image header Moodle Install and Setup Guide Part1

Guides & Research

The Moodle™ Setup and Installation Guide

March 10, 2023

Moodle Install Guide
The complete resource for setting up your Moodle LMS

Free setup guide

How to set up Moodle? Here's the guide to get you started.

Part 1: How to Setup Moodle

How to Install Moodle LMS For Windows

A manual Moodle LMS installation is the recommended method for small to medium Moodle implementations; or in other words, those organizations who plan to use Moodle for small projects. It should be noted that Windows is not the recommended platform for large Moodle LMS installations, as it does not have the storage capacity to hold the data from your Moodle site. If you plan to hold more than 2 billion records in your Moodle databases, we recommend considering an operating system with 64-bit support. The following steps for installing Moodle are intended for skilled IT professionals. If you do not have technical skills or Moodle experience in-house, reach out to us and we’d be more than happy to have your Moodle site implemented for you.

1. Plan System Capacity

Before getting started with your Moodle LMS installation, you will first need to know which hardware is going to best support your users and data.

Managed Moodle Cloud Hosting is the recommended option as it will support any amount of users and will ensure your Moodle site doesn’t crash if you exceed your capacity.

2. Install Database Server

Now that you know your capacity, it is time to install your database server. The three databases recommended by Moodle are MySQL, MariaDB or PostgreSQL. Please not if you plan to use Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or Oracle, this is not recommended due to system incompatibilities.

3. Install Web Server

There are also a few different options for installing your web server, which is the next step in your Moodle LMS installation. Apache 2 is the recommended web server to use with Moodle because it has been tested and verified. IIS 7/8 has also been used in the past but has not been tested for the same reliability as Apache 2.

4. Install PHP

When installing  PHP on your chosen operating system, be sure to follow best-practices.  If on a IIS 7/8 server, use Microsoft’s Web Platform installer.

5. Download Moodle & Copy Files into Place

Download and copy the Moodle files from There are a number of different places you can obtain Moodle’s open source code from. It is highly suggested that you download the standard version from Moodle as your site will be better supported for security and bug fixes. Once downloaded, a directory called “moodle” will appear which contains a number of files and folders. If you want your Moodle site to be located at, place the entire folder in your web server’s documents directory. If you want your Moodle site to be located at, you can copy all content straight into the main web server documents directory.

6. Create Moodle Data Directory & Secure Database

You will need to create a data directory to store all of our Moodle files (this includes uploads, cache, session data, even temporary data). Once you have created a Moodle data directory, you will want to take appropriate measures to secure this data. To begin, ensure that your directory is NOT accessible directly via the web. If you are hosting Moodle internally, create an empty database for the installation. If you are outsourcing hosting, find a web-based administration page for databases as part of the control pane. It is recommended that you outsource your hosting to a specialized Moodle hosting vendor.

7. Begin Moodle Install

Run the installer to create Moodle database tables so you can configure your new site!

8. Setup Backups

There are countless errors that may cause your Moodle site to crash resulting in the loss of courses, student data, and history. Ensuring that a proper backup and disaster recovery system is in place will be the difference between business failure or business continuity. It is important that Moodle courses are backed up in addition to your Moodle data, moodle directories and your moodle site configuration. Backups should be performed hourly and stored in multiple geographic locations in the case of a natural disaster. With Managed Moodle Cloud Hosting, this is all taken care of for you wherein backups and disaster recovery are performed and monitored to international standards.

9. Checking Server Security and Performance

There are many factors to consider to ensure your Moodle site runs with optimal performance and to regulatory security standards. A poorly performing Moodle site results in slow loading pages, lagging video, system crashes, and security/vulnerability threats. In order to accurately check server security and performance you will want to gather benchmark data from performance monitoring sites. Once you have a performance benchmark, you can accurately measure how well your Moodle site is running. Examples of performance metrics you will want to compare are: scalability, server clusters, hardware configuration, operating system speed, web server performance, PHP performance and database performance.

When outsourcing your Moodle Implementation and Cloud Hosting, all of this is taken care of for you, at a fraction of the cost (and time) that would be required to do in-house. In addition, you benefit from the expertise and knowledge of people who have been working with Moodle since its conception in 2002.

