Screenshot of the Global Configuration title bar

globalconfig-systemtab-thumbClick on image for a expanded view

The System Settings tab under Global Configuration contains system wide settings for error logs, debugging the site, cache settings and administrative session settings. 

System Settings

Path to Log folder: This will be set by default.  Any log files, such as error logs, will be placed in this folder. Generally, unless you have a specific file that you prefer, you can leave this setting alone.

Note: if you set the site up in a subdirectory or a local computer during development and move it when it goes live, you need to be sure that the path is correct for this setting.

Help Server: This uses the English (GB) Joomla Help Wiki for the help screens.  If you install some other language module, you may wish to change this.

Debug Settings

Debug System: If set to YES, there will appear a diagnostic debug screen at the bottom of your web page.  This is for developers that are troubleshooting issues during development.  You certainly want to turn this off for a live web site.

Debug Language: This will change the debug indicators of (**...**) or (??..??) on or off to assist the developer with diagnosing errors. 

Cache Settings

Caching can increase your site performance by decreasing page load time, but can also cause problems if you make frequent changes as the user may not see the changes until the cache has expired. Pages are "assembled" before each page load - the CSS is loaded and applied, the Javascript is loaded, the images, etc.  Cache pre-assembles the page and stores it for faster page load.  This is why sometimes if you change a CSS style or reload an image with the same name as before, you need to clear the cache to see the changes.

Cache: Caching can speed up page loads as the assembled site is stored in the cache rather than having to assemble it each time.  The problem with caching can come when you make changes and the page doesn't reflect these changes because it is still calling up the assembled page in the browser. The Joomla system itself has caching available and the browsers have caching, this setting only controls Joomla's caching, not the browser's.

The options for Cache are:

  • Off  - Caching Disabled     No Caching by the Joomla system and each page is reassembled by the system each time it is called.
  • ON - Conservative Cache    All visitors to the site see the same cached content
  • On - Progressive Cache     The content is cached uniquely for each user 

Cache Handler: This gives you the choice of using a file to store the cache or Alternative PHP cache.  

Session Settings:

Session Lifetime:  When you work on the backend of a Joomla site and you don't make any changes for a while, you may go back to make changes and the screen will roll over to the login screen and make you login again.  You can up the time for which your session can be idle.  Increasing this setting can be a security risk if others have access to your computer. 

One thing to note with Session Lifetimes, if your session times out while you are in an article, module, etc., a lock will be place on that item so that only the last person to access this can open that article or a Super Administrator.  This can be frustrating if you have several people making edits to your site.  The Super Administrator can override these settings using a Global Check in, but users in a lower User Group can not.  Advise your contributors to quit out of an item if they are not actively editing it.

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