Picture of Don Hinkelman
Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Don Hinkelman - Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 10:05 AM
 
Dear Englishforum Members,

Moodle 1.6, a new version, was released yesterday.  It now offers blogs, a new quiz module, and other improvements.

For those of you looking for a hosting service for Moodle, I now recommend siteground.com.  They offer free installation of Moodle 1.6, including the newest version of MySQL 4.1.18 (required).  They also offer...
  • rebate on money paid to your previous hosting service
  • large bandwidth
  • large storage space
  • Moodle tutorials
  • Moodle technicians
  • $4.95/month if you order the two year plan
  • dedicated servers also available
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Eric Hagley - Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 01:39 PM
 
A word of caution before you run out and join siteground.com

24gb space .. Let me spell it out ..

A typical server has 300gb space total ..

By the time you get done with the Operating system you would have about 240gb
left

To sell that amount of space without cheating ... eg overselling .. 10
accounts of 24gb each ..

10 * 4.95 = 49.00 a month ..

a typical server costs about 1,500

Lets see .. $50 a month for 12 months = 600.00 .. so about 2.5 years before a
honest person would even see a profit ..

But these scum oversell .. take your money up front and leave ..
these guys registered the domain in 2004 .. I predict about 6 months and everyone will be gone ..

The proof is right here

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=520502&highlight=siteground
http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=508972&highlight=siteground

Please be careful when choosing webhosting. I have learnt the hard way.
This is what happened at the old netmondo. The new netmondo has been absolutely brilliant to me for the last 18 months. In the above forums you will not find any complaints about netmondo that are recent. I cannot rate them highly enough. Their service has been excellent as too speeds. You won't have any problems with them. They also have the latest mysql up and running (and have done so for many months)
http://netmondo.com/
I would also be very careful about using fantastico now. There are many problems with them and you only find out about them the hard way. I'm in the process of putting together a step by step setup guide for setting up the latest moodle using cpanel. Give me two more weeks and send me an email if you want it. It will have screen shots of each step in the setup.
Just thought I'd add my two cents worth as I don't want people to get burnt.
All the best,
Eric
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Eric Hagley - Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 01:58 PM
 
Just a little added extra, if you are not convinced with word of mouth, I strongly recommend the following page as a means of finding a hosting company. Some interesting info on it.
http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=517324
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Don Hinkelman - Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 03:36 PM
 
Hi Anyone Looking for a Hosting Service,

I too have been burned by Netmondo and it is possible it would happen again.  So like Eric says, beware. 

However, I have checked around and Siteground has a very good record.  Particularly among Moodle users it has received high recommendations.  To date over 1000 Moodle sites are being hosted by Siteground and the forum comments are all positive.  On the other hand, I have heard complaints from iPowerWeb, Bluehost, and others that would not upgrade their site to MySQL 4.1.16 in order to use Moodle 1.6.  Also Peter mentioned Bluehost cut back his server access when he overloaded the system.  I have not heard that complaint from Siteground.

Finally, Siteground has specialists in Moodle.  They custom install Moodle for you free without Fantastico, so you can do Moodle 1.6 now.  For that reason, I highly recommend them.

As for the low price, it is a giveaway to get more customers.  I also got a free site for three years--seriously--from 1&1 Computing.  I never used it because it couldn't handle Moodle.  But there are lots of low priced and even free places out there.  Some are very established and trustworthy. 
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Eric Hagley - Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 10:47 PM
 
After coming back from work where I'd hastily sent my initial reply to this thread, and rereading the content of that reply, I was disappointed with myself. In creating that reply I had copied and pasted the top part of it and personally written the text at the bottom. The top part was from a forum of webhost users and the person that wrote it was obviously upset at what had happened to him/her. I should not have taken that context (someone else's opinion from another forum) and forced it on the people of this forum. I can certainly understand the person's feelings, but I should have editted the language they used to describe said feelings. I apologize.
I certainly appreciate Don's efforts in sending out exceptionally good information. I was worried about people making hasty choices on hosting. My second post with information on how to choose a host is better information in that regard.  Again, apologies for the overly forceful language used in the first post.
Happy hosting-company hunting!
Eric
Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Thursday, 22 June 2006, 01:13 PM
 
Thank you Eric and Don for your messages re hosting services.

The bottom line when choosing a hosting service is that "you get what you pay for." As Don mentioned above, I have had problems with Bluehost. When more than 30 or so of my students access certain moodle tasks at the same time, they either get database or CPU overload messages. I have complained, and have been told that since I am paying for a shared hosting service, they have to limit the resources that any one user can access.

Initially, I was angry angry about this, but on reflection I realise that since I am only paying $90 or so for the service I can not really expect to run an advanced LMS like Moodle for this kind of money and not have any problems. In fact, I have recently discovered that there are another 970 sites hosted on the same server that my moodle uses. Imagine 970 people all trying to use your computer; you'd have to put various restrictions on them so that no one user hogged all the resources (memory, CPU, etc.)

So where does this leave a prospective moodling teacher looking for a hosting solution?

There are 3 main possibilities: 1) hosting companies, 2) moodle partners, or 3) your own server.

