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User site capacities

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In addition to the hardware and software requirements, you will also need to think about the capacity of your Moodle installation in terms of the number of users it can handle. There are two numbers to plan for:

Browsing users: the maximum number of users able to browse your Moodle site. This is the number of computers in your organization or on your course (whichever is greater).
Concurrent database users: the maximum number of concurrent database users (needed for Moodle activities such as quizzes). This is the number of users who will be using Moodle at the same time. In an educational institution, use your timetable/roster to obtain this figure.

Once you know these figures for your users, you can start work out if your Moodle installation can support this capacity. The exact number of users depends on your hardware/software/network combination. Usually the amount of memory installed (RAM) is the deciding factor but a faster overall processor speed will also help in reducing waiting times for pages to load.

The general rule of thumb for a single server is that the approx max concurrent users = RAM (GB) * 50 and the approx max browsing users = Approx max concurrent users * 5. As an example, a university with 500 total computers on campus and 100 concurrent users at any time will need approx 2GB of RAM on the one server to support the number of concurrent users.

  • Note if you are using a hosted account: Ask your provider what limits are placed on the number of concurrent database connections and the processor load. This will give a good estimate of the number of users your Moodle install can manage.
  • Note: As of August 31, 2007, Moodle 1.8.2+ is not recommended for large installations, especially if you have large number (e.g. 20,000+) of courses. The main reason is the codes related to ROLES are still not fully optimized with database queries and still need some work. If you are planning to use 1.8.x codes for a larger institution, please make sure that you have sufficient time to do your own testing and performance profiling. Upgrade to Moodle 1.9!!

[Update|Updating from a previous version] of Moodle has been improved quite a bit from 1.8.3+ version (see this thread discussion: Moodle 1.9 has even more improvements in all areas and is the recommended version.

See also