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How to Install Moodle For Mac

Before getting started with your Moodle learning management system installation for Mac ensure that your computer meets the following system requirements:

  • Apple OS X Computer

  • Processor: Intel x86_64 (i5, i7, Xeon, Core2Duo)

  • Ram: 4 GB or higher

  • Hard disk: At least 1 GB available

  • System Software: OS X 10.6.8, 10.7, 10.8, 10.8, 10.10



1.First, download the disk image Moodle4Mac-MAMP.dmg from Moodle packages. Various file images will be displayed here, for the different Moodle versions – double click the disk image of the Moodle version you want to mount the installation disk. We recommend downloading the latest stable version to ensure your Moodle site is supported for the longest possible duration of time.

2. Double click on your recent download, ‘Moodle4Mac0MAMP.dmg’ to open up the installation disk.

3. Move MAMP into Applications as instructed on the screenshot below. Once the file has successfully moved to your Applications folder, you will be ready to set up your Moodle server.

image Install Moodle for Mac screenshot

4. Navigate to your Applications folder, select the MAMP folder and double click to open.

5. Open your browser and type in one of the two urls: Either http://localhost:8888/moodle/ or Your new Moodle site is now ready and running!

6. If you are going to be the main administrator of your local Moodle LMS site, you can login with the following credentials:

  • Username – admin
  • Password – 12345

You have now successfully completed your Moodle LMS installation for Mac! Next step is to find a Moodle Cloud Hosting provider to ensure your Moodle site runs optimally for speed, precision and security.

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Part 2: How to Add and Upload User Accounts to Moodle

How to Add and Upload User Accounts to Moodle

Now that you have Moodle installed onto either a Mac or PC (Windows) it’s time to add Moodle user accounts! Before we teach you how to set up a course in Moodle, you will need to know how to set up Moodle user accounts. This capability is given to the Moodle LMS administrators, Moodle managers and in some cases Moodle users if you choose to allow learners to self-register.


Step 1: assign usernames and set passwords

The first step is to assign usernames and a temporary passwords (this can be changed at any time). Usernames can only consist of lowercase alphabetical letters, numbers, hyphens, underscores, periods, and “at” characters (@). If you want to increase username capabilities, simply enable the Moodle administrator setting “Allow extended characters in usernames.”

Navigate to this option in the site administration settings: Users > Accounts > Add a new user. If you want to upload multiple users at a single time use the path: Users > Accounts > Upload Users and upload your CSV file.

By using a CSV file, you can create a spreadsheet and leverage Moodle mechanisms like course enrollment, role assignments, create users, update existing users, and suspend or delete users.

image upload users using CSV file screenshot

An example of how a CSV file can be set up.

Note: the required fields for your sheet are "username", "firstname", "lastname", and "email". These will be the headers of each column in your sheet and are case sensitive, so keep them lowercase. 


Step 2: define authentication methods

Next, you will need to define authentication methods. This security measure is the process users go through when Moodle is verifying the user’s specified password. If user accounts are created by a Moodle administrator, the “Manual Accounts” method will be used. If users created their own accounts (using the email signup method), the email based self-registration method will be used.

Step 3: follow up email with instructions

A temporary password will be automatically generated by Moodle for each user. A follow up email will then be sent to users, with instructions on how to login to their Moodle account and change the temporary password they’ve been assigned. (To change a password, you go to User menu → Preferences).


Moodle User Account Information to Consider

General Information

Input users first name, last name, and email address. The first and last name will be displayed whenever the user writes in forums, and when the user is included in lists or reports. Moodle users can also update their city/town, country, timezone, and preferred language. The email address provided is where users will receive any notifications, such as password reset notices, message notifications, or forum digests.

