Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.8. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Upgrading.


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This page explains in detail how to upgrade Moodle. For a summary of the process, see Upgrade overview.

Check the requirements

Check that your server meets all requirements for 2.8 in Administration > Site administration > Server > Environment.

Note: You can only upgrade to Moodle 2.8 from Moodle 2.2 or later. If upgrading from earlier versions, you must upgrade to 2.2 as a first step.

Before upgrading

We advise that you test the upgrade first on a COPY of your production site, to make sure it works as you expect.

Backup important data

There are three areas that should be backed up before any upgrade:

  1. Moodle software (For example, everything in server/htdocs/moodle)
  2. Moodle uploaded files (For example, server/moodledata)
  3. Moodle database (For example, your Postgres or MySQL database dump)

See Site backup for more specific information.

Check for plugin updates

If you have Automatic updates deployment enabled, you will be able to update installed plugins automatically during the upgrade. Just make sure you check for available updates (via the button for it) at the Plugins check screen.

If you are updating plugins manually, it is a good moment now to check in the Moodle Plugins directory whether there is a 2.8 version available for any plugins (including themes) that you have previously installed on your site. If so, download the plugin package. In the next step, you will copy it to the appropriate location in your Moodle code (see Installing plugins).

The upgrade of the plugin will then happen as part of the Moodle upgrade process.

If an out-of-date plugin causes your upgrade to fail, you can usually delete the plugin code rather than uninstalling it from within Moodle so that the data associated with it is not deleted.

Put your site into maintenance mode

Before you begin upgrading your site, you should put it into maintenance mode to stop any non-admin users from logging in. Then you should wait for any currently running cron processes to complete before proceeding.

Install the new Moodle software

You can fetch the current (2.8) version of the software through


Standard install package

  1. Move your old Moodle software program files to another location. Do NOT copy new files over the old files.
  2. Unzip or unpack the upgrade file so that all the new Moodle software program files are in the location the old files used to be in on the server. Moodle will adjust SQL and moodledata if it needs to in the upgrade.
  3. Copy your old config.php file back to the new Moodle directory.
  4. As mentioned above, if you had installed any plugins on your site you should add them to the new code tree now. It is important to check that you get the correct version for your new version of Moodle. Be particularly careful that you do not overwrite any code in the new version of Moodle.
  5. Copy over your moodledata folder / directory. If you don't you will get a "fatal error $cfg- dataroot is not configured properly".


mv moodle moodle.backup
tar xvzf moodle-2.8.tgz

Next, copy across your config.php, any custom plugins, and your .htaccess file if you created one (check that custom plugins are the correct version for your new Moodle first):

cp moodle.backup/config.php moodle
cp -pr moodle.backup/theme/mytheme moodle/theme/mytheme
cp -pr moodle.backup/mod/mymod moodle/mod/mymod

Don't forget to make moodle/config.php (and the rest of the source code) readable by your www server. Ideally the files should not be writeable by your server.

If you use cron, take care that cron.php is executeable and uses the correct php command:

chmod 740 admin/cli/cron.php (some configurations need chmod 750 or chmod 755)
copy the first line from cron.php (if it looks like '#!/usr/local/bin/php' or '#!/usr/local/bin/php5.3', no need to copy '<?php')

if necessary.

Using Git

You can use Git for updating or upgrading your Moodle. See Git for Administrators for details.

Command line upgrade

On Linux servers, Moodle 2.8 supports running the upgrade from the command line, rather than through a web browser. This is likely to be more reliable, particularly for large sites.

Finishing the upgrade

The last step is to trigger the upgrade processes within Moodle.

If you put your site into Maintenance mode earlier; take it out now!

To do this just go to Administration > Site administration > Notifications.

Moodle will automatically detect the new version and perform all the SQL database or file system upgrades that are necessary. If there is anything it can't do itself (very rare) then you will see messages telling you what you need to do.

Assuming all goes well (no error messages) then you can start using your new version of Moodle and enjoy the new features!

Note: If you are running multiple servers then you should purge all caches manually (via Administration > Site administration > Development > Purge all caches) after completing the upgrade on all servers.

Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded...

