Have you ever wondered what kind of theme an elegant website is using? Or perhaps you want to add the same kind of functionality a certain site has to your own? For example, you may wish to have the feature that, when you click an image, it pops out on its own. The first thing you need to know is whether they are using WordPress or not. If they are, we might be able to determine what kind of theme and/or plugins they are using.
There are several ways to tell whether a website is using WordPress or not. One of the first things we should do is to find the phrase: “Proudly Powered by WordPress” or something similar. Most of the time, it is located in the footer or at the bottom of a web page and might look like this.
However, most websites tend to hide this, so if you couldn’t find it, don’t give up yet and head towards the next step: checking the source code.
Checking the Source Code to Determine if a Website Uses WordPress
In the PC world, most modern web browsers have the shortcut CTRL + U to view a web page’s source code. Otherwise, you can do this: right click > view source. You will either see a cleanly coded HTML, a messed-up HTML, or a minified HTML. It can be hard to read, but that is not our concern. What we need to do is to find strings related to WordPress. Use the “find” function of your browser (most of the time it is CTRL or COMMAND + F) and look for words such as “wp-content,” “wp-includes,” “wp,” and “WordPress”.
You can also try visiting the wp-admin or wp-login page, but be aware that some sites hide these URLs for security purposes. You can also try accessing /wp-content/ and /wp-includes/ URLs. If either of them returns a blank white page or a 403 forbidden error, then they are most likely using WordPress. In some cases, you might even see the actual contents of their wp-content or wp-includes folder.
Another way you can use to find out if a site is using WordPress is by using online tools or a browser extension. The following websites will tell you whether a site uses WordPress or another CMS:
- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/library-sniffer-for-googl/fhhdlnnepfjhlhilgmeepgkhjmhhhjkh?hl=en (Library Sniffer Extension for Google Chrome)
Once you’ve found out that a website is using WordPress, then we may be able to determine what kind of themes and plugins the website uses. So, let’s get started!
There are several ways to find it out. You can either use an online tool or view the source code manually. For best results, you should try both to make your findings as accurate as possible.
Using Online Tools
The following online tools can help you:
They might return different results, so it’s best to use all three of them and compare their results. In addition, some of them might not detect some plugins while the other can. If you know other online tools, you can try them as well to make your research as thorough and accurate as possible.
Viewing the Source Code
Aside from using online tools, you can also view the source code. Head over to the site and view its source code. I’ve explained above how to do it. Now that you have the source code open, we’re going to find its theme.
Press CTRL or COMMAND + F on your keyboard and look for the word “CSS.” You will get a number of results. Look for CSS files that are inside the “…wp-content/themes” directory:
As you can see from the image above, there are 25 “CSS” strings found and I had to scroll down a bit to find a CSS file that is inside “wp-content/themes/throne-child/” – note that what’s important is that it should be inside wp-content/themes/.
From the file name alone, we can infer that the theme this website is using is called “Throne” and is probably a child theme. To confirm it, let’s click the CSS’s URL. The theme’s CSS file contains information about the theme itself, like the one below:
And we are correct! It’s a theme called Throne Child and is obviously a child theme of Throne. We can also see other information about the theme such as the theme URI, description, author, version, etc.
The plugins, on the other hand, can be a bit more complicated to find. In fact, you might not be able to see each and every plugin a website is using, but it’s guaranteed you will be able to see some of them. All you need to do is to view the source code and then use your browser’s find feature and look for the word “plugin” and, hopefully, you’ll find what you were looking for.
Take note that different pages load different plugin files, so you might have to scour through different pages and view what plugins are loaded on each page to make sure that you find what you are looking for.
There is a hidden trick that only a few know how to use, and if you are reading this (of course are), then count yourself in as one of the few with this kind of wisdom.
Using this method, we will also be able to instantly determine if a website is using WordPress! This requires the latest version of Google Chrome. Although some other browsers also have this feature, Chrome’s version of it is the best. If you haven’t downloaded Google Chrome yet, click this link to download and install it.
On Google Chrome, open your target website and wait for it to fully load. If possible, use a default Chrome profile using default settings and without extensions installed to prevent any kind of interference (some chrome extensions block or alter some functionalities and resources of a website). I recommend using the Guest profile for this, which you can access by clicking on the profiles menu and choosing Guest:
Now that you are all set and ready, press the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+I. You will see Chrome DevTools open up either on the side or at the bottom of your browser screen. Navigate to the Sources tab and voila!
As we can see from the example site above, it immediately showed us that it’s a WordPress site because it has the folders “wp-admin,” “wp-content,” and “wp-includes.” To find out what theme is being used, click on the “wp-content” folder to expand it and then click “themes.”
Now we instantly see that this website is using the “Customizr” theme, which is a very popular free WordPress theme. Now, I bet you know where to find the plugins. Click on the “plugins” folder to expand it and you will be able to see the names of all loaded plugins in the particular page.
And there we go! We can easily and instantly see what plugins are loaded in this site’s homepage. Try loading other pages, as some sites have the same plugins loaded in all of its pages while some sites have different plugins loaded on different pages. So if you didn’t find the plugin you’re looking for at the first try, load a different web page.