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How to Detect Website’s CMS

how to detect website cms

Sometimes there is a need to find out what CMS or website builder a website is based on. Users may require this info just because of their curiosity or desire to understand what technology works best for this type of projects.

Having found that out, it’s quite possible that you’ll wish to create a similar website yourself or even copy the one in details. The essence goes down to the only goal – how to get information about the CMS a website is built on.

There are three ways to detect the engine behind a website: application of online services, communication with the owner or checking out the code. None of them is 100% reliable, but, if you try really hard, the chances to find out the platform will notably increase.

1. Services to Detect The Website Technology

WHATCMS

Whatcms

WhatCMS – is a web-based service used to detect frameworks websites are built on. We tested it on our website and were really surprised with the result. It detected the right data about our blog’s CMS without any problems at all. The system works quite fast (2-3 seconds are enough to find out the result), providing minimum amount of information, which is quite enough, though. You don’t have to browse the web looking for the name of the engine as the service allows detecting around 170 CMS, website builders and frameworks – both paid and free.

Some websites are built on several CMS at a time (OpenCart basis, WordPress blog, vBulletin forum etc.). To detect such a giant, you can use the definition option for each page or section.

BUILTWITH

Builtwith

BuiltWith – is another popular service that can provide much information upon your request: connected analytics systems, widgets, availability of the mobile version, scripts and CSS rules used, hosting provider, SSL certificate, web server etc. Such detailed information will be useful to webmasters. A newbie can easily get lost in it and there is a risk that half of this info will remain unclear.

The system immediately detected the CMS our website is built on. You just have to find the required information in the long data list.

CMSDETECT

CMSdetect

CMS Detector is one more decent system, which comes with a powerful CMS detector tool used to find out the framework, CMS or any other technology a website uses. Provided by Online Web Tools, the service can effectively recognize over 100 most popular and widely-used CMS. It’s also possible to find out much website-related info, statistics, technologies here. The process is quite easy and fast.

You just need to reach the service, provide the URL of a website you are interested in and hit the Enter button. In just a few seconds, you’ll see the detailed info about the CMS or website builder a site is using.

CMS Detector did not manage to recognize the system our blog is built on, which makes its efficacy and reliability quite doubtful.

WAPPALYZER

Wappalyzer

Wappalyzer is a well-known cross-platform utility, which can effectively uncover the frameworks, technologies and website builders used. The tool can detect the most popular Content Management Systems, eCommerce engines, web analytics tools, server software and other technologies a website may encompass.

To find out the CMS and widgets behind any site, you should access the official website of the service, specify the URL of a website you’d like to check and launch the scanning process. Wappalyzer is also available as the downloadable software and browser extension. So, it’s up to you to choose the most suitable variant based on the frequency of the service use and its efficacy.

We tried to make the analysis of our blog with Wappalyzer twice. The first attempt was unsuccessful because of the system’s overloading. After the second attempt, Wappalyzer did not recognize the engine behind our blog as well.

RESCAN

Rescan

Rescan is an online service that can help you identify the frameworks, CMS and technologies behind any website you provide. All in all, the system can scan over 305 millions websites in over 1550 domain zones.

Apart from providing the lists of tools and technologies websites are based on, Rescan additionally runs a free website analysis tool that helps you effectively find out the detailed information about a site that is under review, its statistics, Alexa rank status, IP address, web server types, country of origin, code page info and other detailed parameters. Based on the results of our test, Rescan managed to identify several technologies behind our blog, which is quite a decent factor.

Conclusion

The use of online automatic website engine definition services is the simplest and the most convenient way to find out this info for the majority of users. The method enjoys popularity both with newbies and web design pros.

It goes without saying that the determination accuracy varies from one tool to another, but nothing prevents you from using 3-4 similar online services at a time and compare the results obtained.

2. Analysis of HTML Website Code

The second detection method is to analyze the HTML website code in Google Chrome (right mouse click on a web page, “Web Page Code Preview” Ctrl+U). This is not quite convenient and it doesn’t work well in many cases. However, the method is worth trying. You should find a code between «…» tags. As a rule, the CMS name is provided in the “generator” meta tag. Many webmasters delete this tag to conceal this valuable information from robots, people and viruses. This is a simple way to secure your website from any classic hacker attacks on the platform.

Manual CMS Detect

It is also possible to recognize the major CMS parameters or characteristics by code structure (this is applicable for experienced users only) or by template name you can see in the website folder structure. Pick the “Sources” tab in the code preview mode and find the catalogue with the words “Themes” or “Template” in the title. The sub catalogue is generally specified under the name of the template used, where all its files are stored. Search for this name in Google to find out the list of CMS applicable for current design versions. Unfortunately, there may be several variants. So, keep that in mind.

3. Social Engineering

The third method is just to ask the administrators or developers about the CMS or website builder a site is based on. You can turn to the website owner or any person responsible for website design with this inquiry either through the contact form or via the social networks. Well, this does not guarantee that you’ll get the answer – this depends upon the accuracy and correctness of inquiry formulation, the mood of a person you communicate with and some reasonable causes like safety or simple unawareness of this info.

Praise the website, tell that you like the technologies it uses and that you are willing to create a similar project, but in another niche. Inquire about the amount of time it took to develop the website, wish success and effective promotion to the resource etc. In other words, just decently ask about the facts you are interested in not to affray the owner or administrator.

Websites created by web studios frequently contain footprints with their names and links. It’s quite logical that people, who have designed them, are aware of the systems the sites are based on. It’s also possible to turn to them for help in a friendly manner. You will look like a potential client (ask about the cost of website development), which notably increases your chances to get the desired answer.

Bottom Line

Whatever goal you pursue trying to detect the CMS of a third-party website, it’s simpler and more convenient to do that by using one of the niche online services. To do that, it is enough to provide the domain name in the required field and wait until the system will scan a website. If a site works on a manually-written CMS or has been deeply modified, your inquiry won’t be a success. Sometimes, you may encounter simple mistakes – there is no 100% possibility of getting the answer here.

To enhance the reliability of the framework definition process, it is desirable to check it with several systems at a time. Select those we have enlisted in the post or any other services of your choice – it doesn’t matter a lot. All of them work quite well. If scanning results are the same, you can be sure about the correctness of the test. If there are any distinctions, it makes sense to use additional tools and select the most frequent variant they generate. As a rule, there are no serious distinctions here.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person.

Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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