Find out what CMS or framework a website is using
Whether you're a developer, online marketer, security researcher or SEO consultant, you've likely looked at a website and wondered 'what CMS is this website using'? There are several ways to check the technology of a website, which we'll explore in detail.
The easy way
To instantly find out what CMS, framework or ecommerce platform a website is using, install the Wappalyzer browser extension. The extension automatically checks pages you visit and reveals the technologies the website is built with. Click on any category or technology for more insights, such as market share and the top websites using a specific CMS.
Alternatively, you can use the online technology lookup, which requires no installation. Results are usually instant and more in-depth information is displayed alongside the list of identified technologies. If you're performing market research for a software product, the technology lookup is a great way to identify potential customers.
The hard way
Find out if a website is using WordPress
WordPress sites can usually be identified by looking at the website's source code. Out of the box, the CMS conveniently adds a meta tag explicitly mentioning the name and version of the CMS. All you need to do is right-click the page, click 'view page source' and search the HTML for the generator meta tag.
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 4.9.8" />
The tag is used by other platforms as well, making it a good first thing to look for when trying to determine which CMS is being used.
Find out if a website is using Shopify
Shopify is a popular ecommerce solution that makes it easy to set up an online store. Websites using Shopify often use a shopify.io subdomain, making the platform easy to identify. However, professional websites will often use a custom domain.
Find out what web server or CDN a website is using
Web servers and CDNs can often be identified by inspecting HTTP headers. When you navigate to a web page, both the request and response include headers containing additional information such as content type or cookies.
To see the headers of a page, open the developer tools and click on the 'Network' tab. Now refresh the page to see all the network requests. In this case we only care about the very first request, which is the page itself. The requests that follow are to load resources such as images and scripts. When you click the first request, you'll see a section with response headers. Often there will be a header called 'server', exposing the name of the web server (e.g. Apache or Nginx) or CDN (e.g. CloudFlare, Akamai or CloudFront).
There are many different ways to find out what CMS or framework is used on a given website. By far the easiest way is to use a technology checker like Wappalyzer but it's possible to do it by hand.
You can use the Wappalyzer APIs to add technology lookups to your own project or website. Or, if you want to create a list of websites using a certain technology, have a look at Wappalyzer's lead lists.