaining help

Ask in the appropriate forum in Using Moodle. Make sure you describe your system (including versions of MySQL, PHP etc.), what you tried and what happened. Copy and paste error messages exactly. Provide the link to the version of the add-on you downloaded (some have very similar names).

Uninstalling an add-on

To uninstall an add-on

  1. Go to Administration> Site Administration > Plugins > Plugins overview and click the Uninstall link opposite the add-on you wish to remove
  2. Use a file manager to remove/delete the actual plugin directory as instructed, otherwise Moodle will reinstall it next time you access the site administration

Note: Certain plugin types offer the removal from the disk as well, though not yet all.

Plugins overview

Plugins overview highlighting available update with install button
The Plugins overview page in Administration > Site Administration > Plugins > Plugins overview lists all installed plugins, together with the version number, availability (enabled or disabled) and settings link (if applicable).

A 'Check for available updates' button enables admins to quickly check for any updates available to standard plugins or add-ons installed on the site (from the plugins directory). Any updates available are highlighted, with further information and a download link in the notes column opposite the plugin.

Plugin updating from within Moodle

In Moodle 2.4 onwards, an administrator can enable updates deployment in Administration > Site Administration > Server > Update notifications. Then when updates are available, 'Install this update' buttons are shown on the Plugins overview page. See Automatic updates deployment for more details.

Preventing installing add-ons from within Moodle

If required, installing and updating from within Moodle can be prevented by copying the following lines of code from config-dist.php and pasting them in config.php.

// Use the following flag to completely disable the On-click add-on installation
// feature and hide it from the server administration UI.
//
//      $CFG->disableonclickaddoninstall = true;

See also

For developers: