The PrestaShop architecture

The PrestaShop developers have done their best to clearly and intuitively separate the various parts of the software.

Here is how the files are organized:

  • /admin (the name is customized on installation): contains all the PrestaShop files pertaining to the back office. When accessing this folder with your browser, you will be asked to provide proper identification, for security reasons. Important: you should make sure to protect that folder with a .htaccess or .htpasswd file!
  • /app: NEW IN 1.7.
  • /cache: contains temporary folders that are generated and re-used in order to alleviate the server’s load.
  • /classes: contains all the files pertaining to PrestaShop’s object model (some are used for the front office, others for the back office). Each file represents (and contains) a PHP class, and its methods/properties.
  • /config: contains all of PrestaShop’s configuration files. Unless asked to, you should never edit them, as they are directly handled by PrestaShop’s installer and back office.
  • /controllers: contains all the files pertaining to PrestaShop controllers – as in Model-View-Controller (or MVC), the software architecture used by PrestaShop. Each file controls a specific part of PrestaShop.
  • /docs: contains some documentation, the licenses, and the sample import files. Note: it should be deleted in a production environment.
  • \/download: contains your virtual products, which can be downloaded by the user who paid for it. Files are stored with a md5 filename.
  • /img: contains all of PrestaShop’s default images, icons and picture files – that is, those that do not belong to the theme. This is where you can find the pictures for product categories (/c sub-folder), those for the products (/p sub-folder), and those for the back office itself (/admin sub-folder).
  • /install: contains all the files related to PrestaShop’s installer. You will be required to delete it after installation, in order to increase security.
  • /js: contains all JavaScript files that are not attached to themes. Most of them belong to the back office. This is also where you will find the jQuery framework.
  • /localization: contains all of PrestaShop’s localization files – that is, files that contain local information, such as currency, language, tax rules and tax rule groups, states and the various units in use in the chosen country (i.e., volume in liter, weight in kilograms, etc.).
  • /mails: contains all HTML and text files related to e-mails sent by PrestaShop. Each language has its specific folder, where you can manually edit their content if you wish. PrestaShop contains a tool to edit your e-mails, located in the back office, in the Localization > Translation page.
  • /modules: contains all of PrestaShop’s modules, each in its own folder. If you wish to definitely remove a module, first uninstall it from the back office, then only should you delete its folder.
  • /override: this is a special folder that appeared with PrestaShop 1.4. By using PrestaShop’s regular folder/filename convention, it is possible to create files that override PrestaShop’s default classes or controllers. This enables you to change PrestaShop core behavior without touching to the original files, keeping them safe for the next update. Note: overrides are not recommended for modules that you intend to distribute/sell, and are strictly forbidden in partner modules. Keep them for your own shop.
  • /pdf: contains all the template files (.tpl) pertaining to the PDF file generation (invoice, delivery slips, etc.). Change these files in order to change the look of the PDF files that PrestaShop generates.
  • /src: NEW IN 1.7. Contains the architecture files, comprising the Symfony framework, the legacy framework, and the Adapter classes.
  • /tests: NEW IN 1.7. Contains automated tests. This folder is not part of the public archive.
  • /themes: contains all the currently-installed themes, each in its own folder.
  • /tools: contains external tools that were integrated into PrestaShop. For instance, this were you’ll find Smarty (template engine), TCPDF (PDF file generator), Swift (mail sender), PEAR XML Parser (PHP tool), etc.
  • /translations: contains a sub-folder for each available language. However, if you wish to change the translation, you must do so using the PrestaShop internal tool, and not edit them directly in this folder.
  • /travis-scripts: NEW IN 1.7. Contains Travis-speficic scripts. This folder is not part of the public archive.
  • /upload: contains the files that would be uploaded by clients for customizable products (for instance, a picture that a client wants printed on a mug).
  • /vendor: NEW IN 1.7. Contains various 3rd-party tools and frameworks that are used by PrestaShop, such as Composer, cURL, Doctrine, etc.
  • /webservice: contains files that enable third-party applications to access PrestaShop through its API.

Root folders that were removed between 1.6 and 1.7:

  • /css: contained all the CSS files that are not attached to themes – hence, these were mostly used by the PrestaShop back office, and have now been moved to the theme.css file in the /admin/themes/new-theme/public folder.
  • /log: contains the log files generated by PrestaShop at various stages, for instance during the installation process.