How to figure out technologies used to create and manage a website

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by booyahbooyah, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. booyahbooyah, Dec 6, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

    booyahbooyah macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011
    The problem today is the problem of plenty. There are too many technologies out there.

    I'm doing some research on what technologies certain sites use... so that I have a good idea of the landscape before launching some websites of my own.

    There are development acceleration tools such as Joomla, Drupad, Insoshi, Word Press, etc... and I want to know if these sites are using such tools.

    I'm also interested in understanding the platforms being used to host these sites (e.g. LAMP stack, etc.), and the hosting providers (e.g. Amazon AWS, etc.).

    Finally, I'm curious about the language family being used to enable some of the "beyond HTML" functionality -- e.g. PHP, Ruby etc...

    At the moment, the specific sites I'm interested in are:

    Can you explain to me how to analyze these sites so I can arrive at answers to these questions? I know one has to look at the page source code... but it's not clear to me how to interpret it.

    Also --- is there a general term that encompasses what I'm talking about above? I'm sure this question has been asked on the web before, and I can simply google for it using this term.

  2. jsm4182, Dec 6, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

    jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2006
    Beacon, NY
    When I'm figuring out what CMS a site is using I look at some of the tags in the <head>. Joomla is one of the easiest to identify, theres usually a meta tag saying what version of Joomla is being used. For Wordpress and Drupal I look at the file paths for the files linked in the head. If "wp" is used a lot in the file paths its Wordpress. Drupal is a little tricker, I wouldn't have figured it out if I wasn't a Drupal developer, if the drupal site has css aggregation turned off, there will be a lot of css files, the last few would start with the path "/sites/all/themes/", if css aggregation is on there are far fewer css files, and the path starts with "/sites/default/files/css/". This isn't 100% reliable, developers that heavily customize the CMS may change some of these.

    After working with these systems for a while you also start to notice elements that stay the same across different sites using the same CMS. For a while there was a certain style of footer that was very common on Wordpress powered sites. A lot of drupal sites will use the default tabs on the login page.

    Theres a lot of more obscure systems that are harder to identify and a lot of big sites use proprietary systems. Of the four sites you mentioned the only one that can be easily identified this way is And as many Macrumors members can tell you, the forum is powered by vbulletin and the home page is some custom work.
  3. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2003
    Try this. Sites using Wordpress have a dashboard that can accessed by adding "/wp-admin" to the end of the domain address:

    Of course you won't be able to login without correct ID & password but you'll know they use Wordpress and not some other software.
  4. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    That's easy; scroll down to the button of this page and you see what our Admins using ... And assume some custom development/customization on top.
  5. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    I suggest searching for keywords "analyze technology stack".

    I did and found a great link I think you should check out:

    FYI - I consider a trusted and key Web resource.

    Here is a snippet from that web site:

    I also recommend using Web Developer plugins for Chrome or Firefox which can help you find out details on sites in tremendous granularity.

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