A Simple Guide to Upgrading Your Moodle™

Moodle upgrade

Table of Contents

Upgrading your Moodle™ seems like a very complex task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a simple guide to upgrading your Moodle™ instance to the latest version.

The best part about Moodle upgrade is that you don’t have to mess with Databases. It is as simple as copying over new files over your old Moodle files.

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Ready to begin? Have a look.


  1. Take Backup

Always take a backup of your current setup before you begin upgrading. You can use this backup to restore your setup to a previous version.

A backup should contain the following items:

  • Moodle software (everything in server/ htdocs/ moodle). The location can differ based on the OS
  • Moodle Data files (server/ moodledata). In most of the cases, location will be relative to the above location
  • Moodle database (a database dump).
  1. Check Requirements

Moodle 3.3 has an elevated set of requirements to run smoothly. These are necessary for proper functioning of Moodle and its extensions.

Following are the minimum requirements for Moodle 3.3-

  • PHP Version: v5.6.5 or up
  • PHP Extensions: OpenSSL and fileinfo
  • If using PostgreSQL: v9.3
  • If using MySQL or MariaDB: Make sure DB supports full UTF-8 (utf8mb4)
  1. Try it on a Test Site/Staging Environment

It is advisable to make a copy of your original site and call it a “Test Site”. All your upgrades and changes should be first tried on the test site.

This is done so that your main site doesn’t get affected in case anything breaks in the new upgrade.

When everything works the way you want, you can then proceed to upgrade your main site.

  1. Maintenance Mode

When upgrading your Moodle, it is necessary to put your website in a Maintenance mode. When enabled, an “Under Maintenance” banner is displayed on the website.

The message on this banner can be customized from your Dashboard.

  1. Upload New Files

Once you are done taking a backup and putting your site in Maintenance mode, you can begin uploading your latest Moodle version onto your server.

Replace your old Moodle files with new ones. Database needn’t be manually updated during Moodle upgrade as it automatically adjusts as per requirement.

  1. Copy Back Files

Once you have replaced your old Moodle site with the upgraded version, you need to copy back some of the files from your previous backup. These files include the following:

  1. Config.php
  2. Previously installed plugins (check if the version is compatible with your Moodle version). Example: Block Plugins, Local Plugins, Auth Plugins etc.
  3. Previously installed themes (check if there is an updated theme for your Moodle version).
  1. Open your Moodle™ Dashboard

Open your Moodle Dashboard once you have copied back your files, then when you log in to Moodle, you will be given an option to complete your Moodle upgrade.

Note: When in maintenance mode, you can log in only through the Login URL.

  1. Turn OFF Maintenance Mode

Once you are done with the upgrade process, you can turn off the Maintenance mode on your site.
This will make your website live/accessible to all your users.

This is all you need to do, to get a fresh new Moodle experience. Let us know if you have any doubts or issues.

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