Need to Find the CMS a Site Uses?

CMS, for the uninitiated, means content management system. WordPress is a CMS. Joomla is a CMS. A static HTML site is not a CMS. Any web application that makes it easy to create, store, organize and publish media to the web is a content management system. But how do you know what CMS a website is using?

Or, as you might be asking, why would you want to know what CMS a site is using?

If you’re asking “Why?” you can save yourself a bit of time and skip this post because if you don’t know then you don’t need to know. Please browse the rest of the JournalXtra to dig out something you do need to know.

As a web developer I often need to find out whether someone uses WordPress, Joomla or another CMS. This is because I like to know the technology behind a site before I approach a company to say I can build a better site. Sometimes I’m just curious because I like a site (Yes, I’m a geek).

I could just ask a site’s webmaster which CMS is in use but not all are friendly enough to reveal their secrets. This is understandable. Hackers fingerprint sites because it helps them pinpoint security vulnerabilities.

Thanks to innovation and need, there are tools we can use to detect the software a site’s built with.

How to Quickly Determine a Site’s CMS

All you need is the site’s URL and one or more of the following tools.

Online CMS Detectors

These are also called web app detectors and web technology detectors. I prefer the first of these.


Just open them up and paste a site’s URL into a search box to find whether it’s built with WordPress, Joomla or something else.

Offline CMS Detection

A couple of offline tools can be used to fingerprint sites. The most recommended one is nmap:

Get Someone Else to Do It

There is a wiki of web apps used by various websites. Visit the link below and ask the guys to fingerprint the site for you.

Browser Plugin

I recommend one browser plugin for checking the technology used to serve sites. Wappalyzer detects frameworks, content management systems, web stores, scripts and…

Over to You

Suggestions and comments welcome. Use the form below to let us know how you workout what a site’s built with.

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