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(Redirected from Upgrading to Moodle 4.4)

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

Check the requirements

Before upgrading, check that your server meets all requirements for 4.4 in Site administration > Server > Environment.

See the Moodle 4.4 release notes for server and client software requirements.


  • You can only upgrade to Moodle 4.4 from Moodle 4.1.2 or later. If upgrading from earlier versions, you must upgrade to 4.1.2 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.

Consider setting the upgrade key for your site.

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 4.4 version available for any plugins (including themes) 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If an out-of-date plugin causes your upgrade to fail, you can usually delete the plugin code rather than uninstalling it from within Moodle so that the data associated with it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 download the latest release from Moodle downloads.

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 (Moodle directory structure) 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 and that you place the plugin folders in the correct directory (the same directory that they are in in the current installation.)
  5. Your moodledata folder should be located separately to your Moodle code folder and, as such, should not need anything done to it. Moodle 3.0 will throw a warning if it is located in a web accessible folder and the moodledata should never be located in the Moodle code folder. If you are moving your installation to a new server or new location on your server, then you will need to follow the Migration documents.


mv moodle moodle.backup
tar xvzf moodle-latest-4.4.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. For maximum security the files should not be writeable by your server. This is especially important on a 'production' server open to the public internet.

chown -R root:root moodle (Linux debian - or even create a user especially for moodle. Don't use the web server user, e.g. www-data)
chmod -R 755 moodle

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. However, for a simple upgrade, there should be no need to change anything with cron.

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 4.4 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 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 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 successful upgrade. See the forum discussion at https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=119598.

Possible issues that may affect you in Moodle 4.4

New activity icons

Updated activity icons 24 x 24px are outlined with a transparent background and use an accessible colour palette.

Course section pages

A new section page displays the contents of an individual course section. The general section no longer appears above the selected section. Section names in the course page link to section pages. Any manually added section links of the form course/view.php?id=xx#section-z will continue working, linking to course page anchors.

Manual enrolment course welcome message

As for self enrolment, a course welcome message can be sent for Manual enrolment. An admin or manager can customise the message in the manual enrolment settings in the course.

New notifications

  • Self enrolment: Users are notified before they are unenrolled due to inactivity
  • Tasks: Administrators are notified when tasks fail

TinyMCE is the default text editor

TinyMCE becomes the default text editor of sites upgrading to 4.4. Since 4.2 it has been the default text editor of new installs.

Topics course format renamed

The Topics course format is renamed 'Custom sections' and new sections are no longer numbered.

BigBlueButton credentials required

To continue using the BigBlueButton free tier hosting, the admin needs to register with BigBlueButton to obtain credentials for their site.

Chat and Survey activities

Chat and Survey activities are disabled in new Moodle 4.4 installs and are due for removal in Moodle 5.0. You can check if they are used on your upgraded site in Site administration > Plugins > Manage activities and disable them if they are unused.

Multi-factor authentication SMS factor

To increase site security, Multi-factor authentication includes the option to authenticate via an SMS code.

Option to show password as plain text

You can allow users to show their entered password as plain text via a new setting 'Password visibility toggle' in Site administration > Plugins > Manage authentication. The option is disabled on upgraded sites and set to 'Small screens only' on new installs.

Browse list of users page improvements

Site administration > Users > Browse list of users no longer shows the fields 'City' and 'Country' unless they are included as identity fields.

Asynchronous course backups

Asynchronous backups provide a better user experience allowing users to do other operations while a backup or restore is in progress. Asynchronous course backups are enabled for new Moodle 4.4 installs. You can enable asynchronous course backups on your upgraded site in Site administration > Courses > Asynchronous backup/restore.

Theme settings

In Site administration > Appearance, Theme settings are renamed 'Advanced theme settings'. Settings for Boost or Classic are accessed via the 'Edit theme settings' link in Site administration > Appearance > Themes.

See also the list of upgrade_notes-labelled issues and ui_change-labelled issues also the Moodle 4.4 developer update.

New capabilities in Moodle 4.4

  • View all custom reports (moodle/reportbuilder:viewall)
  • Access TinyMCE Premium features (tiny/premium:accesspremium)
  • Use upload course tool (tool/uploadcourse:use)

Moodle 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 upgrading notes

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

Any questions about the process?

Please post in the Installing and upgrading help forum on moodle.org.