SMF2.1:Server settings From Online Manual

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Please see SMF1.1:Server settings or SMF2.0:Server settings depending on the version of SMF you are using.

The Server Settings section of the Administration Center allows you to change the basic settings for your forum. Be very careful with these settings, as they may render the forum dysfunctional if a setting is changed to an invalid value.


  • Forum Title - The name of your forum. This is used in the title of your forum pages. As well as the name of the sender of email notifications and on the footer of each email message sent by your forum.
  • Enable Maintenance Mode - Sets whether the forum is in maintenance mode. If ticked Maintenance mode will be activated. Thus, only administrators can use the forum as usual. Other users get a 'this forum is in maintenance mode' message. The database may still be accessed for user authentication (to tell if the member is an administrator).
  • Subject for display - Title for the Maintenance Mode message. This will be shown to users only if Maintenance mode is on.
  • Message for display - Description of why the forum is in maintenance mode. It will be shown to user only if Maintenance mode is on.
  • Webmaster Email Address - Email address from which to send all topic notifications, personal message notifications, newsletters, etc. This address also receives database error warnings, should they occur.
  • Enable compressed output - This option will compress output to lower bandwidth consumption, but it requires zlib to be installed.
  • Disable evaluation of templates - By default, templates are evaluated instead of just included. This helps with showing more useful debug information in case a template contains an error. On large forums however, this customized inclusion process may be significantly slower. Therefore, advanced users may wish to disable it.
  • Disable hostname lookups - This disables host name lookups, which on some servers are very slow. Note that this will make banning less effective.

Only for SMF 2.0.14+

  • Enable Image Proxy - This option enables the image proxy that will proxy images posted within [img] tags and linked forum avatars. This option is required for full HTTPS to avoid receiving mixed content warnings from browsers.
  • Image Proxy Secret - An alphanumeric value that should kept secret. It protects your forum from hotlinking images and can be changed to render current hotlinked images useless.
  • Maximum file size of images to cache - Maximum image size that the image proxy will cache. This means that larger images will be not be cached. Cached images are stored in your SMF cache folder, so make sure you have enough free space.

Database and Paths

  • Database Server - Hostname or IP of the database server. If the database server is on the same machine as the web server, it's safe (and considerably more efficient!) to use 'localhost' for this setting. Otherwise, either an IP address or a web address (hostname) is required. If a port number is required, use the appropriate format for your database server. So, if your database server is at on port 3030
    • MySQL databases:
    • PostgreSQL: port=3030
  • Database Username - Name of the user connecting to the database.
  • Database Password - Password for access to the database server.
  • Database Name - The name of the database. This database must exist, and must have SMF's tables and data in it.
  • Database Tables Prefix - The prefix of the database tables. During installation, SMF will add about 30 tables to the database. Each of which will use the prefix that was configured during the installation procedure. For example, if the prefix is 'smf_', the tables will be given the names 'smf_attachments', 'smf_boards', 'smf_messages', etc. If you want to install another forum or software package in the same database, simply chose a different prefix, and the tables won't interfere with each other.
  • Use a persistent connection - Enable or disable persistent connections for connecting to the database. A persistent connection keeps the connection active to increase performance (although in many cases the gain is minimal). If you aren't on a dedicated server, this may cause you problems with your host.
  • Send emails on Database connection error - Enables or disables sending an email to the administrator on a database connection or query error. This function is limited to sending only one email per every three days.
  • Database username to use in SSI mode - Optional setting to use a different database user and password when you are using SSI.php.
  • Database password to use in SSI mode - Optional setting to use a different database user and password when you are using SSI.php.
  • Automatically fix broken tables - This will automatically fix broken tables and resume like nothing happened. This can be useful, because the only way to fix it is to REPAIR the table, and this way your forum won't be down until you notice. It does email you when this happens.
  • Maximum users online when optimizing (0 for no max.) -
  • Forum URL - The URL to your forum's directory, without the trailing slash (/). This URL is used throughout SMF - all dynamically generated URLs (except those with their own settings) are based on this setting.
  • SMF Directory - This sets the directory where SMF is installed. It's used to locate files like Settings.php, SSI.php, agreement.txt, and the Packages directory. No trailing slash (/) should be added.
  • Sources Directory - The path to where the source files are stored. No trailing slash (/) is allowed. It does not need to be the same as the above path. You can have your SMF Directory in one place and Sources Directory in another place if you want. For security, you may wish to place your Sources directory in a location that is not accessible by the web server.
  • Cache Directory - The path to the directory that is used to store cached files generated by SMF.

