Finding and Selecting A Web Host
Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.3. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Finding and Selecting A Web Host.
- 1 Purpose
- 2 Planning a Moodle installation
- 3 Types of Clients
- 4 Types of Hosts
- 5 Choosing a Web Host
- 6 Planning an Installation
These pages are meant to serve as an additional guide to help users work through variety of questions, issues, etc. as they choose the best way to provide Moodle as an LMS to their users. We hope that these pages will help to steer the user to helpful materials that may not be easily found by the docs search engine. This is an ambitious undertaking, so we would be very pleased for more authors to add to the content!
Planning a Moodle installation
If you are interested in installing and using a Moodle instance in your school, organization, or business, there are many things you must consider. Not only do you have to think about the technical aspects, you also should put some thought into how you would like to use the system, maintain the system, create the content, and support the users.
Depending on the scope and scale of your instance, and the technical expertise you can bring to the table, you may decide that you can host Moodle yourself or you may realize you could use some help! This page focuses on making decisions about how or where to host a Moodle site. Other pages will be developed to address the separate issue of retaining consultants apart from the question of hosting (though many of the concerns in addressing both are comparable.)
In addition to technical expertise, there are staffing issues to consider. A developer will help you write code to enhance or add new functionality. Many installations find that they do not need a developer, or they can hire development on an ad hoc basis. An LMS/Moodle administrator needs to have a good understanding of the system side of moodle. The more this person knows about databases and general web applications, the better. If you don't have an IT person to run the server and manage security, then the LMS/Moodle administrator may need to oversee these important duties. Content creators usually assist instructors with planning and creating course content. Large installations may need dedicated IT staff and database administrators. Consider the mix of people you have to support Moodle in your organization. You may find that you can cover all these bases with your current staff. If not, you may want to look at a Moodle Partner or a "full-service" host.
Types of Clients
Before you choose a host, it would probably be helpful to have a firm understanding of who YOU are. What do you intend to accomplish with your Moodle instance?
Typical types of clients include schools, companies, agencies, churches, and a wide variety of non-profit organizations. There are many more! Each of these will have differing requirements and needs. Each may have different ideas about what kind of content they want to provide, who will be facilitating the "course work" (or if the course work will be automated), how they will enroll the users, and how strictly they want/need to enforce privacy for users.
These issues are of great importance when selecting a host. If you can identify exactly what you want to do and how you think it can be best accomplished, then you will likely recognize whether or not you can "do it yourself", if you need to look for full-service hosting, or if you can accomplish your goals with a consultant or ad hoc development.
Types of Hosts
Full-service hosts who are Moodle Partners
Full-service hosts who are not partners
Hosting without service
Choosing a Web Host
How Do I Find the Right Web Host For Me?
Maybe some generic info here as well as a discussion of MP vs non-MP
The User Experience
Please feel free to add to the matrix, but respect the footnoting conventions and the table structure please.
Why Use A Web Host
General areas of concern are:
Keeping Your Software Current
Software such as Moodle is not static; it changes all the time. Indeed Moodle software changes sometimes daily. Software may be altered to fix security issues or to make improvements. Sometimes a fix in one respect causes a bug in another.
Additionally, as noted below, Moodle is not the only product you may want to keep current, and any time you are trying to keep multiple applications current you are bound to run into compatibility issues.
Keeping Your Software Compatible
Moodle is not "just" Moodle. The Moodle experience relies on a set of software applications, including a web server (often but not necessarily Apache), PHP, and a database engine (often but not necessarily mySQL), as well as the Moodle code itself.
Each of the elements involved is regularly updated and this will result in compatibility issues. A fix to one application may cause a problem in another.
Criteria for Selecting Web Hosts
Here is the real meat and potatoes, which we can put here or actually put on additional pages (my prefs) SO a link to range of service, types of support, security, e-mail, mysql support, panels.... perhaps as well, pages on SLAs generally, boilerplate and guarantees, punchlists
Perhaps specific sections, with breif descriptors and links to more detailed pages.