How to Set Up Moodle

Everyone knows how amazing Moodle is as an educational platform and it just keeps getting better by the day. It allows you to learn from anywhere with an internet connection and mobile support (with the exception of iOS but, what else is new …).

If you want to truly access the power of Moodle, you need to know how to set it up! It’s not a difficult thing to do, but it’s a little bit of a process. I’ll have to slip in some more technical details into this piece, than I’m used to. Please, don’t let this scare you, I assure you that the process is easy and you’ll do just fine.

So, let’s talk about how to setup Moodle in a few, simple steps.

What you need:

Moodle was developed mainly in Linux, which is an operating system like Windows or Mac OS, but being open source, it is primarily designed to run on servers. It was designed to use Apache (an HTTP service system), MySQL (a database system) and PHP (a server side scripting language). You don’t have to use this combination (often called the LAMP platform), but it’s the safest bet.

You will need at least 160MB of disc space, and 256MB of RAM (but it’s better to go for at least a gigabyte).

Other operating systems that can run this can include Windows XP/2000/2003, Sun Solaris, Mac OSX and Netware 6. These have all been officially tested to work with Moodle (alongside Apache or IIS as a service module).

I highly recommend MySQL as your database, but you can also use PostgreSQL, MSSQL, Oracle or SQLite.

If you’re unsure of which system to use, consult your server or network administrator and he or she can confirm a working with  one or a combination of these. Or they can set one up for you. Don’t try to tackle this on your own if it’s not your forte; that’s what admins are for!

Getting Moodle:

You can either acquire Moodle’s code from a Git server (I recommend not using this, it’s a pain), or from a secure HTTP download (that is provided upon payment).

Either way, once you’ve obtained it, open the package, and you will be presented with folders and files.

Installing Moodle:

You will want to extract the contents of this package to a root folder on your server, so that it points to (just an example). If you’re unsure where root folders, like these, go within your server, consult the admin; it all depends on configuration, operating systems and Apache or IIS settings.

After this step, be sure to set the permissions so that the directory isn’t writeable by users. This is usually doable through the GUI, (but can also be done via commandline, if you’re running Unix). If you have go through the latter, then let your admin do this.

Next, you’ll want to create an empty database, which is doable via the database’s interface manager- no matter the version. You’ll be asked to assign a dbhost (the host name, usually localhost), the dbname (the name of the database … I recommend that  you call it moodle), dbuser (the username that accesses it –  I recommend that you call this moodleuser) and the dbpass (the password – this one’s up to you, but keep it simple).

Make sure you write down and remember the data that you just gave the database. After you create the Moodle-data directory, you will proceed to the web based installer  (by navigating to the URL which normally accesses Moodle). If it’s not installed yet, this will call the installer script, which will take you through a wizard.

From here, “how to setup Moodle,” beyond what I’ve already described, is a simple, guided process I needn’t outline. Just make sure you remember the database access information from above.

This is all you need to know when it comes to setting up Moodle.


Nicole Lewis is the Lead Author & Editor of MyLMStips. MyLMStips is dedicated to providing the most engaging topics, information, tips and tricks surrounding Moodle®. It's a place where Moodle® users can receive guidance on how to get the most out of it and increase their productivity and progress.