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Internet Information Services

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Internet Information Services (IIS) is the web server software bundled with Windows Server, as well as certain client versions of Windows. Please note Apache web server has much better community support and there are usually fewer problems when running Moodle on Apache. Windows OS is not suitable for large installations because PHP is limited to 32bit even in 64bit Windows, please consider using Linux or other unix-like operating systems instead.

IIS installation steps (Windows 7)

  1. Go to Control panel, click on Programs and Turn Windows features on or off
  2. Tick "Internet Information Services" and "Internet Information Services / Application Development Features / CGI"
  3. Install Microsoft Web Platform installer

PHP installation steps

It is strongly recommended to use only the official MS Platform installer, it automatically installs all necessary components and facilitates easy configuration with PHP manager. Manual installation attempts often fail or may not allow Moodle to function properly. Unfortunately MS does not distribute up-to-date version of PHP, you need to download them manually.

  1. Manually download PHP manager for IIS or use the Miscrosoft Web Platform installer and install it
  2. Download latest PHP 5.5.x VC11 x86 Thread Safe from (you may also try the Non Thread Safe version)
  3. Extract the Zip file to a directory such as C:\PHP\
  4. Install the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 [1] - on 64bit Windows install both x86 and x64
  5. Open the Internet Information Service (IIS) Manager - right click on This computer and select Manage
  6. Click on PHP Manager icon
  7. Register new PHP version - select C:\PHP\php-cgi.exe

Warning: PHP needs to be configured via FastCGI, older CGI interface is known to have problems with some file names.

PHP configuration steps

  1. Enable required extensions in the PHP manager: php_intl.dll, php_pgsql.dll
  2. Enable OPcache extension
  3. Set your timezone in PHP.ini
  4. Set appropriate memory limits in PHP.ini

IIS configuration steps

  1. Setup URL rewriting described below
  2. Configure IIS to show detailed error pages.
  3. Set very long CGI timeout - 1 hour or better more.
  4. In IIS Manager add Moodle dirroot directory as a new virtual directory or set it as site directory

More configuration hints


IIS 7 should support relative path arguments by default, if it does not work try enabling following in your php.ini

cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1

Fix UTF-8 file names

By default IIS is unable to handle unicode characters in files uploaded into Moodle.


Execute: reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\w3svc\Parameters /v FastCGIUtf8ServerVariables /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d REQUEST_URI\0PATH_INFO

URL rewriting workaround

If you can not modify registry as described above you may try manual configuration of rewrite rules, the PHP installation via Microsoft Web Platform Installer installs necessary URL Rewrite 2.0 module.

Rewrite rule - Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.png

Add following rewrite rule to enable support for unicode file names in Moodle and to work around internal file length limitation breaking YUI file serving:

  • Matches the Pattern - Regular Expressions - ^([^\?]+?\.php)(\/.+)$
  • Action - Rewrite - {R:1}\?file={R:2}
  • Append query string - enabled
  • Stop processing of subsequent rules - enabled

CGI timeouts

By default IIS is configured to stop execution of any PHP script after 5 minutes of activity, this interferes with long running Moodle scripts such as upgrade or cron. The timeout should be increased to at least one hour.

Directory permissions

The default IIS account is IIS_IUSRS or IUSR in IIS7, or IUSR_MachineName in older versions of IIS. Make sure the account has appropriate access rights to Moodle dirroot (read only) and dataroot (read/write) directories.

Debugging problems

By default, IIS contains custom error pages that intentionally hide error details on production sites. When diagnosing problems you may want to disable temporarily the IIS Error Pages so you can see Moodle specific error messages, alongside enabling debugging in Settings>Site administration>Development>Debugging. This blog post about IIS error messages explains how to get more useful error messages when using IIS.

See also