Setup / Upgrade Moodle Latest from Github on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM Support

Few days ago we showed students and new users how to install or upgrade Moodle Learn Management platform on Ubuntu from Github with Apache2 support… Well, this post shows you how to do it with Nginx HTTP server instead….

For students and new users looking for help installing or uprading to the latest version of Moodle ( 3.5.2 ) from Github with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2 support, the steps below should be a great place to start…

When you to install Moodle packages from Github, you can easily upgrade from the commmand line or the web installer, which is much simpler…

Since Moodle doesn’t yet have a built-in upgrade tool from its portal, you must manually upgrade its core files when new versions are available…. and doing that using its starndard method can be challenging for some users…

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install / upgrade Moodle from Github repository with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2 support on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.04 LTS servers…

To get started with installing Moodle, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use… so install it since Moodle needs it..

To install Nginx HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below…

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable Nginx service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

To test Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Nginx default test page as shown below.. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected..

http://localhost

nginx default home page test

Step 2: Install MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Magento… To install MariaDB run the commands below…

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots..

Run these on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service

Run these on Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on… if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

If you’re using MariaDB 10.1 and below, you must add this lines below into its default config file…

sudo nano /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf

Then add the below lines just below [mysqld] section.

innodb_file_format = Barracuda
innodb_large_prefix = 1

Save the file and exit.

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories… in order to install it, you will have to get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the below third party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.2-FPM

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2-FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-FPM php7.2-common php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-soap php7.2-cli php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Nginx…

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, save the file and close out.

Step 3: Restart Nginx

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Nginx to reload PHP configurations…

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Step 4: Create Moodle Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for Moodle to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank Moodle database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called moodle

CREATE DATABASE moodle;

Create a database user called moodleuser with new password

CREATE USER 'moodleuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON moodle.* TO 'moodleuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Step 5: Download Moodle Latest Release

To get Moodle latest release you may want to use Github repository… Install Curl and other dependencies to get started…

sudo apt install git curl

After installing git and curl above, change into the Nginx root directory and downaload Moodle packages from Github… Always replace the branch number with the latest branch…. The current major version is 35….

cd /var/www/html
sudo git clone -b MOODLE_35_STABLE git://git.moodle.org/moodle.git moodle
sudo mv moodle /var/www/html/

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for Moodle to function.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/moodledata
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/

Step 6: Configure Nginx

Finally, configure Apahce2 site configuration file for Moodle. This file will control how users access Moodle content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called moodle

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/moodle

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/moodle;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;

    location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;        
    }
 
    location /dataroot/ {
    internal;
    alias /var/www/html/moodledata/;
    }

    location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        include fastcgi_params;
    }

}

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the Moodle

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/moodle /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Step 8 : Restart Nginx

To load all the settings above, restart Nginx by running the commands below.

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see Moodle setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

http://example.com/

Then follow the on-screen instructions and select the installation language here…

Moodle Ubuntu setup

Next, select MariaDB connection driver and continue…

ubuntu moodle install

On the next screen, enter the database connection info you created above and continue…

Ubuntu install moodle

Then create an admin account and the Moodle site info and finish the instalation….

On this page you should configure your main administrator account which will have complete control over the site. Make sure you give it a secure username and password as well as a valid email address. You can create more admin accounts later on.

Congratulation! You have successfully installed Moodle on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.04 and may work on upcoming 18.10…

Ubuntu moodle setup

In the future when you want to upgrade to a new released version, simply run the commands below to upgrade…

Upgrading Moodle

First stop the webserver…

sudo systemctl stop nginx

For students and new users who already have Moodle installed and wish to upgrade, asuming that you followed the steps above to install, run the commands below to backup your old Moodle folder…

sudo mv /var/www/html/moodle /var/www/html/moodle_bak

Then change into the webserver root directory and download the latest version of Moodle from Github….. always change the version number to the current (latest)

cd /var/www/html
sudo git clone -b MOODLE_35_STABLE git://git.moodle.org/moodle.git moodle

Next, copy Moodle config file, theme and data folder… If you updated your themes… a theme content should be there…. If you also installed aditional modules… you should find them in the /mod directory… copy them to the new Moodle folder….

sudo cp /var/www/html/moodle_bak/config.php /var/www/html/moodle
sudo cp -pr /var/www/html/moodle_bak/theme/mytheme /var/www/html/moodle/theme/mytheme
sudo cp -pr /var/www/html/moodle_bak/mod/mymod /var/www/html/moodle/mod/mymod

After that, update the web server permissions…

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/moodle/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/moodle/

Restart your web server…

sudo systemctl start nginx

The last step is to trigger the upgrade processes within Moodle….. If you put your site into Maintenance mode earlier; take it out now!

Once you browse to the server IP or hostname, Moodle should prompt you to begin upgrading your database… After upgrading the database, logon to Moodle and go to:

Administration > Site administration > Notifications.

Moodle will automatically detect the new version and perform all the SQL database or file system upgrades that are necessary. If there is anything it can’t do itself (very rare) then you will see messages telling you what you need to do.

Assuming all goes well (no error messages) then you can start using your new version of Moodle and enjoy the new features!

Moodle Upgrade ubuntu

That’s it!

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