Thursday, February 8, 2018

Free Moodle test site with Bitnami and AWS

As a Moodler at a nonprofit I like to know how I can run a complete Moodle site on a low budget if I need to experiment. MoodleCloud is great to try stuff at the course creation level but it does not come with full rights for site admins. I'm a Moodle site admin, not a system admin, so I'm not too particular about server access.

A couple of weeks back I started on a project at work to make our Moodle site more visually appealing. I wanted to show prototypes as we went along without disturbing our production site, and I remembered that Bitnami has a Moodle stack. I opted for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) option as it seemed to offer the cheapest monthly price. Then I found out that I could sign up for the AWS Free Tier which offers 750 hours per month of compute time free of cost for 12 months! A month can have a maximum of 744 hours so I figured I should be able to run one Moodle 'instance' on the AWS Free Tier nonstop.

The process of setting up a Moodle instance on AWS through Bitnami was a bit intricate and I got stuck at the point of copying in the access key ID from my AWS account into my Bitnami account. There was something weird about the form field on Bitnami where I had to put in the access key ID. But soon it was a happy ending and I was lord of my own Moodle site in an obscure corner of the internet :)

Now I'm looking forward to tinkering on this site free of cost for up to a year!