Installing Moodle

Revision as of 14:53, 2 July 2005 by Przemyslaw Stencel (talk | contribs) (Site structure)

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Don't panic! :-)

This guide explains how to install Moodle for the first time. For some of these steps it goes into a lot of detail to try and cover the majority of possible web server setups, so this document may look long and complicated. Don't panic, once you know how to do it you can install Moodle in minutes!

If you have problems please read this document carefully - most common issues are answered in here. If you still have trouble, you can seek help from Moodle Help

Another option is to contact a web hosting company who can completely maintain Moodle for you, so that you can ignore all this and get straight into educating!


Moodle is primarily developed in Linux using Apache, MySQL and PHP (also sometimes known as the LAMP platform), but is also regularly tested with PostgreSQL and on Windows XP, Mac OS X and Netware 6 operating systems

The requirements for Moodle are as follows:

  1. Web server software. Most people use Apache, but Moodle should work fine under any web server that supports PHP, such as IIS on Windows platforms.
  2. PHP scripting language (version 4.1.0 or later). PHP 5 is supported as of Moodle 1.4.
  3. a working database server: MySQL or PostgreSQL are completely supported and recommended for use with Moodle. MySQL is the choice for many people because it is very popular, but there are some arguments in favour of PostgreSQL, especially if you are planning a large deployment.

Most web hosts support all of this by default. If you are signed up with one of the few webhosts that does not support these features ask them why, and consider taking your business elsewhere.

If you want to run Moodle on your own computer and all this looks a bit daunting, then please see our guide: Installing Apache, MySQL and PHP. It provides some step-by-step instructions to install all this on most popular platforms.

Download and copy files into place

There are two ways to get Moodle, as a compressed package or via CVS. These are explained in detail on the download page:

After downloading and unpacking the archive, or checking out the files via CVS, you will be left with a directory called "moodle", containing a number of files and folders.

You can either place the whole folder in your web server documents directory, in which case the site will be located at, or you can copy all the contents straight into the main web server documents directory, in which case the site will be simply

If you are downloading Moodle to your local computer and then uploading it to your web site, it is usually better to upload the whole archive as one file, and then do the unpacking on the server. Even web hosting interfaces like Cpanel allow you to uncompress archives in the "File Manager".

Site structure

You can safely skip this section, but here is a quick summary of the contents of the Moodle folder, to help get you oriented:

  • config.php - contains basic settings. This file does not come with Moodle - you will create it.
  • install.php - the script you will run to create config.php
  • version.php - defines the current version of Moodle code
  • index.php - the front page of the site
  • admin/ - code to administrate the whole server
  • auth/ - plugin modules to authenticate users
  • blocks/ - plugin modules for the little side blocks on many pages
  • calendar/ - all the code for managing and displaying calendars
  • course/ - code to display and manage courses
  • doc/ - help documentation for Moodle (eg this page)
  • files/ - code to display and manage uploaded files
  • lang/ - texts in different languages, one directory per language
  • lib/ - libraries of core Moodle code
  • login/ - code to handle login and account creation
  • mod/ - all the main Moodle course modules are in here
  • pix/ - generic site graphics
  • theme/ - theme packs/skins to change the look of the site.
  • user/ - code to display and manage users

Run the installer script to create config.php

Check web server settings

Creating a database

Creating a data directory

Go to the admin page to continue configuration

Set up cron

Create a new course