So, you’ve successfully installed Joomla! but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’ve even had a look at the configuration page already, but you don’t quite know what to make of it? In that case, you’ve come to the right place!
In this short guide we will take a look at some of the core features of the Joomla! configuration page. Once you’ve read this guide, you should know which settings you may want to change and which you probably want to leave for now. Some of the settings are normally only used in very specific cases, so if a setting isn’t mentioned in this guide – you probably don’t need to worry about it at the moment.
Finding the configuration page
The first step, for those of you who haven’t already, is to locate the configuration page. This is pretty straight forward, and here is how to do it:
1. Log in to your Joomla administration area. You will find the login page by typing in http://www.yourwebsite.com/administrator
2. Once you have entered your details and logged in, you will have various menu options in front of you. The one you want to locate is titled site and is situated in the top left corner – it should look like this:
..all you need to do is hover over site and click Global Configuration.
Introduction to the Configuration page
The global configuration page is divided into three categories: Site, System and Server. This guide will cover all of the settings on the Site page, some on System but and one in Server. The reason for this is, as previously mentioned, that not all settings are relevant in a new installation.
During the course of this guide, you will need to navigate between the different sections, so the first thing you will need to do is locate the Configuration menu. This menu is located at the top of the Configurations page, and looks like this:
You can navigate freely between the tabs without losing any changes you have made.
Part 1 – Site
The site part of the configuration area allows for some general site configuration settings to be changed.
Ftp Login Details
This is where you change your FTP settings. In some cases, this will be blank (or filled out incorrectly) after a fresh Joomla! installation. If this is the case, you will get an error message when you try to install a new module, component or template. As a general rule the installation will still work, but it is advisable that you correct the ftp settings anyway. Changing the setting is easy – simply fill in your FTP username and password, and hit save.
(To save your changes use the save/close menu- it is located at the top right corner of any Joomla! page. ‘Save’ will save any changes and navigate away from the page, while ‘Apply’ will save changes but stay on the same page. ‘Close’ will navigate away without saving.)
Site Offline – This is set to ‘No’ as default. If you change this to ‘Yes’ visitors will be shown a screen explaining that the site is currently offline for maintenance, and as such they can’t view it at the moment. There will also be a Joomla! login screen, entering your admin details here will allow you to view the site. This is very useful whilst the site is under development.
Offline Message – This is the message that will be displayed if Site Offline is set to ‘Yes’.
Default WYSIWYG Editor – Allows you to change the default text editor used when creating content pages.
List Length – Sets the default length of lists shown in the control panel.
Feed length – This setting allows you to change the number of items to show in feeds.
Feed Email - Feeds will contain the e-mail address of the author, and this setting allows you to choose whether you want to display the authors email, or that of the website.
Meta data play an important part in organic search engine performance. For this reason it worth spending some time writing a concise, accurate meta description. I won’t go in to more detail on that subject right now, but do a search for it and you shall find a lot of information!
Anyway, here is what it looks like:
Enabling search engine friendly URLs will change the way your URLs are displayed in browsers. By default they will look something like this: yoursite.com/index.php?page=name&category_id=1&option=etc which isn’t too pretty to look at, and far from optimal from an SEO perspective. With Friendly URLs enabled, the same URL will look something like: yoursite.com/Category/Page-title.html. This has two primary benefits, the URL’s are now keyword rich and will have a positive impact on your search engine positions and secondly a visitor is more likely to click on your links on a search results page due to the fact that search engines bold keywords that match the phrase the user has searched for.
Use Apache mod_rewrite is something you can leave as is for the moment, unless you know what it is.
Add suffix to URLs – if enabled, this will add the file type suffix to URLs, e.g. .php, .html, etc.
Part 2 – System
Phew! We’ve finally sorted out all of the site settings, so let’s move on to system.
This part of the configuration is, as you may have guessed by the name, concerned with user registration.
If Allow User Registration is set to ‘No’, visitors will not be able to register on your website.
New User Registration Type - this will change the default ‘rank’ of your registered users. Different ranks give your users different privileges, such as writing/editing articles. By default, this is set to ‘Registered’, which means that your users will not be able to add or edit any content.
New User Account Activation – Setting this to ‘No’ means that new users will not need to activate their accounts (this is done through clicking a link which is sent to them via e-mail).
Front-end User Parameters – If activated, this will allow users to change certain account settings such as their language, which text editor to use, etc.
This setting enables you to adjust the length of time you can inactive for before being automatically logged out of the administration area. There are 2 ways to avoid getting kicked out
1) Change the session lifetime to give you more time.
2) Press ‘Apply’ every once in a while, this will renew your session and give you more time to complete your task.
Your site is now set up and ready to go, and hopefully you feel confident navigating and using the configuration pages! More detailed guides on other settings will be made available soon, so stay tuned!