Cookies and Sessions

  • Cookie Name - Name of the cookie to set for authentication purposes. Changing this value will cause everyone to be logged out.
  • Default login cookies length (in minutes) - The amount of time, in minutes, that the login form will use if no other amount is selected.
  • Enable local storage of cookies - (SSI won't work well with this on.) SMF uses cookies to store login information on the client computer. Cookies can be stored globally ( or locally ( Check this option if you're experiencing problems with users getting logged out automatically. Globally stored cookies are less secure when used on a shared webserver (like Tripod). Local cookies don't work outside the forum directory so, if your forum is stored at, pages like cannot access the account information. Especially when using SSI.php, global cookies are recommended.
  • Use subdomain independent cookies - (turn off local cookies first!) Makes log in cookies available across subdomains. For example, if...
    Your site is at and your forum is at, using this option will allow you to access the forum's cookie on your site. Do not enable this if there are other subdomains (like not controlled by you.
  • Force cookies to be secure - (This only applies if you are using HTTPS - don't use otherwise!) Enabling this option will force the cookies created for users on your forum to be marked as secure. Only enable this option if you are using HTTPS throughout your site as it will break cookie handling otherwise!
  • Use database driven sessions - This option makes use of the database for session storage - it is best for load balanced servers, but helps with all timeout issues and can make the forum faster.
  • Allow browsers to go back to cached pages - Turning this on will decrease the bandwidth your forum uses, and make it so clicking back will not reload the page - the downside is that the (new) icons won't update, among other things. (unless you click to that page instead of going back to it.)
  • Seconds before an unused session timeout - This is the number of seconds for sessions to last after they haven't been accessed. If a session is not accessed for too long, it is said to have "timed out". Anything higher than 2400 is recommended.


On this page you can set-up caching of your forum.

You should only enable caching if you know what you are doing and SMF detects that you have an accelerator installed. On the page you will see bullets in red letters telling you what accelerators you have installed. If you have none installed it will say "No Caching Detected!".

To setup an accelerator, select the cache level you want next to Caching Level. Also enter the Memcache settings into the next part. If you need more information, please contact your host regarding accelerators.

  • Caching Level - Sets the caching level between 1 and 3. No caching is also an option, but this is not recommended.
  • Memcache settings - If you are using memecached you need to provide the server details. This should be entered as a list, with a comma separating each item, as is shown in the following example: server1,server2,server:port,server4. Note that if no port is specified, SMF will use port 11211. SMF will attempt to perform rough/random load balancing across the specified servers.

Load Balancing

Please note: the settings below are to be edited with care. Setting any of them too low may render your forum unusable!

  • Enable load balancing by load averages - by enabling this setting, SMF will begin checking the load of your server. Once the load reaches the thresholds you set in the following settings, SMF will begin showing an error message instead of the appropriate page. When the load lessens, the page will be usable again.
  • Threshold to disabling automatic database optimization - stops the forum from doing database optimizations at this threshold.
  • Threshold to disabling search - stops the forum from allowing searching at this threshold.
  • Threshold to disabling all unread topics - stops the forum from allowing members to view their unread topics at this threshold.
  • Threshold to disabling unread replies - stops the forum from allowing members to view their unread replies at this threshold.
  • Threshold to disabling showing user posts - stops the forum from allowing users to view all member's posts at this threshold.
  • Threshold to disabling the forum completely - completely shuts down the forum. It will immediately show an error page and nobody will be able to do anything.