Joomla's (1.6) Global Configuration: The Site Tab

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Once you log into the backend of Joomla, the administrator panel, the control panel pops up.

One of the options is Global Configuration, and it shows up with a wrench and a screwdriver, indicating tools. Global Configuration can also be reached by selecting Global Configuration underneath the Site menu item.

Four tabs exist in Global Configuration, which are Site, System, Server, and Permissions. Each of the four tabs has many fields and options. Some of the settings are obvious, even to the novice. Others might as well be written in a foreign language. What do the settings mean? What are they for? What should you set the values ​​to?

This article covers the fields and options in the Site tab.

FTP Login Details

FTP Login Details are at the top of this page, with the two fields being User Name and Password. These values ​​might have been set when the Joomla site was installed, if you activated a ftp layer. If the fields are blank, consider entering the values ​​for a ftp login to the root level of your Joomla site, so Joomla can keep your configuration.php file up to date. The password field is asterisked out.

Site Settings

Site Name: This field is for your site's name, your company name, or if it is a blog, your name. Enter it. Do not leave this field blank. The Home page of your web site uses the datum in this field to create the page title for the page, as do other parts of Joomla. Remember, page titles show up in the tab of the user's browser. It's how they know what is on the page.

Site Offline: Is the site up or not? If your site is botched, or you are making a lot of changes, you might want to put the site in maintenance mode. When in maintenance mode, instead of coming to the site, visitors see a message indicating that the site is down for maintenance.

Offline Message : This is the message that visitors will see when the site is down for maintenance. If you do not like the default message, change it here.

Note: If you do not like the way the offline message looks, and if you are comfortable making small changes to a php file, you can change the whole look and feel of the offline page.

Default Editor: TinyMCE, Code Mirror, and No Editor are the default editors in a default Joomla installation. No Editor, is, of course, no editor at all, so when you have this selected, you enter your articles in HTML. If you want an editor that is not there, you'll need to install it. My favorite editor is JCE. You can download other editors at extensions.joomla.org. Set the default editor here. Users can change their default editor, but if they do not figure out how to do it, they'll get the default. If you have any users that are not HTML proficient, do not set the value to No Editor.

Default Access Level: When you create a new article, do you want it to be for everyone (public) or just for registered users? Set the default value here. Most installations have this set to Public. You can change the access level for your content at an individual article level. This is just the default.

Default List Limit: When you look at registered users on the system, lists of articles, and lists of other parts of Joomla, how many items do you want to show up in that list? I always set this value to 100 because I hate having to wait for another page to load.

Default Feed Limit: If you do not have any feeds on your site, this field is irrelevant. If you do have feeds, select the number of items to show in the fields. Remember, this is a default, and individual feeds can be changed.

Feed Email: Feeds contain an email address. Do you want the feed to show the email address of anyone wrote the article or do you want it to show the same email address, the site's default email address, with each feed?

Metadata Settings

Site Meta Description: This is the general description for the site. This is one of the more important meta tags. Before you type in your description, do a Google search on anything. In the search results you see a title, two lines of description, and a line for the URL. The two lines talking about the site are the Site Meta Description. Limit yourself to about twenty words, because no more than that will show up in a Google search and your potential readers will not see it.

Site Meta Keywords: Keywords are basically useless these days. If you're into completeness, go for it.

Content Rights: Put your copyright in this field. Or, if anyone can do anything with your articles, put that in here.

Show Title Meta Tag: Set this to yes. This makes the page title for your articles the same as the article title. This is a particularly good thing to set, especially if you are not diligent in setting your page titles.

Show Author Meta Tag: If you set this to Yes, the meta tag author will show up in the page source for your web pages.

SEO Settings

Search Engine Friendly URLs: Look at the URL for your administrator page after you've clicked through a few items. You'll probably have at least one question mark and an equal sign in the URL. Yuck! People do not like URLs with special characters in them and neither do search engines. Set this to Yes to get rid of the special characters.

Use Apache mod_rewrite: This is an advanced feature. Basically, you can create a filter for URLs that rewrites the URLs a certain way. It's neat, but there are easier ways to get pretty URLs, including a ton of extensions that do this.

Adds Suffix to URL : I have this set to No. If the page is displaying a typical article, it will add ".html" to the URL. If it's a pdf, it will add a ".pdf." To me, this just seems like more to type.

Unicode Aliases: This field is asking how the system should take other languages, like Greek and Latin, and convert them into the characters we're used to seeing. We do not often see omegas, lamdas, and deltas in URLs. The help text for this says "choose between transliteration and unicode aliases. Transliteration is the default." For most people, that does not mean anything. If your website is in English or American, leave it set to the default of No. If your website is in a different language, I suggest not changing it unless something does not work.

Include Site Name in Page Titles: Set this to No. Your page titles only have so much room in them, and you do not need your company's name on each page.

Cookie Settings

Cookie Domain: This field is used mostly by extensions. For instance, a forum might need this value to be set. What domain name should be used when Joomla's setting cookies? Typically, you'll leave this field blank, because Joomla uses the default you set up in installation.

Cookie Path: What path is the cookie valid for? Typically, you'll leave this blank.

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