A ‘Run Your Own Moodle Server’ Checklist

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A 'Run Your Own Moodle Server' Checklist
“Server” by G. Gibbs, British, Sheffield via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

First-timer or professional, the list from HRDNZ‘s ElearningWorld is for you. After all, a master is only someone a couple thousand items checked ahead! As its goal is to give you a sense of the process and the final picture, the list does not delve in details. Make sure you look into your parameters and specific variables before jumping in.

WIRIS

You can sum server administration main duties, in Moodle or as a whole, down to five.

  • Setup
  • Manage
  • Maintain
  • Secure
  • Upgrade

The skills involved can overlap and so can the tools. You can choose free and open versions almost always, with the glaring exception of the server.

Here is the “A to H” checklist:

Arm yourself. You might find new useful tools along the way, but the basics are: A browser, a text editor, a command line interface. A FTP transferring tool could come in handy too.

Build your local development environment. You will have to build a “test” or practice version of your server in your own computer. The local and server environments will share the same settings and supporting systems. They must also have an equal Windows (WAMP) or Linux (LAMP) based “stack.”

Cop up server services. Finding the ideal hosting solution merits a post in itself. It is an intricate balance of pros and cons. Keep in mind that many solutions today offer pay-as-you go cloud services. Not always the most cost-effective, they are practical and somewhat user-friendly. Pick one, and if you are not happy, learn the lesson and try again.

Deploy a connection. You should be able to handle both large data transfer operations, and small edits at once. Each has its preferred tools. FTP is still the weapon of choice for big volume-data flow. Ensuring synchronicity will come a long way.

Double bonus: Set up a version control system will ensure traceability of changes. It will give you data redundancies and wide reversibility choice.

Edit your site. Add your content. Users, courses, sites, plugins. The golden rule is to do always on your local computer before going to production.

Fast-optimize your solution. After several attempts, you might find this list bulky or overdone. Feel free to swap, shrink or omit steps as long as you know what you are doing. You can also review your solutions and approaches in search for faster or simpler ways.

Grant state-of-the-art protection. In line with the previous step, security is a mix of being on-the-loop and adding a dose of common sense. The simpler your setup can be, the easier it is to protect. Which stills calls for proper authentication methods, password encryption and so on.

Harden, backup, monitor and tweak. By now, you have a locked and loaded Moodle server. Your next level of mastery should give you a broader awareness of your site. From the architecture to the ecosystem that embeds it, you will never stop learning. More advanced tool will become second nature. It might be time for you to spread your knowledge with the world!

Interested on sharpening these skills with the help of experts? Take the MoodleBites Server Administrator course, also by HRDNZ. They are the official Moodle Partners in New Zealand.

Read “Running your own Moodle server? Then read this!” at elearningworld.org.


eThink LogoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.