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I'm redesigning the website for my academic library and am examining other sites to determine to identify the technologies used. Things like:

  • Web frameworks
  • Javascript frameworks
  • Server-side technology
  • Content management system

Now I've had some real success in Firefox using plugins like Wappalyzer, Firebug, and the DOM Inspector. But some sites just don't display any of the info. I'm looking for using these tools, especially it seems it an enterprise-level CMS is being used.

Does anyone know of any other tools to detect this kind of data? Also with Firebug & the DOM Inspector, there is a lot of info. displayed and I wondered if there was a way to derive the presence of server-side technologies, CMS's, etc. within certain elements of a web page?

Also, if this question is more relevant to another Stack Exchange site, please let me know and I'll post it there instead.

Much thanks,

Jason

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BTW-I did find this post (stackoverflow.com/questions/2154329/…) and have been trying out web-sniffer.net. –  jkneip Mar 14 '11 at 15:39
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Frankly, a good CMS should strip out anything not needed for the final product. You might do better searching for a good CMS rather than trying to reverse-engineer what others are using. –  Michael Todd Mar 14 '11 at 15:53

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Fundamentally, you can't tell. No matter what CMS you use, you can always strip the identifying information from it. Plone, for example, is currently themed using a system called Diazo (a subset of Deliverance) which basically plugs chunks of content into any given CSS + HTML theme. Tons of other web applications rely on thin web frameworks or are simply servlets or FastCGI programs which expose only HTML and CSS to the browser.

It's a security risk to shout your technology stack to the world, so most (good) web frameworks and CMS's don't.

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One way is to inspect HTTP response headers. Lots of frameworks include a custom header, like X-Powered-By which contains the name of the CMS or framework. Although I don't think you'll get good results with this as there's a big change these kind of headers are only included in development mode.

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As mentioned above, it's impossible to tell server side frameworks, but there's plenty of tools for CSS, JS, and guessing when it comes to Server Side. Here's a superb list of tools:

The best way is to find out who developed the website. Often times on their website, they'll list their technologies/frameworks and you can always ask.

If that doesn't work, here's a list of tools that'll get you a long way in the right direction from a Stack Overflow Thread

I like starting with Built With as it doesn't require an install and is pretty thorough right off the bat.

As mentioned in several places, if you look at the headers and/or source code, there's often clues to what was used.

If includes have "wp-content" or "wp-includes" anywhere in the url, it's wordpress. Sometimes it'll have a theme name in every url you can lookup.

Someone mentioned looking at the cookies for clues.

That should get you a long way in the right direction anyway.

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Does it really matter what technology they used? Pretty much all good CMSs let you build good websites. If you are looking at other sites, better concentrate on:

  • What you like and dislike about them
  • How their information is organised
  • How their sites look on mobiles and other devcies
  • Specific features that make them unique, if any,

It really doesn't matter what the technology stack is.

But if you really want to know you can probably guess that it's Wordpress, since that powers about 20% of new US sites. And you can't really go wrong with choosing Wordpress unless you have some very specific needs.

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http://guess.scritch.org/ does this for CMSs.

Just pop in the URL and it'll try to guess the CMS. In this case it tells me my blog is running wordpress 3.4.2 (which is correct, I just checked!)

enter image description here

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