The System tab contains options that relate to sessions, error handling, default user, media settings, and more.

System Settings

Secret Word

You don’t have to worry about this or change it. It is used internally for encrypting things like passwords.

Path to Log Folder

This is the path to the Joomla log file where errors are recorded. This path is set by the installer.

Enable Web Services

Setting this to Yes will allow external applications to make remote procedure calls (RPCs) to Joomla through XML. This can be used for external applications such as blogging or site management tools.

Help Server

When you choose which server to pull help files from, you are also setting which language to use for help.

User Settings

Allow User Registration

If set to Yes, users will be able to register on your website.

New User Registration Type

When someone new registers, they are set as Registered by default. If you want them to be part of another access group, you can change it here.

New User Account Activation

Setting this to Yes will force new registrants to click a link in a confirmation email to activate their account. This prevents people from using fake email accounts or an account that doesn’t belong to them.


Very rarely would we recommend someone not using this feature. Occasionally, it can be a hassle when the activation email goes into someone’s spam folder and you have to manually enable the user’s account. The alternative is the potential for a lot of spam and bogus registered users on your website. The benefits usually outweigh the costs of not enabling this feature.

Frontend User Parameters

Registered users can log in to the frontend of the website and modify several preference settings like language, editor, and time zone. If this is set to No, they will not have those options.

Media Settings

Legal Extensions (File Types)

When uploading files with the Media Manager, this field tells Joomla what extensions to allow. You can add new extensions as needed, but be sure to add both the lowercase and uppercase version of the extension, separated by commas, and avoid spaces. Generally, you wouldn’t allow users to upload scripts that might be accessed by a third party to execute code on your server.

Maximum Size (in bytes)

This is the largest file size users with upload permissions can upload.


If you run into an issue where you can’t upload a file smaller than the maximum size, look at the System Info under the Help menu item in the top menu. It’s possible that the upload_max_filesize in PHP is set to a smaller number. To fix this, either edit PHP’s php.ini file or contact your host.

Path to Media Folder

This is the path to the media folder. It is recommended that you do not change this setting, as some third-party extensions rely on this being the default path.

Path to Image Folder

This is the path to the images folder. It is recommended that you do not change this setting as some third-party extensions rely on this being the default path.

Restrict Uploads

This allows you to restrict uploading of nonimage files to users with access to the site’s backend.

Check MIME Types

The MIME type will be analyzed on each upload if set to Yes. Also known as content types, MIME types define media and how it is handled by the Joomla uploader.

Legal Image Extensions (File Types)

Separated by commas, the extensions listed here are legal image formats for those who are not restricted from uploading them.

Ignored Extensions

Lists the extensions that you want the uploader to ignore.

Legal MIME Types

Separated by commas, these are the MIME types that are allowed.

Illegal MIME Types

Separated by commas, these are the MIME types that are not allowed.

Enable Flash Uploader

This will enable a much sleeker way to upload files in the Media Manager using the Flash uploader. This also allows multiple files to be uploaded at once. If set to No, a single file input form field will be used.


The Flash uploader conflicts with some third-party extensions and may not be compatible with some versions of Flash. If you have problems, try disabling it.

Debug Settings

Debug System

When debugging is turned on, information to help you troubleshoot a variety of issues is displayed at the bottom of each page.

Debug Language

Similar to Debug System, however, this only displays language information. This is useful when writing your own extensions.

Cache Settings


Turning on the cache can help speed up sites with lots of traffic by reducing the number of MySQL queries and the amount of processing power needed to render and return pages. If enabled, however, changes to your site will not appear until the Cache Time has expired. This setting should not be used in the process of developing a site when many changes and testing are being done.

Cache Time

This tells Joomla how long to cache a file. After it expires, a new cache file will be created.

Cache Handler

The Cache Handler setting tells Joomla where to store the cache.

Session Settings

Session Lifetime

After you have been idle for the given amount of time, the system will automatically log you out.


Although it is tempting to make this a really large number so that you never have to worry about being kicked out in the middle of writing a long article, it truly is bad practice and a security risk. This is especially true if you will be accessing your site from public computers.

Session Handler

The Session Handler setting tells Joomla where to store user session information.

Get Using Joomla now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.