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Understanding The Preferences

The "Preferences" menu enables you to configure and fine-tune some of your shop's details. These include a lot of different aspects of the shop, from technical settings to the customer's shopping experience. Therefore, all of the Preferences options should be carefully examined, and you should consider each option, as enabling or disabling any of them can have a real impact on your shop, and ultimately, your sales.

The "Preferences" and "Tools" tabs from PrestaShop 1.4 have been entirely reorganized into three menus for version 1.5: "Preferences", "Advanced Parameters" and "Administration".

General

The "General" preference page features a handful of specific settings that could not fit in the other menus. They are nonetheless essential:

Orders

The settings from the "Orders" preference page apply to the orders that your customers make, but also to some other details, such as gifting.

General preferences

Gift options

Products

This page contains a few preferences pertaining to how your products are to be handled and displayed by PrestaShop.

General preferences

Pagination preferences

Product page preferences

Products stock preferences

Customers

The "Customers" page appeared in version 1.5 to bring together specifically customer-related options, most notably the B2B mode.

Themes

The "Themes" page enables you to efficiently manage your themes.

Themes list

The first section of the page gives you a complete list of the themes currently available on your installation of PrestaShop. Their 'edit' section lets you change their name and directory (if any another directory is available).

The "Add new" button gives you access to a form that helps you register a theme on your installation. This is very useful when you need to create a new theme.

Select theme for shop <name>

This is where you can change the theme for the current shop. The interface presents you with a list of thumbnails of the currently available themes on your PrestaShop installation, and it is up to you to choose the one theme you want to use for your shop.

In multistore mode, you cannot apply a theme to all your stores or a group of stores; you must select a single store in the multistore menu, then pick a theme.

Appearance

This section helps you to quickly customize the current theme: header logo, mail logo, invoice logo, favicon, store icon and even the navigation pipe can be easily modified from there.

Finally, the "Enable mobile theme" makes it possible for you to use the default mobile theme. With this theme, any PrestaShop merchant can have his or her shop be accessible to mobile devices: from the home page to the payment process, along with product pages and conversion funnel. You can choose the option you like best: mobile, touchpad, or both.

In multistore mode, you can apply these changes to all your stores or a group of stores at one time, using the multistore menu.

Live from PrestaShop Addons!

This presents you with 6 of the latest themes from PrestaShop's Addons marketplace. You can click on each image to reach the theme's individual Addons page and get a better view of it, and possibly buy it.

SEO & URLs

SEO means "search engine optimization". It represents a set of techniques and best practices aimed at improving the visibility of a website on search engines. You can read more about this at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
The tools on this page help you improve the presence of your PrestaShop site on web searches, and therefore reach more potential customers.

URL is short for "uniform resource locator", or simply put, the online address of a web page. You can read more about what a URL is at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL
By default, PrestaShop's deep URLs (that is, specific pages rather than online the domain name) are rather uninformative to both the customer and search engines: an URL such as http://www.myprestashop.com/product.php?id_product=27 does not help visitors know what product is on that page. Friendly URLs are the way to achieve that, and get for instance http://www.myprestashop.com/2-music-players/27-ipod-nano-green.

As you can see in the second example above, both categories and products can have a friendly URL: id_category=2 becomes 2-music-players, and id_product=27 becomes 27-ipod-nano-green. While the ID number cannot be removed by default, the words can be either generated from the category/product name, or written by hand. This is done directly in the configuration page for the product or the category (in the Catalog menu): the "Friendly URL" field can be found directly in the main configuration page of a category, and under the "SEO" tab of the configuration page of a product. This is explained in the "Adding Products and Product Categories" chapter of this user-guide.

There are other individual pages in your PrestaShop install that would certainly benefit from friendly URLs: CMS pages, user account pages, pages with automatically generated content... The "SEO & URLs" page presents you with a list of these pages, and enables you to edit their friendly URLs.

Friendly URLs only work with a server setup that supports URL rewriting. Make sure to check that yours does (ask your hosting provider!), as it can make your shop completely unavailable to customers if you enable friendly URLs and the server does not support it!

At the bottom of the "SEO & URLs" page are three sections with additional options.

Adding a New Friendly URL

Friendly URLs are to be set in the configuration page of each product, category, CMS page... This creation page is only useful for some automatic pages, and most of the time you won't have to worry about these.

