Why use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with Moodle or Totara?
A CDN service is used for large files which can impact the performance of a site when concurrent users access the file or while course/site back-ups are being performed.
The use of the CDN is highly recommended for course files over 5MB. In addition to audio and video files, the CDN may also be used to hold PowerPoint, WORD Docs, PDF, images – JPG, PNG, Flash Animations - SWF, Excel, video files (MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV), etc.
|The CDN is a LIVE repository of files!
Once a file has been modified or deleted it is irrecoverable.
|When using video, MP4 or FLV is usually a good option to consider as this video format offers good compression to quality ratios and the configuration supports progressive downloads.|
Steps for Using CDN
Step 1: Use FTP Software
To use FTP to upload files to a website requires an FTP program. If you have a program already installed this first step can be skipped. Go to: http://filezilla-project.org/ and download FileZilla client. Once the download is done, install the program, and open the program.
Step 2: Enter the CDN Site Information
To access a site we need to enter the FTP information in to the program:
1. go to file -> Site Manager
2. Click on the New Site button on the Site Manager dialog that appears.
3. Once a new site is created in your My Sites directory, do the :
a. Enter a name in the new site, e.g., ABC Company
b. Enter the Host information: upload.lambdasolutions.net
c. Select FTP – File Transfer Protocol for Protocol.
d. Set Encryption Type to "Require explicit FTP over TLS"
e. In the User and Password fields use the username and password provided by Lambda Solutions.
f. Click Connect
NOTE: On the first-time accessing the CDN an "Unknown certificate" window will appear. Check the Always trust certificate in future sessions box and click ok.
Step 3: Navigating the Site Directories once connected
The main area you need to familiarize yourself with is divided into two columns:
1. The files and directories on the left side are in your computer. This is labelled as the “Local site”. This area allows you to navigate between directories and files on your system.
Make sure you select the appropriate directory where your course files are located!
2. The files and directories on the right are on the hosting server (CDN). This is labelled as the “Remote site”. The relevant area for uploading course files is found in the public_html folder on the hosting server.
3. Files are uploaded to the server by locating it on your computer, right clicking on it and selecting Upload.
4. Files are downloaded from the server by selecting a file from the Remote site column, right-clicking on it and selecting Download.
Step 4: Create a course directory in the CDN
Create a new course folder by right clicking on the public_html directory and selecting Create directory.
Give the new course directory a meaningful name that will correspond with the course that will be posted in the Site. Avoid using spaces with the naming convention; instead use an underscore, “_”, or camelBack (first letter in the first word in non-cap, then subsequent words begin with a capital letter – e.g., meaningfulFolderName).
Once the new course directory is created, double-click on the new folder and upload your course resources into it. You can also further organize the contents of this folder into subfolders such as: documents, images, videos, audio, etc.
Step 5: Using CDN Files in Moodle
As mentioned earlier, course files greater than 5MB should be hosted on the CDN.
The use of file on the CDN is much like using any resource within the Moodle directory except that the following prefix-URL needs to be inserted:
http://cdn.lambdasolutions.net/abccompany/public_html/ followed by the folder in the CDN and the file name.
For example if we uploaded a Word Document file in the “meaningfulFolderName/documents” folder in the CDN (see image above) called test.docx then when we used the “URL” learning resource in Moodle / Totara this is what we enter in the Location field: