Moodle Apache Integration Best Practices

We all love Moodle when it comes to training these days. With old learning models no longer being regarded so highly, after three centuries of them proving to be horrible, we were ready for a flexible, open source system to let us make avail of wondrous modern technology to escape the old ways. Moodle offered us just that, and with gusto. Unfortunately, with a system like this, there are some technical aspects of setting them up, such as Moodle Apache integration, which may seem, at first, to be a little complicated or even scary.

In truth, even if you’re not used to working with technology on this level of technical involvement, it’s not really that bad. It just can seem utterly alien and daunting to the uninitiated. But, when it comes to Moodle Apache integration, it’s not only pretty simple to do, but it’s easy to get help. In fact, we’ve covered how to install Moodle and set up Apache on a basic level (along with the very easy to use XAMPP) before. But, basic knowledge of installation, and getting the best configuration possible, aren’t the same thing.

If you look back at our installation guides, or those of anyone else, you notice that performance optimization aspects are left open to your judgment. How do you come by the information that best suits your configuration and your equipment? Well, today, I’ll get you started on that. I’ll keep the technical part of this to a minimum just in case you’re not a techie at heart, too.

#1 – Always Benchmark First!

Benchmarking is important in technology, so you should always benchmark your system first. Benchmarking is usually done by running a design on your equipment that performs a series of strenuous tasks that reflect the various kinds of demands that can realistically be made of your hardware.

A number of server benchmarking kits exist, and they’re very easy to use, so it’s up to you what you use. But, the key things to make sure it benchmarks are your RAM usage, processor workload, bandwidth consumption and database efficiency. Along with these, you also want to test how speedy your PHP and/or ASP modules are as well.

#2 – Account for Scalability

When setting up Apache, or XAMPP, along with Moodle, you’re usually made aware of minimal requirements for these to work together, by way of space, bandwidth, RAM and processing power. Meeting these minimal requirements will make the system work, yes, but you must account for growth, especially with something like Moodle, which can quickly need more space and power as your learning model gets more dynamic, and your number of students increases.

#3 – Choose Wisely your Operating System

Finally, one of the most important best practices for this integration is choosing your OS wisely. It’s easy to default to a system you regard as “easy”, like Windows or Mac OS X. However, when working with servers, you want something that’s capable of being massively parallel, and that, itself, is light on memory usage. Mac OS X is notoriously bad at being a server to begin with, as it was never designed for this. Windows, however, is capable of being a server fairly proficiently. However, Windows is kind of heavy on memory use, and can choke if too much parallelism is required.

This leaves the best choice being a Linux distribution. While this can seem intimidating, as Linux is regarded as “complicated”, that’s not the case anymore. In fact, it’s become incredibly user-friendly. If you use an Android mobile device frequently, you’re already used to a form of Linux, and may not have even known it!

So, you may be surprised that the Moodle Apache integration best practices are all about some common sense decisions, rather than a lest of specific technical approaches, but that’s how these things go. You can’t standardize technical specifics across the board, when these very things we’ve discussed can form a vast number of combinations depending on circumstance, after all.

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.