Make sure to fill the fields for all the available languages on your shop: not only is it immensely useful to local users, but some search engines can even make use of this local information.

Click the "Add New" button to reach the friendly URL creation form. It has a handful of fields:

Set up URLs

The main options for friendly URLs:

In previous version of PrestaShop, you had to manually generate a new .htaccess file after having enabled friendly URLs. This is no longer the case since version 1.5: the .htaccess file is now silently managed by PrestaShop, and you do not have to worry about it.

Set shop URL

In this section, you can view and edit some of the default server settings:

Most of the time, you should not touch these fields without knowing exactly what you are doing. One mistake could break your shop.

Robots file generation

A robots.txt file enables you to block specific automated bots and web spiders, which crawl the Web in order to find more web pages to add to their company's servers. Some bots you want to have full access to your website, such as Google's or Yahoo!'s, and some others you would rather not, such as spam bots, content thiefs, e-mail collectors, etc. Note that the worst of bots do not respect this file's directives, as it is purely advisory.

PrestaShop's robots.txt generation tool simply creates a file with exclusion directives for files and directories that are not meant to be public, and should not be indexed. These directives apply to all bots, good or bad: the generated file uses the "User-agent: *" string.

Clicking on the "Generate robots.txt" button replaces any existing robots.txt file with a new one. Therefore, if you want to add your own rules, do it after PrestaShop has generated its version of the file.

CMS - Managing Static Content

PrestaShop enables you create content pages as easily as you would create product pages, using its CMS tool. The pages will appear to customers in the "Information" block on your homepage and in the site menu.

The "CMS" page presents you all the content pages that were previously created on your shop, for the currently selected category (by default, the home page is the only category).

Do not forget to create one version of each page for each of your supported languages! As usual, click on the flag for each field in order to change language.

Creating a New CMS Category

Click the usual button to create a CMS category – actually, a sub-category of the root category, "Home". You can create as many categories as needed.

The form is quite basic:

Creating a New CMS Page

Click the "Add New" button to reach the content creation form:

Clicking the "Save and preview" button helps you see your page in the graphical context of your shop.

Once all the fields are filled out, click on "Save." If activated, you can then view the result directly on your online shop.

Images

The "Images" preference page enables you to configure the various image sizes that your customers will see on your shop.

In the "Products" page under the "Preferences" menu, you can choose to have a zoom appear when the cursor hovers over a product's image.

Add a New Images Size

You can easily add a new image size, and even set to which type of content it applies.

Click the "Add new" button, then:

  1. Type the size's name, width and height.
  2. Choose to which type of content it applies.
  3. Validate.

Images preferences

New in 1.5.

Product images

Regenerate Images

You may be dissatisfied with your shop's current thumbnails size. This section makes it possible for you to regenerate them all – or only those for a specific type of content:

  1. Change the image size settings in the table at the top of the "Images" preference page.
  2. Select which content's images should be regenerated.
  3. Indicate whether the previous thumbnails should be kept or not.
  4. Click "Regenerate thumbnails".

Manually uploaded thumbnails will be erased and replaced by automatically generated thumbnails.

Move images

PrestaShop has two image storage systems: the legacy one, which is efficient and has proven its worth over many versions of PrestaShop, and an improved one, which offers even better performance. You can keep relying on the old one, but you might want to use the new one, in which case you will need to trigger a one-time moving process of all the images.

The process is really simple: just click on the "Move images" button, and PrestaShop will take care of everything. Once the process is completed, do not forget to change the "Use the legacy image filesystem" option, and set it to "No".

Store Contacts

PrestaShop provides a complete physical store locating tool for your customers, with detailed contact information.

Customers can reach the Store Locator page from the front-office.

Obviously, this feature is only useful if you do have physical stores, where customers can come buy products.

Store list

You can choose how these stores are displayed in the front-office.

All your stores are listed in a handy list, giving every store's information as well as an indicator telling whether the store is currently active or not – you might for instance want to gather the information for a new store in advance, in order to have its page ready for the launch.

Adding a new physical store

As usual, click "Add New" to reach the store creation form.

Fill as many of the fields as possible, as they will be displayed to your customers within the map.

One very important field is the "Latitude/Longitude" one, as this is what PrestaShop uses to indicate the location of your store. You can use Steve Morse's online tool to get the lat/long coordinates of a given address: http://stevemorse.org/jcal/latlon.php.

