Understanding which Moodle Hosting solution is best for your organisation can seem like a large and daunting task.
Whether you’re considering Moodle as your new LMS , or you’re an organisation that has been using Moodle for some time, it’s vital that you understand the different Moodle hosting solutions and how they can affect your LMS experience.
Think of your hosting as the foundation upon which everything else is built. While the content you place on there and the structure of your site will eventually play an equally crucial role, the Moodle Hosting solution will be responsible for things such as site speed, the amount of uptime and downtime you experience and the number of people who can visit your platform, so it’s key that you get these fundamentals right.
To try and take some of the hardwork out of it, we have reviewed the main hosting solutions looking at;
– What considerations you need to take
– Cloud vs physical hosting
– What support structures you’ll need in place.
01 Considerations for hosting
When comparing different Moodle Hosting solutions, firstly you must understand how your site will work once it is fully operational. The number of people you expect to be visiting your site, the amount of resources you will be uploading to the site, the Moodle version you will be using, and your hosting company’s process in upgrading Moodle.
Capacity considerations involve knowing how many people will visit your site in total, as well as how many concurrent users you have, i.e. the number of people you expect to use the platform at any one time. A hosting solution that is too small for the number of people who visit your site will make the platform run laggy and eventually crash. Whereas if you have a thousand users, but only several that use the platform simultaneously, you may end up paying for more space than you need.
In a similar measurement, it’s essential to consider what resources you will be uploading to your platform. If your site’s used for text and small PDF’s, the amount of space required will be different from an organisation whose platform hosts many long videos.
Finally, understand what your chosen hosting company process is when it comes to upgrades. Moodle releases an upgrade to Moodle twice a year. While not every upgrade will be a right fit for you, eventually, you will have to do so to keep in line with the latest features and security. A company that charges large amounts for each upgrade will ultimately cost you more even though their initial infrastructure was cheaper.
02 Cloud-based hosting solutions vs physical servers
Our recommendation when choosing how to host your Moodle platform is to select a cloud-based solution.
One of the most significant benefits when it comes to cloud-based hosting is ‘scalability’. Above, we mentioned the importance of understanding how many people will be using your platform and how this could affect performance. If you’re on a physical server and your user numbers reach the limit you had set up, you have to purchase more physical storage space. With cloud hosting, you can increase your limit all online.
Cloud based hosting even comes with the option of ‘automated scalability’. We once had a client releasing their content to the public on their Moodle platform, but they didn’t know how many people would use it. For them, we set up automated scaling functionality, meaning their platform started on the lowest package. Once it came close to the limit it automatically upgraded the server space, meaning they only ever paid what they needed to and required no manual input for it to happen.
Previously, a drawback of cloud-based hosting was always the security implications, believing that it wasn’t as secure as physical-based solutions. Whilst this is true for the past, it isn’t any longer. With the introduction of large companies such as Amazon with their Amazon Web Services solution, cloud-based hosting security is now in line with physical hosting. With that, physical hosting does have its advantages; a particular example is hosting within China. We work with many China-based organisations, and for them to circumnavigate the firewall, physical hosting is needed. Whilst security is similar with both solutions, the risk with cloud-based hosting is still higher than physical hosting, so organisations where security is paramount, such as the military, may have processes in place requiring data never leaves their infrastructure. In that case, physical hosting is the solution.
Finally, it’s important to understand the cost of both solutions. With cloud hosting, there is no large set-up cost associated; the expense comes from the subscription to your chosen hosting provider, such as AWS. With physical hosting, you need to purchase a server, which results in a high startup cost, and beyond this, you will need security products and a technician to manage this for you.
03 The importance of support
Carefully considering all of the above points will make your LMS experience a much more successful one. Still, it’s essential to understand that downtime and issues will happen even with the best solution. That’s why it’s crucial to have a support partner who will react and assist you with any problems that might arise.
At Titus, we have a 99.1% uptime guarantee for our Moodle hosting solutions and have a well-defined process for managing upgrades. Find our more about our Moodle Hosting.
With over 150 global customers and more than 100 years of combined Moodle experience, we like to think we know a thing or two about e-learning.
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