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A docker environment for moodle developers
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moodle-docker: Docker Containers for Moodle Developers

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This repository contains Docker configuration aimed at Moodle developers and testers to easily deploy a testing environment for Moodle.


  • All supported database servers (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Micosoft SQL Server, Oracle XE)
  • Behat/Selenium configuration for Firefox and Chrome
  • Catch-all smtp server and web interface to messages using MailHog
  • All PHP Extensions enabled configured for external services (e.g. solr, ldap)
  • All supported PHP versions
  • Zero-configuration approach
  • Backed by automated tests


Quick start

# Set up path to Moodle code
export MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT=/path/to/moodle/code
# Choose a db server (Currently supported: pgsql, mariadb, mysql, mssql, oracle)
export MOODLE_DOCKER_DB=pgsql

# Ensure customized config.php for the Docker containers is in place
cp config.docker-template.php $MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT/config.php

# Start up containers
bin/moodle-docker-compose up -d

# Wait for DB to come up (important for oracle/mssql)

# Work with the containers (see below)
# [..]

# Shut down and destroy containers
bin/moodle-docker-compose down

Use containers for running behat tests

# Initialize behat environment
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver php admin/tool/behat/cli/init.php
# [..]

# Run behat tests
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver php admin/tool/behat/cli/run.php --tags=@auth_manual
Running single behat site:
Moodle 3.4dev (Build: 20171006), 33a3ec7c9378e64c6f15c688a3c68a39114aa29d
Php: 7.1.9, pgsql: 9.6.5, OS: Linux 4.9.49-moby x86_64
Server OS "Linux", Browser: "firefox"
Started at 25-05-2017, 19:04

2 scenarios (2 passed)
15 steps (15 passed)
1m35.32s (41.60Mb)


Use containers for running phpunit tests

# Initialize phpunit environment
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver php admin/tool/phpunit/cli/init.php
# [..]

# Run phpunit tests
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver vendor/bin/phpunit auth_manual_testcase auth/manual/tests/manual_test.php
Moodle 3.4dev (Build: 20171006), 33a3ec7c9378e64c6f15c688a3c68a39114aa29d
Php: 7.1.9, pgsql: 9.6.5, OS: Linux 4.9.49-moby x86_64
PHPUnit 5.5.7 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.

..                                                                  2 / 2 (100%)

Time: 4.45 seconds, Memory: 38.00MB

OK (2 tests, 7 assertions)

Use containers for manual testing

# Initialize Moodle database for manual testing
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver php admin/cli/install_database.php --agree-license --fullname="Docker moodle" --shortname="docker_moodle" --adminpass="test" --adminemail=""


  • Moodle is configured to listen on http://localhost:8000/.
  • Mailhog is listening on http://localhost:8000/_/mail to view emails which Moodle has sent out.
  • The admin username you need to use for logging in is admin by default. You can customize it by passing --adminuser='myusername'

Using VNC to view behat tests

If MOODLE_DOCKER_SELENIUM_VNC_PORT is defined, selenium will expose a VNC session on the port specified so behat tests can be viewed in progress.

For example, if you set MOODLE_DOCKER_SELENIUM_VNC_PORT to 5900..

  1. Download a VNC client:
  2. With the containers running, enter as the port in VNC Viewer. You will be prompted for a password. The password is 'secret'.
  3. You should be able to see an empty Desktop. When you run any Behat tests a browser will popup and you will see the tests execute.

Stop and restart containers

bin/moodle-docker-compose down which was used above after using the containers stops and destroys the containers. If you want to use your containers continuously for manual testing or development without starting them up from scratch everytime you use them, you can also just stop without destroying them. With this approach, you can restart your containers sometime later, they will keep their data and won't be destroyed completely until you run bin/moodle-docker-compose down.

# Stop containers
bin/moodle-docker-compose stop

# Restart containers
bin/moodle-docker-compose start

Environment variables

You can change the configuration of the docker images by setting various environment variables before calling bin/moodle-docker-compose up.

Environment Variable Mandatory Allowed values Default value Notes
MOODLE_DOCKER_DB yes pgsql, mariadb, mysql, mssql, oracle none The database server to run against
MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT yes path on your file system none The path to the Moodle codebase you intend to test
MOODLE_DOCKER_PHP_VERSION no 7.3, 7.2, 7.1, 7.0, 5.6 7.1 The php version to use
MOODLE_DOCKER_BROWSER no firefox, chrome firefox The browser to run Behat against
MOODLE_DOCKER_PHPUNIT_EXTERNAL_SERVICES no any value not set If set, dependencies for memcached, redis, solr, and openldap are added
MOODLE_DOCKER_WEB_HOST no any valid hostname localhost The hostname for web
MOODLE_DOCKER_WEB_PORT no any integer value 8000 The port number for web. If set to 0, no port is used
MOODLE_DOCKER_SELENIUM_VNC_PORT no any integer value not set If set, the selenium node will expose a vnc session on the port specified

Advanced usage

As can be seen in bin/moodle-docker-compose, this repo is just a series of docker-compose configurations and light wrapper which make use of companion docker images. Each part is designed to be reusable and you are encouraged to use the docker[-compose] commands as needed.

Companion docker images

The following Moodle customised docker images are close companions of this project:


Are extremely welcome!

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