A secondary school teacher has asked me about the easiest way to get a very small number of Moodle courses for his own use. I would imagine it would be best if he could purchase this as a service on a Moodle site as opposed to setting up one himself? What do you think? Are there any such services in existence?
Moodlerooms has a service for individual teachers according to this blog post (you have to contact them for pricing): http://www.moodlerooms.com/blog/__node/page-19/post-949525113075319067/
There are also non-partner services like Globalclassroom.us which have low cost hosting for individual classrooms/teachers.
Personally I use Bluehost for hosting and set up a personal Moodle through that. As long as traffic isn't significant it works out great; though any resource intensive activities could really bog down a site.
For the past nine years, at workshops I have been encouraging individual school teachers to set up their own Moodle sites if their school does not have a site. It is easy and it can be low cost or free.
First I taught teachers how to set up their own server--takes about six hours. Moodle Docs has good instructions now for server installation. Then I showed them how to use Fantastico inside a CPanel or other hosted service. Some teachers liked that, but it was too technical for most. By the way, two years ago when I used Bluehost, it worked fine, but 30 simultaneous users in Moodle was the most it could handle.
I think Moodle Partners and Moodle contributors should be recommended first and foremost as hosts because they contribute funds to Moodle HQ to keep this whole ecosystem running. So, like Joseph said, Moodlerooms or your local country's partner is the best for the Moodle community's good health. On the other hand, individual teachers are the most expensive, high maintenance customer to service (lots of handholding). So I think Moodle Partners need to be the business of handling highly secure, reliable sites for institutional markets. Leave the high cost, high maintenance teachers to volunteers on these forums or in local moodle user groups and associations to take care of. They may grow into institutional customers in the future.
For these beginning and casual users of Moodle, I don't think the teachers should pay. Teachers are poorly paid to begin with, and if their institution won't pay, or it is difficult for students to pay (often the case, when Moodle is used as a blended support system for a face-to-face class), then a free alternative is recommended.
In the past, I found free alternatives were sometimes discontinued after time, but some that are ad-supported have continued for over five years. I have used ninehub.com for example, in the past (now seems to be called freewebclass.com). I am sure there are others as well. That is an easy start to learn Moodle. But after a couple years, it may be time for your institution to consider a serious committment to Moodle.
I am looking for something similar, I am a tutor, working with 50 students, across 20 units in two subjects ( English and Maths). Ideally I would like a seperate course per unit. I spoke with three Moodle Partners (two in Australia, one in America), quotes are around $1500-$3000 per year, and one didn't give a quote as they only deal with 5000+ account users.
I am new to the world of Moodle but familiar with Blackboard/WebCT but it appears there is certainly a market for a Moodle Partner supporting small account groups.
Or perhaps I need to find others in a similar situation to split the costs with, but I'm sure that could create its own set of headaches.
My search continues, when I find the solution I'll let you know. And if you find one, love to hear it.
Not a recommendation, just examples:
DIY is within the scope of a very junior IT trainee - http://download.moodle.org/macosx
Cheap, practically unsupported Moodle hosting in US - http://www.ntchosting.com/elearning-web-hosting.html
Lior Doron's offer - http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=182000
Moodle hosting by an Australian Moodle-Partner - http://moodle.com.au/services.php