Introduction to configuration

Storage & access

Most of PrestaShop’s configuration is stored in the ps_configuration database table and is accessible through the Configuration storage service.

Some settings are hard coded as constants.

Configuration files

PrestaShop has four main configuration files:

  • /config/
  • /config/
  • /config/
  • /app/config/parameters.php

It is the main configuration file for PrestaShop. You should not need to touch anything in there.

This file contains PrestaShop constant values.

It also contains the location of all the files and folders. If you need to change their location, do not forget to keep the original path nearby, for instance in a PHP comment, in case you need to revert back to it later on.

You can override constant values from this file by setting them in /config/ This is also a great place to put your custom constants which needs to be available globally in the system.

This file contains all the Smarty-related settings.

The Smarty cache system should always be disabled, as it is not compatible with PrestaShop: keep $smarty->caching = false; as it is.

$smarty->compile_check should be left to false in development mode.

$smarty->debugging gives access to Smarty debug information when displaying a page. That setting is more easily modified in the “Performance” page of the advanced parameters menu: the “Debug console” option enables you to choose between never displaying Smarty’s debug information, always displaying it, or only displaying it when you add ?SMARTY_DEBUG to the URL of the page you want to test, which can be very useful.

When in production mode, $smarty->force_compile must be kept to false, as it will give a 30% boost to your page load time.

On the other hand, when editing a .tpl file, you must delete the /var/cache/(dev|prod)/smarty/compile folder (except the index.php file) in order to see your changes applied or clear cache directly from Back-Office.

Note that this configuration can be set up directly from the back office, in the “Performance” page under the “Advanced parameters” menu.


This file contains some of important settings such as database connection details and caching mechanism. If you change something in this file, make sure to delete cache files manually from /var/cache/(dev|prod) folder.

Enabling debug mode

PrestaShop’s default settings prevent customers from seeing any server error message or debugging code.

You, on the other hand, might need this information in order to correct any potential problem. For this purpose, you can activate the Debug mode.

Open the /config/ file, and edit it to set _PS_MODE_DEV_ to true:

define('_PS_MODE_DEV_', true);

You can also enable developer mode directly from your Back office: go to Advanced parameters > Performance, then change the “Debug mode” setting to “Yes”.

Inspecting variables

You can use Symfony’s powerful dump() function to display the content of a variable. This function is only available when the Debug mode is on.

The Debug mode produces a significant performance hit, don’t forget to disable it as soon as you finish debugging your code!

Disabling the cache and forcing Smarty compilation

When your development has an impact on the front office, whether you are building a theme or simply a module which displays information to the customer, you should force the template file compilation and disable the cache, in order to always see the result of your changes directly.

Go to the “Performance” page under the “Advanced parameters” menu to change the following Smarty settings:

  • Template compilation: switch it to “Force compilation”.
  • Cache: disable it.

Forcing the compilation of Smarty will always slow down the loading time of the page. Make sure that your production store is set to only recompile templates if there are updated files, and that its cache is enabled.

Disable the Back office token protection

Back office pages require the use of a token. If needed, this protection can be disabled using an environment variable:

Apache with mod_headers

SetEnv _TOKEN_ disabled

Nginx with ngx_http_headers_module

add_header _TOKEN_ disabled;