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Sleep easier, use Linux not Windows for Moodle

We recently migrated a large client Moodle site from Microsoft environment to Linux – what a difference!

So it’s not unusual.

Many companies have a lot of Microsoft Servers in their organisation, for user data, email, file servers, etc.

One of our clients said they needed Moodle to run within their Windows environment. So, kicking and screaming, we did it. We advised them why not, but they insisted.

Two years later, we’ve rebuilt the complete system on Linux servers, and what a difference!  Here are some of the issues…

  • Linux is the Operating System used on most of the web’s servers
  • Moodle is developed by people who predominantly use linux
  • Apache web server is simply far better than Microsoft web server, and easier to tune
  • PHP is best on Linux, and the Windows version lags behind, and doesn’t seem to perform as well
  • Microsoft SQL does not perform anywhere like as well as MySQL, MariaDB, or Postgres on Linux servers

Put simply, the optimum environment for Moodle is a LAMP stack – Linux, Apache (or maybe NGINX), MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP.

The difference we have seen after this migration in terms of reliability and performance, for the same technical cost, is over-whelming.  Faster, more stable, better logging and monitoring, more secure.  Why else could you want?

The organisation can still use Microsoft Active Directory to authenticate users.

It can still use scripts to bulk create courses.

Everything is better, or much better, than before.

The only downside, and it’s only right that we make this point, is that the internal IT people have had to learn a bit about the CLI (Linux command line interface), take on some new terminology – e.g. linux Cron job, rather than MS Scheduled tasks, and some of the actual server networking such as Samba shares and so on was new to them.

But, all in all, it’s been a highly successful move, and the benefits far outweigh and drawbacks.

The moral of the story?

If you are running Moodle on Windows, and finding Moodle is now a mission critical system, with more and more users and content, and you are looking towards the next stage of expansion – go linux – you will not regret it, and you will sleep easier at night 🙂

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.

2 thoughts on “Sleep easier, use Linux not Windows for Moodle

  • Odiljon Atabaev

    Hello, thanks for advice. I’m the one who is using Moodle on Windows server. I want to know which distribution of linux and server (lamp or nginx) are you using now? Because I’m having some performance issues.

    • You would not be the “only one” trying to run Moodle in Windows Server.
      But it’s a hard job to get it working as well as Linux, and many people will attest to this.
      Many people use Debian or Ubuntu for Moodle (very similar). Suse is also quite popular.
      We actually use the full LAMP stack.
      However, if you have a small server, then nginx is very good (but more difficult to configure) – there is plenty Apache knowledge out there!
      Good luck 🙂

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