For the online learning world


Making your Moodle course faster

Although Moodle site administrators can do a lot to make a Moodle site (and server) faster, there are a number of simple things every Teacher can do too !

  • Amount of blocks displayed on your course pages Blocks
    • A course page with 25 or more standard Blocks takes more than 50% longer to generate compared with a page with only essential Blocks.
    • A course page with many Blocks will also use more RAM than a page with only the ‘Navigation’ and ‘Settings’ Blocks displayed for example.
    • In particular the ‘Comments’ Block and ‘RSS’ Block require extra RAM.
      • RSS can be especially dangerous too – because it has to wait to get the data from the source site – and if that’s slow then your course page will be slow (although position of the Block can make a difference).  Never use RSS Block on your site Front Page !
  • ‘Show one section per page’ can make the course page load 5%-20% faster
  • Images in Labels
    • A page with 100 images requires more than 3 times the amount of calls to the database – so it’s slower.  Also think about the (file)size of images !  (Is that too obvious?)
  • Amount of Sections, Resources and Activities
    • Adding 30 Resources and Activities to a course page adds an extra 0.1 to 0.2 seconds to generate the pages. Multiplying the amount of activities/resources by 10 (or 100) only slows down the page load slightly
  • Activity tracking & conditional activities
    • Activity completion can be up to 20% slower – if you have a lot of activities, and all have activity tracking, it can have an impact on course page loading.
  • The Activity Results Block could slow things down if there are a lot of Grades from a Quiz for example.
  • Forum tracking – a noticeable increase in load time for a forum with 500 posts over 50 posts (so it’s only a concern in very large or busy forums)

Things that don’t make much difference (even though you might think they would?)

  • Theme – less than 1% difference (unless you have a really bad Theme !)
    • Although Category level Themes can have a significant impact (something Administrators need to understand)
  • Course format make little difference – Week / Topic – although if you are using a plugin course format this could have an impact – so it’s worth switching back and forth to see if there is a speed difference 🙂
  • Groups and Groupings don’t appear to have much impact – and may actually speed things up for users when viewing Forums by Group for example as it will only need to load a subset of the complete Forum posts 🙂
Stuart Mealor
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Stuart Mealor

Stuart is interested in all things e-learning, with specific interests in Moodle, e-learning strategy, and business development. His experience in education over 30 years, MBA in International Business, and knowledge of e-learning systems implementation, together with graphic design background, give him a unique skill set for e-learning projects.

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