If your server uses a main language other than English, you may encounter a 'Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded' when you try to upgrade it. You can increase max_execution_time = 160 on php.ini to allow the scripts enough time to process the language update. Otherwise, you can switch to English as the default language before doing the upgrade and back to your original language after a succcessful upgrade. See the forum discussion at

After upgrading

The config.php file from your installation should work fine but if you take a look at config-dist.php that came with Moodle 2.8 there are more/different options available (e.g. database drivers and settings). It's a good idea to map your old config.php settings to a new one based on the 2.8 config-dist.php.


Cron has received a major update (MDL-25499) and now has support for both scheduled and adhoc tasks.

The benefits of these changes are:

  • The schedule for every task can be configured by the admin
  • Tasks can run in parallel
  • Cron processes use locking to prevent the same task running at the same time by different processes
  • Clusters with multiple identical application nodes are supported, you can run cron on all of them

A result of this is that cron can be run much more often, which means (for example) forum posts can be sent out sooner. To take advantage of the new cron system it is now strongly recommended that administrators increase the frequency that cron is run to at least once per minute.

You also may need to modify any automated scripts you have that are parsing the output from cron. It is no longer possible to simply monitor the output of cron for the string "Cron script completed correctly" (if that is what you were doing). An alternative is to monitor the output for the string "task failed:". If you detect that a task is failing, here are some tips for debugging the failure.

Before the upgrade to 2.8, there may have been a cron task that was failing, which was preventing the rest of cron from being executed. A failure in any single task will no longer prevent the rest of the Moodle cron tasks from executing, so you may uncover previously masked bugs. It is a good idea to closely monitor the output from cron after the upgrade to 2.8.


The old assignment (2.2) module has been removed from core and has been replaced by a stub to support transparently remapping URLs and restoring course backups from the old module to the new one.

If you are still using the old assignment (2.2) module, after upgrading to Moodle 2.8 all assignment (2.2) activities will be hidden. You need to run the Assignment upgrade tool to un-hide the activities.

If you really, really need to keep using the old assignment (2.2) module, you should update the code to Moodle 2.8, and then replace the "mod/assignment" folder with the one from before completing the upgrade.

Possible issues that may affect you in Moodle 2.8

New aggregation method - 'Natural'

The aggregation method 'Sum of grades' used in the gradebook has been reviewed, significantly improved and renamed to 'Natural'. It is recommended that 'Natural' is set as the default aggregation method, as for new Moodle 2.8 installs.

In addition, the aggregation setting 'Aggregate including subcategories' has been removed.

Any courses previously using either 'Sum of grades' and/or 'Aggregate including subcategories' may have some changes to grades. Thus it is recommended that grades in the gradebook are reviewed for such courses.

Teachers able to enrol users via the cohort sync enrolment method

Teachers will get access to Cohort sync enrolment method if it is enabled, remove capability to use this enrolment method from teachers if you want to preserve 2.7 behaviour. See MDL-36014

Gradebook scrolling and theme issues

Themes with non-fixed headers must have the .navbar class in their navbar in order for floating headers in the grader report to work - see MDL-46658 for more information.

Removal of the 'Group members only' experimental setting

The experimental setting 'Group members only' has been removed in Moodle 2.8. The group and grouping restrictions in conditional activities now provide this functionality. Any 'Available for group members only' instances are automatically converted to group or grouping restrictions when a site is upgraded.

  • 'Available for group members only' instances with no grouping selected are converted to a 'Must belong to any group' restriction.
  • 'Available for group members only' instances with a grouping specified are converted to a 'Must belong to the specific grouping' restriction.

Removal of DragMath

DragMath is no longer distributed in Moodle. It is available elsewhere as a third-party plugin which may be downloaded and installed by an administrator.

MySQL dmlwriteexception error when restoring a course

If you obtain a dmlwriteexception error when restoring a course, it is recommended that InnoDB tables are converted to the Barracuda file format. See the section 'Converting InnoDB tables to Barracuda' in Administration via command line for details of why this is recommended plus information on a tool for converting tables.

MySQL dmlwriteexception error when using calculated questions in a quiz

If you're using MySQL or SQL*Server and you have a problem with duplicated keys with the question_attempt_step_data table when using calculated questions in a quiz (from entering a formula which uses variables with the same characters in different cases), it is recommended that you upgrade to Moodle 3.0.x or higher ASAP. Alternatively, the problematic unique index can be dropped or the collation of the columns changed to be case-sensitive, however this is not considered a complete fix. See MDL-29332 for more information.

Moodle 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7 improvements

Depending on which version you are upgrading from, please see the section 'Possible issues that may affect you' in the documentation

See also