Top 12 WordPress Theme and Plugin Detectors – from BuiltWith to WhatTheme

Why Use a Theme Detector

Ever see a website whose design you love. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what theme they are using? Are competitors’ offers converting better, maybe their theme has a better layout for your target audience? Developing your own theme from scratch but like some features of a few themes? There are lots of reasons to see what theme another website is using. I am often just curious as much as anything.

Top WordPressTheme Detectors

We looked at all of the theme and plugin detectors available and came up with our list of ten detectors. They generally come in two forms. The first is an online application. A software as a service (saas) offering. These are typically free but a few have some premium features you can subscribe to. The second type of theme detectors are browser extensions. Just turn them on in your browser and visit the site in question. Click on the icon in your extension bar and voila – theme and CMS info.

The final area we looked at was CMS detector. Sometimes we get so involved with WordPress we forget there are many other CMS options. If your target site does not have any WordPress information available try these tools to check for other CMS platforms. If you still have no results, a completely custom or flat html site is likely.

Online Detectors

The online detectors all generally operate the same way. Put in the domain name you are curious about and the tool will go off and retrieve the site information and try to de-code what theme a site is using. Some variables include: does it recognize child themes, does it get the plugins being used. If a child theme does it report the parent theme.

Browser Extension

Browser extensions are great when you are doing some research and want to check a number of sites quickly. Just install the extension and enable it. When you go to any site it will now tell you the theme being used.

CMS Detectors

If WordPress is not recognized by the theme and plugin detector try these tools to see what CMS they may be using.

WPThemeDetector

wpThemeDetector

wp Theme Detector is a web-based service to detect themes and plugins. It provides some additional information including:

  • The theme’s description
  • tag
  • license
  • statistics about the provider
  • additional information about the site you searched for
  • child theme

What Theme

What Theme claims to be the most advanced CMS and theme detection tool. They work with many CMS frameworks including WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Shopify, Ghost, Blogger, Tumblr, Big Cartel, Magento.

For WordPress site’s it shows details about the theme including:

  • Theme URL
  • Author
  • Version
  • License
  • Tags
  • Description
what Theme detector

What WordPress Theme Is That

whatwpThemeisthat

Another online tool to detect what WordPress theme a site uses. It works with both parent and child themes. It reports:

  • Parent Theme
  • Child Theme
  • Plugins

This works only with WordPress.

Satori Studios

An online tool to detect what WordPress theme a site uses. It works with both parent and child themes. It reports:

  • Parent Theme
  • Child Theme

This works only with WordPress. It is able to work with websites which are using CSS minification plugins.

Satori Theme Detector
Is It WP

One of our favorite tools to detect what WordPress theme a site uses. It works with both parent and child themes. IsitWP was the only tool to get past hide-wp. It reports:

  • Parent Theme
  • Child Theme
  • Plugins

This works only with WordPress.

Built With

Built With is an entire marketing and sales platform for finding information about a websites technology platform. The WordPress detection is a free service. The premium services from Built With can be used for lead generation and sales intelligence. Build lists of websites based on web technologies. Sort prospects by shopping carts, a particular CMS, location, traffic, industry and more.

Built With Detector

Chrome and Firefox Theme Detector Extensions

These extensions are added to your browser. When you visit a site you can click on the logo and you will get WordPress theme information

WP Sniffer

WPSniffer is a Chrome extension providing information about the WordPress configuration a site is using. The icon turns orange when it identifies a WordPress site. Press the icon and presto. It also links to a Google results page with information about the theme.

 

wpSniffer Chrome Extension
wordpress Chrome Extension

Detects the theme and plugins used in a WordPress installation. Like most of these tools, the detection takes place on a remote server with results routed to your browser.

scanWP

ScanWP has an online free detector service and a Chrome extension. When activated, an orange WordPress logo will be added to your browser. When visiting a site that was built with WordPress you press the logo to get information about the WordPress install.

scan wp Chrome Extension

CMS Detectors

Yes, many sites use WordPress but not all of them! These tools will detect what CMS and frameworks are being used. Both of these tools worked perfectly. They both detected the WordPress and Drupal sites. They both detected the site blocked with wp-hide plugin.