Email Management Settings

There are a couple of different email management settings to go over for security. First, there is an Email Display setting which controls who can see each user’s email address. Second, there is an Email Format setting which ensures Moodle sends text only emails to the specified user. Third is an Email Digest Type setting which will control the type and frequency of emails that are sent to the user. You have the option to select which forums you want users to be subscribed to and how frequently these updates come:

  • No digest wherein one receive updates every time there is a new post
  • Complete wherein the user receives a single daily digest
  • Subjects wherein the user receives as single daily digest with only the post topics included

User Profile

Users have the option to include a personal description and upload a user profile picture which will be displayed for other users in the site to see. While it is not mandatory for users to include this information, experience tells us that it can help create a more personable and friendly environment in Moodle. Users also have the option of including their interests, Institution, Department, Phone number, address, as well as various application ID’s such as Skype, AIM, MSN, and Yahoo. Again, this information is not mandatory but can be provided by instructors for example, in order to be more accessible to help learners.

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Part 3: How to Set Up a Moodle Course

Knowing how to set up Moodle courses is essential for any and all Moodle LMS administrators. You can only add new courses if you have Moodle administrator, course creator, or Moodle manager rights.

1. Log-in to Moodle. Go to Administration>Site administration>Courses>Manage courses and categories

2. Go to the category that the new course will be living in.

3. Click on the link that says “New course”

4. Now you ready to fill in the following course settings.

  • Course name – both full name (Eg. English 100: Intro to Fiction)  and a shorthand name, e. g. ENG100

  • Course category

  • Course start date

  • Course ID number

  • Course description – including course summary, and course summary files (typically, an image)

  • Course format – e.g. weekly format, topics format, social format, etc.


The next few steps will only be applicable if you have upgraded to Moodle 2.9.

5. You will be able to either “Save and return” to back to your course, or “Save and display” to go the next screen.

6. When you click “Save and Display”, you can begin selecting your students, and assigning teachers to the course.

Your course should now be ready to go!


Additional options you have in a new course:

  • You have the ability to hide sections from students

  • You have the option to display grades to students or not

  • You have the option of showing reports of all activity in the course

  • You can define the words you are using the course, for teachers and students to see and understand ahead of time

Keep in mind that you can always go back into these settings and make changes in the future if you wish. Changes can be made from your course administration panel.

Part 4: How to Enroll Students into a Moodle Course

Once you have created your Moodle course the next step is to enroll your learners into that course! The following instructions show how to enroll students in Moodle using manual Moodle enrolments.

Begin in the course you wish to enroll students in and navigate to Administration → Course Administration → Users → Enrollment methods, and make sure that “Manual Enrolments” is enabled. If it is enabled, there will be an icon of an open eye, if not, enable it so you can manually add students into your Moodle course. Within this screen you also have the option to edit the manual enrollment settings so that certain actions occur automatically. These settings include the default role of the enrolled user, the person(s) to notify when the course is about to expire, and the length of time that the Moodle user will be enrolled in the course for. Once this is set, you have one of two methods for enrolling users.


Method #1 (Single Select)

  • Go to Administration → Course administration → Users → Enrolled users, and click the button that says “Enroll users” (it should be located either at the top right, or bottom left)

  • If you want to change the role of the users you are enrolling, use the “Assign roles” dropdown to select a different one

  • Select your desired enrollment options

  • Search for the user, and click the “Enroll” button opposite their name. The user’s name in the list will indent. You will know a user has been successfully enrolled when users name in the list is indented, and the enroll button disappears

  • Finally, you can either click the button that says “Finish enrolling users”, or just close the “enrol users” box

  • The users should now appear in the list of enrolled users.


Method #2 (Multiple Select)

  • Under Administration → course administration → users → enrollment methods, click the icon that says “enroll users”, in the editing column opposite where it says “manual enrollment”

  • From the list of users are not enrolled, select the users you wish (Shortcut: use Ctrl + click to select multiple users)

  • “Add” these selected users to the enrolled users list and then click ‘save as’


Part 5: How to Create a Moodle Quiz

Now that we have shown you how to set up Moodle, courses, and users, it’s time to learn how to set up the most used Moodle feature – Quizzes! Knowing how to create a Moodle quiz is going to be essential for Moodle administrators and teachers as it is a great way to test knowledge comprehension before, during and after modules and courses. The great thing about the Quiz feature in Moodle is that quizzes can be set up to be automatically marked, or saved for grading by the instructor later.

