I host the server myself, and I am the admin too... I have access to the php.ini, but I couldn't find the max_input_vars in this file. I searched through this file using "nano" in my ubuntu server. Where is this value?
First of all, did you already apply my first suggestion about checking the permissions of your tools/smarty directory?
Additionally, can you please place the attached file in the root of your store, and then navigate to www.yoursite.com/phpinfo.php and search for that max_input_vars value in the results that come up?
phpinfo.php 19bytes 220 downloads