URL allows you to create a link to a website or online file.

(The video above is taken from the Totara Academy course on Course resources).

Adding a URL

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Click Link to a file or website from the Add a resource menu.
  3. Enter a name for your resource, this appears on the course page for the learner.
  4. Enter the web page URL or click Search for a website to find the webpage.
  5. Complete the remaining settings to your preferences. 
  6. Click Save changes.

The adding a URL screen


NameA name for the URL resource, this will be displayed on the course page.-
External URLThe URL you wish to add.-
DescriptionA description of the URL, might include instructions or guidance on why the URL is useful.-
Display description on course pageIf enabled, the description above will be displayed on the course page just below the link to the activity or resource.-

This setting, together with the URL file type and whether the browser allows embedding, determines how the URL is displayed. Options may include:

  • Automatic: The best display option for the URL is selected automatically.
  • Embed: The URL is displayed within the page below the navigation bar together with the URL description and any blocks.
  • Open: Only the URL is displayed in the browser window.
  • In pop-up: The URL is displayed in a new browser window without menus or an address bar.
  • In frame: The URL is displayed within a frame below the navigation bar and URL description.
  • New window: The URL is displayed in a new browser window with menus and an address bar.
Pop-up width (in pixels)If you have chosen the In pop-up display option then you can set the size of the window.-
Pop-up height (in pixels)If you have chosen the In pop-up display option then you can set the size of the window.-
Display URL descriptionChoose whether to display the URL description for the In frame or Embed display options.-
URL variables

Some internal Totara variables may be automatically appended to the URL. Type your name for the parameter into each text box and then select the required matching variable.

There are a number of &parameter=variable fields for you to enter the variable name into, with a dropdown menu alongside it to select the varibale (such as course id, user fullname and URL cmid).

Common module settingsSee the Common module settings help page for more information.-
Restrict accessSee the Restrict access help page for more information.-
Activity completionSee the Activity Completion 1 help page for more information.-
TagsSee the Tags help page for more information.-

Plugin settings

If you go to Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > URL you can configure the site wide settings and defaults. 

Remember to click Save changes once you are finished.


When a web page or an uploaded file is displayed within a frame, this value is the height (in pixels) of the top frame (which contains the navigation).


This secret phrase is used to produce encrypted code value that can be sent to some servers as a parameter. The encrypted code is produced by an md5 value of the current user IP address concatenated with your secret phrase. ie code = md5(IP.secretphrase). Please note that this is not reliable because IP address may change and is often shared by different computers.


Enable if you want to include localized role names in list of available parameter variables.


Select all options that should be available, existing settings are not modified. Hold CTRL key to select multiple fields.


Display URL description below content? Some display types may not display description even if enabled.


Choose display type, unfortunately not all types are suitable for all URLs.


Specifies default width of popup windows.


Specifies default height of popup windows.


You can also go to Experimental and enable dragging and dropping of text and links onto a course page. If enabled, when a link is dropped on the page Totara will offer to add it to the course as a URL. 

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Course resources in Totara Learn.  Here you can learn more on how to use various course resources, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.