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Running Moodle Behind A Masquerading Firewall

You may be running Moodle behind a Masquerading Firewall (using Network Address Translation or NAT). In this case your internal Moodle server will most likely be assigned a non-routable (private) IP address in one of the following ranges:

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You cannot use internal ip address or internal server name in config.php if you want to access the server from Internet too. If you want to use Moodle server from Internet, use real DNS hostname in $CFG->wwwroot.


Please note that you cannot use both https:// and http:// at the same time, and must choose one and use it from both sides. Using both http and https is not supported and fails in many cases.

Remember that it is more important to use https:// inside because the potential attackers are your students and it is also much easier to eavesdrop intranet communication.

Also note that UK data protection laws indicate that https:// is required for all outside access to internal school servers, so make sure you do more than just enable the loginhttps setting.

First get real DNS hostname

If you have static IP, your firewall might already have public DNS hostname.

If you do not have a DNS hostname, if you do not like it or if you have dynamic IP address you can use several free Dynamic DNS services to obtain DNS hostname that maps to your current IP address. See , , etc.

Then tweak internal DNS server

You can either tweak all PCs in your intranet by editing hosts files which can override the data returned from DNS server.

Or you can tweak your DNS server (or forwarder) to return the internal server IP instead of the public one.

Windows DNS

Assuming you already have your NAT firewall performing port forwarding to your moodle. If running Win200x Server in an AD domain, a domain controller must be running DNS. This DNS server should be configured with Forwarders to your ISP for resolving names it doesn't have in its own zones. And your Windows clients should be pointing to this DNS server. (If you're running AD and your Windows clients do not have DNS pointing to the DNS server running on your DC, that's why it's taking you 5+ minutes to logon to the domain)

To accomodate using the same URL for intranet and Internet access to your moodle, you can create a new zone with the domain your moodle is in on your DNS server. Create an A record for your moodle's internal IP address inside this zone. Since your internal clients are using this DNS server, they'll get the private IP address; and Internet clients will get your public IP address.

See also