I’m a huge fan of WordPress. I’ve been using it for years and I’ve always been able to do what I want to with the platform. It’s such a flexible, adaptive Content Management System and is used across the world by big websites and tiny blogs. I recommend it to all my design clients and it’s what I run my own website on. But, how do you tell if a website is run on WordPress? Of course, if you are the designer or owner of a site you should know, but beyond that, how can you tell if any website out there is run on WordPress or not?
Sometimes it’s easy to tell with smaller blogs and websites. But, larger sites sometimes take security precautions to hide the fact that they are using WordPress, and make it difficult for hackers to find the login panel. Sometimes larger sizes customize their design so much that it hides all evidence that WordPress is there at all. While some of these methods are simpler and may not always work, some of them are more complex. If you use all of them together then you should be able to find an answer, regardless of how big a website is.
Login and Admin
On a normal WordPress site, to login you just add /wp-login or /wp-admin to the URL. This brings you to the login screen where you can put in your username and password to access the site’s admin dashboard. This also means that you should be able to tell if a site is run on WordPress by adding these to any URL. The only problem is that larger more complicated sites sometimes change the route of their admin so that only their staff and authorized users know how to access it, so this doesn’t always work.
Use a tool like Firefox to view the source of a website. Look at the path that the files are coming from. If there is a folder name like wp-content or wp- something, that means the site is using WordPress. You can also try searching the source code for ‘WordPress’ and if it shows up anywhere, it’s run on WordPress. Again, the problem is that larger more complicated sites sometimes change the route of certain folders and delete the typical WordPress information from their files so that you can’t see how they are built.
Third Party Tools
There are many sites out there that can attempt to tell you how a website is built and whether it’s using a content management system like WordPress. One popular tool is Built With. It tells you tonnes of information about any URL you enter like who the site is hosted with, what email services they are using, and what content management system they use.
Chrome Sniffer is an extension that you can easily download and add on to your Chrome browser. Then, as you visit certain websites, icons appear in the address bar to tell you what systems are being used on a particular site. You can tell if a site is using WordPress because the WordPress ‘W’ icon will appear.
The default WordPress footer includes a line saying that the site is Powered by WordPress. Of course, most websites will remove this footer to add in their own information, but it’s a very simple place to look to start off with, especially on smaller sites.
If you right click on an image and copy the address, and then paste it somewhere else to see what the URL string actually is, sometimes wp-content will be part of the standard string. This is a great way to tell if a site is using WordPress because wp-content is unique to WordPress. Of course, there is again a chance that larger sites will change their image strings so that wp-content is no longer there.