Will Moodle Run On Shared Host?

With ever growing popularity of Moodle (an open source learning management system), Apart from universities and educational institutes there are individuals like Teachers, Educators, Trainers & Businesses around the globe that can take on opportunity of making an effective use of Moodle for their students, employees or a publicly accessible resource. So you are thinking of starting on Moodle and self hosting a Moodle site on your own? First place to start looking is shared hosting because of  the low starting prices, but the question is, will a shared hosting will suffice Moodle installation? Hosting a Moodle site is not every hosting provider's cup of tea, In this post I will be discussing ups and downs of hosting a Moodle site on a shared hosting providers.

Although with almost every shared hosting environment you will be able to find script installers (Softaculous, Fantastico etc) and they come with Moodle installation included in install-able scripts. However, there are only handful of hosts that can handle a Moodle hosting effectively. The reasons are simple, Moodle comes with loads of features that a modern learning management system should be made up of, due to these possibilities available with Moodle, it makes it a resource demanding learning management system. Though educational institutes availing the Moodle at their campuses are having the hardware and network resources to fill in the demands to run a Moodle site and grow as they are aware of the exact number of students accessing the Moodle site, but what if an individual has to use publicly accessible Moodle on its own? Where to start? what to get? One obvious place to start a new Moodle site is on shared hosting that as well makes sense as you do not want to spend $500 or plus a month getting a dedicated server where it will not be useful for another few months ahead. This is a question that is often asked on Moodle community forums as well if shared server can handle the Moodle.

What is a shared host anyway?

As name suggests, a shared host is a hosting package that a web hosting company provides to individuals or businesses where several users are sharing the same resource (server), Depending on, how much powerful the hardware is, hosting providers can host from as low as 200 up to as high as 500 or more accounts on a single server. Though, not every hosting company will tell you the exact figure of how many individual accounts actually are being stored on one single server. So essentially getting an account on shared hosting means you are getting equal share of resource that every one else gets. With sharing mechanism, hosting companies do tweak the resource allocation that may suit every user equally, therefore in some cases, you may be able to run your Moodle site without any issues, whilst in others either Moodle wont even install (my one experience) , even if it does you may not be able to use it as you intend to (account log-ins hogs your CPU share, no more than certain number of users accessing the Moodle site etc - My Another experience).

Over time, I manage to test plenty of shared  hosting companies particularly for Moodle installation, therefore few things I would like to mention that you want to consider before spending your hard earned money.
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How many users can a shared hosting handle? 

This question slightly differs with every hosting company, as told earlier, it depends on resource allocation per account and no hosting company will ever tell you how many or how much. Though generally experienced a typical shared host will be able to handle 30-50 concurrent users logged in and as many as 350-600 registered users on a Moodle site. If you plan to make your Moodle public, then in start you can always avoid letting users create their accounts as with every new account and user logged in, your resources get minimized and with publicly open Moodle, you can never estimate the popularity of your Moodle and you don't want hundred thousand users signed up in a day bringing your server down.

What type of learning material are you offering on shared Moodle Site? 

With every shared account different than others, it depends on space and bandwidth provided by the hosting company, some gives out limited space and bandwidth so you cannot expect running videos and heavy SCORM packages, whilst many does provide unlimited space and bandwidth with them you are free to host anything you like. I have heard from plenty of people that there is no such thing as Unlimited, in my experience as long as you are keeping files related to your Moodle and not using your hosting account for storing files no hosting provider will penalize your account. 

What activities are you offering on Moodle? 

Moodle does comes with loads of dynamic and static learning activities to offer, static pages, links to outside resources, glossary, student blogs, discussion forums, wiki's, assignments, quizzes to name a few, with every activity taking different amount of resource it is always recommended to choose minimal activities to offer on Moodle when using shared hosting as activities like Chat and Online Quiz will squeeze the juice well out of your shared hosting forcing your site to slow down and eventually bringing it down.

What if my Moodle grow popular?

This could happen to you, your Moodle site, if publicly open, can grow popular within no time, with shared hosting supporting just a few hundred users can start getting suffocated. Ideally you should have a hosting provider that offers more than just shared hosting accounts, in this way you can always switch to higher packages once you feel the need of a upgraded hosting platform. 

With all that, Yes a Moodle can be started and lightly used in shared hosting environment, you already will be in slightly better position to start taking into considerations about choosing a shared web hosting for your first Moodle installation, I have further discussed HERE about further considerations that you should be taking into account when selecting an appropriate shared hosting provider for your Moodle installation. 


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AcademicTools(Blog): Will Moodle Run On Shared Host?
Will Moodle Run On Shared Host?
With plenty of people with questions like if Moodle can be supported by a shared host, this post describes if it can be.
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AcademicTools(Blog)
http://blog.academictools.org/2014/10/will-moodle-run-on-shared-host.html
http://blog.academictools.org/
http://blog.academictools.org/
http://blog.academictools.org/2014/10/will-moodle-run-on-shared-host.html
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