Building a quiz in Moodle can be done in two ways. You can either wholly create a new quiz through the quiz activity setting, or select pre-existing quiz questions from the Question bank in Moodle. We will go through both of these quiz creating options in Moodle with you.


Creating a Quiz Activity, through Moodle’s Quiz Settings

The very first step in creating a Moodle quiz, is going to: Add an activity or resource>Quiz. If you don’t see this, you should be able to use the dropdown Add an activity>Quiz. Now you should be able to access the following fields under Quiz Settings:

1. Give the quiz a name, and a description.

You will also have the option of making the description visible on the course page – this is a box you will tick.

2. You have the option of managing the following date settings:

  • The date and time the quiz opens, and closes – i.e. students can begin taking the quiz sometime within this time period. It’s also possible to set different start dates for the same quiz, for different groups or users in Moodle.

  • The time limit students have when taking the quiz. Initially, this setting will be turned off by default, so it must be enabled if you wish to have this option.

3. Manage Grade settings (Collapsed by default):

  • Grade category – You can select “Uncategorized”, or select one of the categories you might have in your gradebook if you wish.

  • Set the minimum grade students need to obtain in order to pass

  • Set the number of attempts you want students to be allowed (Unlimited/#)

  • If you set multiple attempts at a quiz, you can also choose the grading method. Eg. choose the highest grade, average grade, first grade, or last grade in the attempts.

4. You can manage the quiz layout

  • You have the option of displaying the quiz over several pages (you can also limit the number of questions per page)

  • You can control the navigation method. You have one of two options:

    • Sequential: students are forced to go through questions in the set order, without the ability to go back to older questions, or forward to later ones.

    • Free: students can go back to older questions, or move forward to see later ones.

5. Question behaviour (collapsed by default)

  • You can set questions to shuffle if you wish.

  • Manage how questions behave. Eg. deferred feedback, immediate feedback, interactive mode, conditional questions

  • You can allow redo’s within a quiz attempt

6. Appearance management

  • You can enable students pictures to be displayed

  • You can manage how you want grades displayed – i.e. How many digits will be shown after the decimal separator.

7. Overall feedback.

This is the feedback shown after a quiz attempt has been completed. The grade will be displayed, with the feedback underneath.


Adding Questions to a Moodle Quiz

1. Go to Administration>Quiz Administration>Edit quiz

2. Click “Add”, and select the option to add a new question, or the option to select an existing question from the Question Bank (if you select the latter, you have the option of selecting a random question).

Moodle’s Question Bank is a collection of all quiz questions used by one school/organization. Questions are saved, ready to be reused again for a different course offering at a later time. This is particularly useful within departments. For example, if one History teacher creates a quiz, those carefully crafted questions can be recycled for other History classes in the future. It’s a great way to collaborate within a school or organization allowing for the iteration of better quizzes and significant time savings! Questions can also be created right within the Question Bank, without actually being created as part of a quiz first.


Creating a New Question within the Question Bank

3. After clicking Add, a screen will appear so you can choose the type of question to add.

4. There will be a question form on the next screen, where you can put in your question, as well as the grade you wish to give the correct answer. When you’ve done this, click Save Changes.

5. Add responses and feedback that will be displayed when students give a certain answer. For example, if question is correct – “That’s right!” If the answer is wrong, the correct response can be given.


Choosing a Question from the Question Bank

6. After clicking Add, click the “+” sign next to the question you have chosen. You can select one, multiple, or all questions.

7. If you are choosing a random question from the Question Bank. After clicking Add, click on “+ a random question.” If you want to add multiple random questions, simply put in the number of questions you want.

8. You can also add section headings to each page of the quiz. On the first page, click on the pencil icon at the top of the page, and typing in your question. On succeeding pages, go to Add > a new section heading, and then type in your heading. The headings you have created will be visible in the Quiz navigation block.

9. If you want to randomize questions, simply check the box at the top of the screen that says “Shuffle.”

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Other resources:

If you want to review what is Moodle and its extensive features, you can check out the following Moodle user guides:

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