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Joomla Site Administration

In this Joomla site administration article, you will learn some of the basic tasks you can perform to properly administer your site, including configuring Site, System, and Server in the global configuration panel.

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By: TitoOrtiz
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July 01, 2011

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In this Joomla site administration article, you will learn some of the basic tasks you can perform to properly administer your site, including configuring Site, System, and Server in the global configuration panel.

This article will assume that you already have a fresh install of Joomla available, and that you chose the option to publish sample content. This article covers Joomla 1.5, as Joomla 1.6 - in opinion - is too new and most readers will likely not have upgraded yet. Donít worry though, as I will be submitting a similar article for Joomla 1.6 in the near future. Also, many of the same principles (but not all) still apply in both versions, in definition if not in actual implementation.

Now that that is out of the way, we will start with some basic site setup issues you may or may not have considered.

To begin, log-in to the administrative side of your site. This will be the name of your site with /administrator attached to the end of your URL (in most setups anyway). For example:

Once logged in, you will see the administrator panel, shown here:

Here you will see ten buttons, as well as a menu bar. The menu bar items are:

  • Site - From here you can control your site and network settings/configuration, manage users and media, and logout.
  • Menus - This is where you control your sites menus and sub-menus. You can also configure the way your home page layout looks here.
  • Content - Where you control your sites content, including creating new articles, scheduling content, setting up categories and section, and so on.
  • Components - The component menu lets you utilize the various pre-installed and user-installed components that are installed in Joomla. Note, this is not where you configure or install components. For instance, if you wanted to add a new banner or RSS feed, you would do so here. If you wanted to install a module that letís you do a different type of RSS feed or need to edit the way your RSS feeds are displayed, you would use the Extensions menu.
  • Extensions - This is where you install, uninstall, and configure extensions, components, modules, plug-ins, and templates (other CMSí refer to these as Themes).
  • Tools - This area is where you can send and receive mails and manipulate system cache.
  • Help -Where you can turn to if you need assistance, or need to know system information.

Everything you can accomplish on the menu items you can achieve via the use of the admin panel buttons as well - which you choose is up to you.

Joomla Global Configurations Settings

One of the first things you want to do after installing a Joomla site is to set-up your sites global configuration settings. To do so, choose Global Configuration from the Site menu, or click on the Global Configuration button.

This opens up the global configuration page, which you can see below.

You will notice three tabs here, as there are three parts of the system that you can configure:

  • Site
  • System
  • Server

To begin with, stay on the Site tab. Here, you can configure these options:

  • Site Offline - A yes or no option for temporarily turning your site on or off.
  • Offline Message - This message is what will be displayed to the user if you ever take your site offline for maintenance or to deal with an issue, or while you are initially setting it up.
  • Site Name - This is the name of your site as you would like to see it in the Title bar of the user's browser.
  • Default WYSIWYG Editor - WYSIWIG stands for "What You Is What You Get". It is the editor you will be inputting and formatting articles into and with.
  • List Length - RSS setting.
  • Feed Length - RSS setting.
  • Feed E-mail - RSS setting.
  • Global Site Meta Description - This is the description of your site. Do not stuff keywords here. Provide a realistic description of your site. Google and other search engines will use this description for your site description when showing your page in their results.
  • Global Site Meta Keywords - Here is where you would enter any keywords for your site. If you have a site about fruit for example, you would enter in fruit-related keywords. Make sure they are seperated by commas and that phrases are encapsulated between two quotation marks. An example would be: Apple, Orange, Fruit, Banana, "Farmer's Market", "Hand Picked", organic.
  • Show Title Meta Tag - Will display the articles title within the article.
  • Show Author Meta Tag - Will displays the authors name on articles as a tag.
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs - I suggest setting this to "Yes" prior to adding any content or structure to your site. Doing it after can lead to broken pages and bad SEO.
  • Use Apache mod_rewrite - For advanced users.
  • Add suffix to URLs - Adds a suffix to the URL structure depending upon the document type (for example: .htm, .html, .pdf, and so on).

Keep in mind that any setting you change in these three sections are applied globally. At the very least, on the Site tab you will want to set the following:

  • Site Name
  • Global Site Meta Description
  • Global Site Meta Keywords
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs (provided you have not set up the menus and articles yet).

The next tab you will encounter is the System tab. The majority of options on here I would say to leave alone, especially if you are new to Joomla administration, as reading this article suggests. Here you can enable web services, configure basic User Settings (but not users themselves), allow/disallow media types and sizes and enable caching.

The only thing I recommend for you to do as beginner here is to change the Session Settings. In particular you should change Session Lifetime. This setting determines how long you will stay logged into the back-end. If it is set too short, you will find yourself logged out after X amount of minutes. This is bad, because if you have this setting at say 15 minutes, and it takes your 20 minutes to enter an article, when you click the save button, you will find that you have been logged out and will lose all of your work.
If you are on a secure computer and do not need to worry about other users logging into your account, I recommend setting this at a minimum of an hour. My personal setting is 2 hours.

The last global configuration tab is Server, which handles server functionality.  From this page you can enable GZIP compression (for faster page loading), SSL, local time settings, set-up FTP settings (and enable them), set database types, hostnames, and usernames, and set your mail settings for contact forms.
Once more, unless you are Joomla savvy, you will want to leave most of these things alone. At the minimum you will want to change:

  • Time Zone
  • Mail From
  • From Name

Next Steps

Once you have these basic settings in place, your next step is to unpublish and delete any articles that came pre-installed with the Sample Content option. This may sound absurd, but the actual articles are only a small portion of the Sample Content Joomla provides. The real meat of their content is the menu and framework settings, which you will want to keep installed initially so that you can better understand the sites structure and not have to worry about installing modules such as the various menu modules and so on.

The reason you want to uninstall and delete the articles that were created in the Joomla install is simple: Google will index your site fairly quickly, and if you do not delete these sample articles, it will index them. This can cause problems in ranking, as well as if you intend to place Google AdSense ads on your site. Sense part of the way that Google determines what type of ads to place on your site based on the content you have, it can get confused if you leave the Joomla content on your site.

For example, if you are running a fruit website as we discussed before, Google may see that you have more Joomla-based articles than fruit-based, and display Joomla/Technology ads on your site. This means less click-through rates, and ads that do not fit the look and feel of your site.


This article barely scratches the surface for Joomla Site Administration, but it should give you a good start for the first hour or so of setting up your site after you install Joomla. In future articles, you will learn how to create content, menus, categories, and sections, as well as more advanced Joomla CMS tricks.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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