How to Find Out if a Site is Using WordPress

Let’s start this post with an interesting fact: WordPress is THE most popular website management system of today. As much as 25% of all new sites are built on WordPress. There are virtually millions of WordPress sites, blogs, e-commerce stores, magazines, product sites, corporate sites, etc. WordPress is, quite literally, all over the place.

Now, down to business… There’s a number of methods to check if some new site you’ve stumbled upon is built with WordPress or not. In this guide, I’m going to show you all of them (well, at least the ones I know of).

But first.

Why would you even want to know?

Nowadays, WordPress has become one of internet’s standards. If a site is built with WordPress this means that it has high-quality backend, certain level of functionality and optimization.

If you’re a web developer, or a WordPress enthusiast, or a future website owner then there are many reason why you’d want to know if a site is built with WordPress or not.

For instance:

  • Just out of curiosity. For example, imagine that you stumble upon an incredibly interactive site that uses a lot of animations and JavaScript tricks. Don’t you want to know if creating such a site with WordPress is even possible…?
  • To find a given functionality. When you find an interesting feature on a site, and then verify that the site is running on WordPress then there’s a good probability that the feature is delivered by a plugin. In such a case you can get the plugin as well, and have the same feature.
  • To find a given theme. Just like described above, only this time it’s about themes.
  • To find a WordPress designer/developer. If you’re planning to launch a site soon and you are searching for a developer, you probably want a good one. When you find an interesting site, first you can make sure that it’s built with WordPress and then reach out to the developer (there’s usually a link in the footer).

There are probably a dozen other possible reasons (everyone has a different story) so let me stop here and get down to business explaining all the “hows” instead of “whys.”

How to check if a site is running on WordPress

Let’s start with the easiest methods and then shift to the more complicated ones (yet still pretty simple).

“Powered by WordPress”

Bear with me, I know it’s the most obvious method out there, but I just want to keep this guide as complete as possible.

This trick is very simple. Just go to the footer of the site you’re spying on and search for a piece of text like “Powered by WordPress” or something similar.

Readme.html

Some WordPress installations have the default readme file enabled. This file provides all the basic information about the site’s version of WordPress and some instructions on how to work with the WordPress platform (from an administrator’s point of view).

To find the file just go to:

http://domain.com/readme.html

wp-admin

As you surely know, every WordPress site has an admin area. By default, this admin area can be found at:

http://domain.com/wp-admin/

If such a page exists then you’re dealing with WordPress. You can also try:

http://domain.com/wp-login.php

Now, some sites have hidden their admin panels, so even if the above URLs return 404 errors this doesn’t mean that the site isn’t running on WordPress.

“Generator” tag

Some default installations of WordPress display an additional meta tag in their <head> sections. The tag looks something like this:


<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 4.5" />

You can see it by displaying the source of any given page (in your web browser).

By the way, if you want to remove this tag from your site, you can do so by adding this line to your functions.php file:


remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator');

External tools

Not surprisingly, there are some external tools you can use here. I, personally, recommend two of them:

BuiltWith

Just input the address of the site you’re spying on and you’ll get a report containing a lot more details than just whether the site is using WordPress or not.

I encourage you to spy on your own site this way, for example. I guarantee you’ll find a couple of interesting things and details you might not be aware of.

What WordPress Theme Is That?

Another simply spying tool. Just input the URL and you’ll get a short report about a given site and, most importantly in this case, its theme.

If you’re not dealing with a WordPress site, you’ll just get a quick message like this:

domain.com does not appear to be a WordPress site

Web browser extensions

Apart from some online tools you can also make things a bit quicker and use a web browser extension instead.

These two, for example:

Source code spying

If, for some reason, you still didn’t find out what you were looking for, and want to continue your research, you can use this final method.

View the source code of the site and search for mentions of “wp-content” or “wp-uploads.”

A WordPress site will link to wp-content and wp-uploads directories on various occasions. For instance, when displaying images, or fetching theme files. In essence, if a site is referencing either of these directories, it has to be running on WordPress.

What’s your take here, do you know of any other cool ways of checking if a site is built with WordPress?

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