1) Hosting companies

  1. Shared hosting

    • big grin benefits: the cheapest solution, great for experimenting; I have 4 moodle sites running on my Bluehost server. If your moodle is mainly for students to access outside of class this solution will probably be OK.
    • sad drawbacks: don't expect to be able to have more than 20 students successfully access and complete the same moodle task at the time. The hosting company will probably not be able to help you with moodle problems, though there are exceptions; see Don's post above re siteground.com. How long will the company be around for? It's a competitive market, the company you choose today may go bust tomorrow!
    • See Wikipedia for more details re 'Shared hosting':
  2. Virtual Private Server

    • big grin benefits: far fewer restrictions compared to shared hosting. I have no experience with VPS, but assume that 'many' students would be able to successfully access and complete the same moodle task at the same time.
    • sad drawbacks: more expensive than shared hosting. Probably no moodle help. How long will the company be around for?
    • See Wikipedia for more details re 'VPS':
  3. Dedicated hosting service

    • big grin benefits: probably no restrictions compared to the above hosting solutions; you get to rent your own computer / server.
    • sad drawbacks: much more expensive than shared hosting, probably no moodle help. How long will the company be around for? Because you are running your own server it is more complex; you'll be an administrator of not just a moodle site, but also of a server!
    • See Wikipedia for more details re 'Dedicated hosting service':

If you go for one of the above solutions, make sure Cpanel is included - it seems to be included in most packages that I've seen advertised. Cpanel is a set of tools that you access via a web browser to set various parameters on your 'server'; shared, virtual or dedicated. Also, although Eric does not seem to be too happy with it, I would suggest that you choose a hosting company that has Fantastico as part of its package. Fantastico is a tool that allows you to install various free open source software packages (e.g. moodle) via your web browser onto your 'server' by just clicking a few buttons. The only 2 problems I've found with Fantastico is that, one, it does not have the latest version of moodle (there're always 6 or so months behind), and two, if you add non-standard modules to your moodle, Fantastico invariably can't upgrade to a newer moodle. However, moodle is fairly easy to install and upgrade, without using Fantastico. In other words, the existence of Fantastico on a server does not prevent you from manually installing the latest version of moodle.

Finally, if you are still thinking about using a hosting company to run a moodle, have a look at the link that Eric suggested on WebHostingTalk:
http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=517324

It's very sound advice about how to choose a hosting company. But some of you may think that you don't have time to go through all these steps. If that's the case, find out what hosting companies your moodling friends are using, and choose one of them.

Moodle Partners:

If you have a bit more money to use, and want peace of mind, contracting with a moodle partner may be the best way to go. This solution is similar to using a hosting company in that you are renting space on someone else's computer, or in the more expensive cases renting a whole computer. The 2 important differences with regular hosting services are:
  • as a moodle partner they should be able to help you with moodle problems; may be even able to advise you how to set up moodle courses
  • as a moodle partner, their servers and server software (php and a database package, e.g. MySQL) should be fine tuned to running moodle.
One way to keep costs down with this solution would be to just rent a 'moodle course'. I believe there are some moodle partners who will allow individual teachers to just pay for a course which is accessed by a certain number of students. Another possibility, would be for a group of teachers to form a 'consortium' and as a group rent a server run by a moodle partner.
See the moodle.com site for more info on moodle partners:
http://moodle.com/partners/

Your own server

This may not be the most expensive solution, especially compared to some of the high-end moodle partner solutions, even if yo have to buy a computer to run as a server. I am now running my moodle off a Mac G5 with very few problems:
  • big grin benefits: you have complete control; it's your server, you can do what you want to it. No need to rely on some unknown company to keep your server going and to protect your and your students' data.
  • sad drawbacks: you have complete control; if something goes wrong, who are you going to blame? My experience tells me that if you want to have more than 40 or 50 students successfully accessing and completing the same moodle task at the same time, you'll need a specially configured server, or more than one computer. Assuming you are setting up the server in your school, you will also need to get help from and consult with your school's IT people to get the server going - an perhaps keep it going. In other words, you will not in fact have 100% control, to a certain extent you will have to rely on others in your institution to keep the system up and running.

So, in conclusion, my advice to potential moodling teachers is to pay for a shared hosting solution if you don't plan to have lots of students (20 or more) accessing the same tasks at the same time (e.g. high stake tests); the cost of this and registering your domain name could easily be less than ¥10,000. If you decide to continue and perhaps increase your use of moodle i.e. more students accessing the same tasks during your lessons, then this cheap solution will be insufficient. If you have the money and don't want to be hassled by the technical side of servers, then choose a moodle partner. If you actually want to get your hands grubby with the server technology (or know someone that'll do it for you), and want 'complete control', set up you own server.

Hope this helps. let me know if you want me to clarify any of this.
Picture of CA Edington
Re: Moodle 1.6 Released and Good Hosting Service
by CA Edington - Thursday, 22 June 2006, 08:21 PM
 
Thank you Don, Eric, and Peter for this discussion. It's good to hear the pro's and con's from those who are "in the know."

Peter - Your message was so thorough, I feel as though I've been to a presentation on hosting! It has convinced me that I really don't want to set up my own server unless I have a techie I can use as a consultant.

I appreciate the Help Forum and will very likely be posting a number of questions in the near future.

Happy Moodling!
CA