Installation on Ubuntu using Git

From MoodleDocs


This page gives the basic steps to install Moodle on Ubuntu using Moodle code from Git. This is generally a better idea than using the Ubuntu '.deb' package.

There was no intention to provide a fully secured production server. This just gets basic Moodle working on 'localhost'.

This should work on either Ubuntu Desktop or Server edition.

Install Ubuntu

Basic Setup

Note: This old documentation uses PHP 5, but current Moodle 3.5 should use PHP 7
  • Open a terminal window (from Applications>Accessories) on Desktop or log into the terminal on Server.
  • become root (and stay there right through this), install some additional software (git and php extras Moodle needs):
sudo su  (you will need to enter your password)
apt-get update
apt-get install git git-core git-doc
apt-get install php5-gd php5-curl php5-intl php5-xmlrpc
apt-get install php5 mysql-server mysql-client apache2  php5-mysql
apt-get install php5-json

Install Moodle code

We're going to use Git to pull the latest code. You could just download it, but this is more fun! The checkout switches to the latest (weekly) of the 2.6 branch. The chmod (temporarily) allows the installation script to write the config file. Still as superuser ('sudo su' from before):

cd /var/www
git clone
cd moodle
git checkout -t origin/MOODLE_39_STABLE
chmod 0777 /var/www/moodle
  • The moodle code location (for installation) is /var/www/moodle

Create the data area

You can create this where you like (more or less) but I will do (assuming you are still superuser)...

mkdir /var/moodledata
chmod 0777 /var/moodledata
  • The moodle data location (for installation) is /var/moodledata

Create the database

You will need the root database password. Unless you have changed it, this is same as your login password (or whatever you set up when you installed MySQL above).

mysql -u root -p
(asks for password here)
mysql> create database moodle default character set utf8;
mysql> grant all on moodle.* to moodleuser@localhost identified by 'mypassword';
mysql> exit


  • don't type 'mysql>', that's just the prompt from the mysql client.
  • The grant command creates the MySQL account 'moodleuser' with the supplied password and gives it rights to the moodle database all in one command.
  • Set 'mypassword' to something you make up. This is the password for your moodle database
  • When you install moodle the database is called 'moodle', the database user 'moodleuser' and the password as above

Configure apache

The standard configuration of Apache on Ubuntu should work fine and will give you a Moodle URL of http://name.or.ip.of.server/moodle (or http://localhost/moodle).

If you need other configurations or a different form of URL, now is the time to configure this. However, this is not covered here. There is lots of information online, although do note that the Ubuntu Apache configuration is rather different to the standard layout.

Install Moodle

Open Firefox and go to address http://localhost/moodle You should be able to install Moodle using the information indicated above

and finally

Don't skip this step. This secures the Moodle code, preventing it being overwritten by hackers.

chmod 0755 /var/www/moodle

Don't forget

a quick note on updating

Because we installed using Git, updating Moodle (on the same stable branch) becomes surprisingly simple. Using the repository we did gives you the latest weekly at any time. If it matters, do a backup first then:

sudo su
chmod /var/www/moodle
git pull

Then go to the Site administration > Notifications page in Moodle to complete the upgrade.


  • If something goes wrong in the actual Moodle installation - switch on Debugging. You can create Moodle's config.php file by copying config-dist.php to config.php and editing it. It is very well documented by comments. Well down in the file you will find the options to turn on debugging. See Configuration file. If you create the file by hand, the installation will pick up from the correct place automatically.
  • Most errors will turn up in the web server logs. Always check there first - /var/log/apache2/errors.log
  • If you need to change things like file upload sizes you need to edit /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini and then restart the web server with 'sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart'

See also