Make sure to add a picture of the store front, as this is how your customers will be able to find it once in the street.

Finally, the business hours are an essential part of any physical store, and you should be as precise as possible about them.

Parameters

Contact details

This section enables you to give the main details of your company, rather than those of a specific shop. You should fill all the fields with information on your headquarters, as this is certainly the address customers will use to contact you, or even visit you.

Most of these fields are obvious, but some fields should be carefully crafted:

Search

The "Search" page enables you to configure your shop's search features.

Aliases list

When customers make a request using your shop's internal search engine, they may make mistakes in spelling. If PrestaShop does not display the right results, the "alias" feature can address them. You will be able to take words containing spelling errors, and point them to the real products sought by customers.

To create a new useful alias, you should first find the spelling errors most often typed by your users:

  1. Go to the "Shop search" tab of the "Stats" page, under the "Stats" menu. You can see the words typed by your customers as well as the most frequent errors.
  2. Take the most frequent ones, and add them to your list of aliases, in order to point user to the correct products.
  3. Click the "Add new" button on the "Search" preference page.

The creation form is very straight forward: indicate the typo you want corrected, and the correct word it should lead to.

For instance, let's say your visitors frequently type "player" as "palyer" and "plaier". You can create an alias for each of these typos, which will match the word "Player". Your aliases can be used as soon as they are saved.

We also invite you to consult the sections of this guide on product and category meta tags, to better understand how to display products based on words typed by your customers. See the "Adding Products and Product Categories" and "A Look inside the Catalog" chapters.

Indexation

This section provides information on the number of products that can be searched through your shop's search function, and compares it to the number of products present in the database. If the values do not match, you must select the "Add missing products to the index" option. Only the new products will be indexed.

If you have made several changes to already indexed products, you might prefer to choose to re-build the whole index. The "Re-build entire index" process takes more time, but it more thorough.

PrestaShop also gives you the URL to let you create a cron task for regular re-building of the index. If you do not know about cron and crontab, ask your web host about it.

Search options

This section enables you to configure the behavior of your shop's search function:

Weight

PrestaShop enables you to prioritize certain data when a search is performed on your shop.

As indicated in the section, the search "weight" of a product represents its importance and relevance for the ranking of the products when customers try a new search.
An item with a weight of 8 will have 4 times more value than an item with a weight of 2.

For instance, by default "Product Name Weight" is at 6, "Tags weight" is at 4, and both "Short description weight" and "Description weight" are at 1. This means a product with "ipod" in its name will appear higher in the search results than another product which has "ipod" only in its tags. Meanwhile, a product which only has "ipod" in any of its description will have the lowest rank in the search results.

You have many factors that you can assign a weight to: short description, category, tags, attributes, etc. You will find that the display order of results can be reversed because you changed the weight of the various fields. Fine-tuning these settings will be more visible on a large catalog with many references.

Once your changes are saved, they take effect immediately.

Maintenance

This very simple preference page will be invaluable when you want to make changes to your shop without your customers noticing. For instance, when you are adding several new products at once, or when you want to change the theme and make several tests before making it available to the world.

This page only has two options:

Geolocation

Geolocation is "the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar, a mobile phone or an Internet-connected computer". In our case, geolocation is used to discover the location of a visitor, using his or her computer's IP and other tools. One of the uses of geolocation is to block visitors from certain cities/countries.

As indicated the first time you open the "Geolocation" page, in order to use geolocation, you need download a special file first: http://geolite.maxmind.com/download/geoip/database/GeoLiteCity.dat.gz. This file is the GeoLite City database from MaxMind, an accurate database of cities and locations. Download it by clicking on the link, and then decompress it into the /tools/geoip/ directory of your PrestaShop installation.

Once the file is in place, enable the "Geolocation by IP address" option, and you are set.

Options

You can choose which countries can access your shop (by default, all of them), and set PrestaShop's behaviors for restricted and unrestricted countries (or "other" countries). You choose between these three options:

You can select or deselect all countries at once by checking the box at the top of the list. When selecting countries that can access your online shop, make sure to not block any country by mistake, as you would lose all potential sales to its inhabitants!

Whitelist of IP address

This section enables you to accept specific IPs address despite a blockade. It can be useful in case of spammers, bots or attacks. It is already filled with a list of known good IPs. Add as many as needed, one per line, and click "Save".