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This article describes how to set up the Moodle server on an Arch Linux system.

What is Moodle?

From Wikipedia:

"Moodle (abbreviation for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a free source e-learning software platform, also known as a Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of December 2011 it had a user base of 72,177 registered and verified sites, serving 57,112,669 users in 5.8 million courses."

This entry describes the installation, not the usage - a whole wiki in itself. For more help visit

Note: Almost all the commands here are done in admin mode, reached by the su command.

Install the LAMP Stack

The instructions to install LAMP are here

From the "Advanced Options" section of the LAMP Documentation, install the libGD module. This involves install php-gd and modifying /etc/php/php.ini.

For some reason when I install PHP into Apache it requires two restarts before test.php is interpreted as PHP code not text. I have noticed this before.

Download and install Moodle

Download the most current version of Moodle from - this installation was done with 1.9.7, and there may be minor changes to the install routine in later versions.

I used the current weekly package moodle-weekly-19.tgz as recommended.

Unzip it into /srv/http:

# tar xzvf /home/paulr/downloads/moodle-weekly-19.tgz -C /srv/http

Make it read/writeable by Apache:

# chown -R http:http /srv/http/moodle


Some changes need to be made to the default setup so Moodle will work.

File access

Edit /etc/php/php.ini:

open_basedir == /srv/http/:/home/:/tmp/:/usr/share/pear/
open_basedir == /srv/http/:/home/:/tmp/:/usr/share/pear/:/srv/

This allows PHP to access the /srv/moodledata directory (thanks to forum user "Ravenman") for this fix.

Create the MoodleData Directory

This needs to be readable and writeable by Apache:

# mkdir /srv/moodledata
# chown http:http /srv/moodledata

Enabling bits of PHP

Install php-curl and openssl if they aren't already installed:

# pacman -S php-curl openssl xmlrpc-c

Uncomment the following lines in /etc/php/php.ini (remove the semicolon from the start of the line):


For Moodle 2.0 additionally uncomment the following lines in /etc/php/php.ini:

# pacman -S php-intl

Restart Apache

You now need to restart Apache to make these changes current. Note that if you get any errors while installing Moodle, and make subsequent changes, you will need to restart Apache after each set of changes.

# /etc/rc.d/httpd restart


Go to http://localhost/moodle/install.php - this starts the Moodle installer. There then follows a sequence of configuration screens, most of which should be left at the defaults.

  • Select the language
  • You should pass the first page of tests (PHP Settings). If not check you installed libGD, the most likely problem.
  • Leave the default locations as they are. An error here is likely to be a data directory problem - check the directory exists, that it has the right ownership and that open_basedir in /etc/php/php.ini is set correctly.
  • On the MySQL Screen, enter the user (root) and that user's password in the screen. If you get an error here, go to the test.php created when you set up the LAMP stack and check mysql is working, and also check the passwords.
  • On the Environment screen, you should pass all the tests - if not the errors give you a clue what is missing - an uninstalled program or a failure to uncomment one of the lines in /etc/php/php.ini
  • If you are English, you do not need to download language packs.
  • If the config.php has failed - probably because of lack of write access to the moodle subdirectory - the most likely reason is the ownership of the /srv/http/moodle structure which should be http:http - this was set earlier but you might have skipped that bit.
  • The remainder of the install should be automatic. It takes 2 or 3 minutes on my computer to set up all the SQL Databases and so on.
  • The final page allows you to set up the administrator user for Moodle. You need to enter a password, name and set the country as a bare minimum. Don't forget the password !

Happy Moodling !

See also

  • MySQL - Article for MySQL
  • LAMP - Self contained web-server that supports PHP, Perl, and MySQL

External links