How to detect what CMS a website is using

There are more than a billion websites on the Internet and there are thousands of CMS (Content Management System) and frameworks to create different types of websites – a blog, a forum, an e-commerce site, etc… If you stumbled upon a website that does not have a “Powered by CMS Name” at the footer and you want to detect what CMS it is using, you can either use one of the tools that I’ve listed below or can just view the website source, which in most cases will give you the idea of what theme, CMS or framework that website is using.

Method 1 – Using tools

These tools cannot be 100% accurate for all websites. If a website is using very popular CMS then the result will be accurate, however, if the CMS is new or less known, chances are that it will not be detected.

#1. BuiltWith

BuiltWith is the most reliable tool to detect website CMS and theme and widgets. It also detects if the website is using Google Analytics and Google Adsense, where is it hosted (GoDaddy, BigRock, etc…), what Javascript libraries and Content delivery network it uses, etc…

#2. W3Techs

You may not like the website design, but it does the job very well. Just like BuiltWith, it shows hosting company, Google tags, along with the CMS. It also shows the percentage of sites using a newer version of that CMS. It does not show theme name though.

#3. Wappalyzer

Wappalyzer shows these pieces of information – Widgets, CMS, Google Widgets (Maps, Analytics, Adsense), etc… that a website is using. It did not show theme name for my website, but BuiltWith was able to show the theme name.

#4. WhatCMS

What CMS only shows the content management system a site is using, with the version. Unlike all the tools listed above, it does not show widgets, web hosting provider’s name etc… It also offers an API and bulk checking.

Method 2 – Viewing the Source Code

This would be time-consuming. Different content management systems use different folder names and structure. Right-click anywhere on the website (except on a textbox, an image or a textarea) and select the “View page source”/”View source” option. You can also directly access the source of any website on Chrome by navigating to this address – “view-source:http://example.com”

Use the keywords listed below to find the CMS.

Search for name=”generator” in the <head> section. In most cases, you’ll see the CMS name. For example –

  • <meta name=”generator” content=”WordPress 4.9.4″ /> – WordPress
  • <meta name=”generator” content=”Joomla! – Open Source Content Management” /> – Joomla
  • <meta name=”generator” content=”Drupal 7 (http://drupal.org)” /> – Drupal

To find the name of the WordPress theme, search for “style.css” and open it, you’ll find all theme related details on the top. If you couldn’t find the style.css file, the site is probably using a cache plugin and will probably have CSS comments removed. In this case, search for “wp-content/themes/” and you’ll see the theme slug just after “wp-content/themes/”, open this page to get theme details – https://wordpress.org/themes/SLUG-HERE/

For forum scripts like MyBB, PhpBB etc, just search their name in the source code; for MyBB, search for “mybb” in the source code, if you get any matches, the CMS is probably MyBB.

I hope this helped you, let me know if you’ve any questions.

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