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How-to 8 min read October 8, 2019

How to detect which CMS a website is using: 8 easy ways

The website's CMS is the platform on which a web resource is hosted. Monitoring website content management systems will help in choosing a CMS for your own Internet project at the startup stage. How to detect which CMS system is used on a website? Check out the ways to do this.
A CMS system is software that works with website content. Its official name is CMS or Content Management System. The content management system simplifies the process of editing information on the website and the administrator's interaction with databases, without requiring special technical skills.

Website CMS systems have their own characteristics, affordable tools, and options for the admin panel, and also provide the opportunity to implement a particular design. Popular CMS include WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, Drupal, and others.

When to choose a CMS for your website

Suppose you decide to develop your own website, and you're searching for ideas. If you find a third-party web resource exciting for its design, structure or features, it would be advisable to check the site's CMS and possibly use a similar platform for your project.

How to detect which CSM is used on a website

It doesn't require any special skills and complicated steps to find out this information. Often you can find it on the website itself, for example, from the page code. In other cases, you can use special services, which will help you find out the CMS used with a link to the CMS official website. Let's have a look at the main ways how to do this.

The name of the CMS is specified in the source code of the page

A reliable and quick way to detect the platform which is used on a website is by looking into the html code of the page and the generator meta tag. This is how you can do it:
1
Go to the website you are interested in.
2
Press Ctrl + U to display the page code.
3
Find the tag with the prefix meta name="generator"content= on the html page.
4
The name of the engine will be indicated in quotation marks after the word "content".
meta name generator with CMS name in the code of the page

File paths

The source code not always indicates the CMS system it's built on. It could be removed at the development stage or if it's a self-developed website. However, you can detect the CMS by the characteristic folders and their structure specified in the code. In particular, in the lines where the path to the js files is indicated. For example, wp-includes and wp-content indicate that the site is powered by WordPress.
How to detect CMS of a site using file paths

Indication in the website footer

Sometimes the CMS name can be found in the footer: it's indicated in small print at the very bottom, under contact information or additional information about the company. If a web developer uses a template website design, he doesn't always remove the name of the CMS system from the footer. However, it's a rare case when you can detect the name of the CMS this way.

Link structure analysis

How to detect the website CMS by the appearance of links? If the URLs of the website pages are created without CNC generators, then you can find segments that are characteristic for a particular CMS in the page texts. The example below shows links with specific information for WordPress and Joomla.

WordPress:
website_name/р=123
Joomla:
website_name/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=345
website_name/content/view/12/345/

Admin login URL

You can determine the CMS used on a website through the URL leading to the admin panel of the website. For example, if adding /wp-admin/ to a domain name in the URL bar led you to a page with a login and password entry window, then this is WordPress.

Other options how to go to admin panel:

  • site_name/wp-admin/ - WordPress;
  • site_name/administrator/ - Joomla;
  • site_name/admin/ - OpenCart;
  • SiteName/user/ - Drupal.
How to find out site's CMS by login address

Service pages in robots.txt file

Most websites have a robots.txt file in the root folder. Using this file, webmasters close service pages and internal directories from indexing. You can find out the CMS used from the names of internal folders related to the technical part of the site.

For example, a fragment of a robots.txt file for WordPress looks like this:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php
To find out the CMS of a site in this way, you need to go to the robots.txt file by specifying the URL in the browser address bar: site_name/robots.txt:
How to know site's CMS with robots.txt

HTTP headers and browser extensions

Sometimes you can detect a CMS used via HTTP headers. The server sends an HTTP Headers response to the browser. You can get a list of headers with CMS data using the online resource or the HTTP Headers extension for Google Chrome.

Also, this extension allows you to see the cookie and recognize the CMS by the characteristic signs that are indicated in the file. For example, wp-settings for WordPress.

Installing extensions in the browser will help to find out the CMS used and get other useful information about the site.

Plugins for Google Chrome: Chrome Sniffer, Wappalyzer.
Plugins for Firefox: RDS Bar, Wappalyzer.

Free online services

There are analytics services that will help you find out the CMS used on a website in just a few seconds. This is usually the fastest and most effective way to find out the CMS used: just enter the website URL in the field. Let's have a look at a few free services for checking CMS.
1
Whatcms. This service gives a response to "what CMS the site is using"; it specifies its name and version.
Checking CMS of the site online using Whatcms
2
Built With. Among the detailed information about the resource, you can find the name of the CMS, as well as the plugins installed on it.
How to find out system of a site using Built With service

Conclusion

Information about the CMS system used for a third-party website can be useful to both the business owner and the webmaster. There are several ways to detect which CMS a web resource is using.

The most popular, simple, and effective way to find out the CMS is to use online services.

Alternative options will help you find markers that identify a particular CMS system: through the html-code of the page, internal website files, and via browser extensions.

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