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The cost of Moodle-ing

We often get questions about the cost of LearningStone. We point out that the cost of ownership (hosting + licence + maintance + learning curve) is extremely low. But what about Moodle? That’s free isn’t it?


We would say, well... actually only the license is free. Here’s a paragraph out of a longer article by eLearning guru Craig Weiss that covers the cost factor.


Read the full (and entertaining) article here: http://elearninfo247.com/2014/08/15/moodle/


  • “Moodle requires resources (people) to build the system and maintain it.  If there is an issue, you need to have someone fix it.  Companies that use Moodle tend to have a good size staff in-house to handle it. Those who do not, are often caught off guard.  And even if you have the staff in-house, the last time I looked, they still cost money.  I mean a person who is a FT employee, gets benefits (I assume), and a salary.  Thus, they are not free. 
  • If you hire someone, they are a resource.  If you do it, it is best to get someone with Moodle experience and those people tend to cost more than non-Moodle background folks
  • Customization can be pricey, depending on what you do.
  • You will need a help desk or support, because when an issue arises, people will want help.  They might go to your administrator, but they – i.e. your admin – still needs help.
  • Updates, maintenance are your responsibility (Again, whoever is handling it)
  • It has to house somewhere.  This is something people tend to forget.  Which means you have to either have the servers in-house (and again, have to factor in the server cost – which many tend to not do) or have it hosted on the web.  Perhaps you use Amazon S3 or Rackspace – you pay a monthly fee for either of them, or any of the other server farms out there.  Some folks have it hosted via a service provider they use for other things.  Regardless, it is not free.
  • Additional fees can spring up – some people use APIs from other products, including those that are fee based.  If you have thousands of registrants, you might need to have a company oversee that to get them into your platform.
  • Training – as in you train the admins how to use it – you handle yourself.  Thus, you need to have the expertise and knowledge to do it. The worst thing you can do, is have the person who built the system (Assuming they do not have a training or teaching background) provide the training.  Just because they are an expert in building Moodle, doesn’t necessarily make them a great trainer/teacher.
  • It is not uncommon to see yearly budgets for Moodle in the range of 80K to 150K or even higher and that likely does not include the resources factor (that we tend to forget).”



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