What CMS

WhatCMS.org can detect 393 different CMS frameworks. It will also allow you to enter a specific url to see if a different CMS is used in a subdomain etc.

They have a Firefox addon and Chrome extension.

what cms

CMS Detect

cms detetct

CMS Detect is able to detect websites built with the 46 CMS’ and frameworks.

There is also a CMS Detect Chrome extension that you can use as you browse.

Testing Results

We tested all of the tools on five different websites. Our test suite included:

  1. A site we control and know the theme, plugins, JS libraries, host etc. A control site.
  2. A WordPress site with wp -hide plugin running to test the blocking abilities.
  3. A site running Drupal
  4. An international dual language site
  5. A site running WordPress with a custom theme

For the cms tester, we found that both worked flawlessly and identified all sites CMS including the one running wp-hide.

Wickedgoodwriters has the hide-wpi plugin installed. It will test the theme and plugin detectors ability to circumvent basic CMS cloaking. The HideWP settings are set to the defaults for the “medium” setting.

Sitename/URLTheme InfoPlugin Info
BuiltWithCMS no theme infoYes 7 plugins
What Themeblockedblocked
WP Theme Detectorblockedblocked
Satori Studiosblockedblocked
ScanWPblockedblocked
What WP Theme Is Thatblockedblocked
Is It WPfound cms and themeYes 5
EXTENSIONS
Scan Wpblockedblocked
WP Theme Detectorblockedblocked
WP Snifferblockedblocked

Prosociate is one of our portfolio sites. We sell WordPress plugins and provide services for affiliate marketers. This site was selected to be a control. It uses Divi, a child theme and has 17 active plugins.

Sitename/URLTheme InfoPlugin Info
BuiltWithTheme and CMSYes 9 plugins
What ThemeTheme and CMSNo
WP Theme DetectorTheme and CMSYes 8
Satori StudiosTheme and CMSNo
ScanWPTheme and CMSYes 9
What WP Theme Is ThatTheme and CMSYes 8
Is It WPTheme and CMSYes 4
EXTENSIONS
Scan WpTheme and CMSYes 1
WP Theme Detectorno theme infoYes 7
WP SnifferTheme and CMSYes 8

Phuong Architecture is located in Asia and has dual language support.

Sitename/URLTheme InfoPlugin Info
BuiltWithTheme and CMSYes 6 plugins
What ThemeTheme and CMSNo
WP Theme DetectorTheme and CMSNo
Satori StudiosTheme and CMSNo
ScanWPTheme and CMSNo
What WP Theme Is ThatTheme and CMSNo
Is It WPTheme and CMSNo
EXTENSIONS
Scan WpTheme and CMSNo
WP Theme DetectorNo Theme InfoYes 1
WP SnifferTheme and CMSNo

Mattel is a drupal site. Just to throw a curve ball at the tools.

Sitename/URLTheme InfoPlugin Info
BuiltWithYes DrupalYes many detected
What ThemeYes DrupalNo
WP Theme DetectorReported not WordPressNo
Satori StudiosReported not WordPressNo
ScanWPReported not WordPress link to CMS DetectNo
What WP Theme Is ThatReported as DrupalNo
Is It WPReported not WordPressNo
EXTENSIONS
Scan Wpblockedblocked
WP Theme Detectorblockedblocked
WP Snifferblockedblocked

Is a generic WordPress site with a custom theme.

Sitename/URLTheme InfoPlugin Info
BuiltWithTheme, CMS, Javascript libraries.Yes 9 plugins
What ThemeTheme and CMSNo
WP Theme DetectorCMS plus theme and link to designerYes 6
Satori StudiosCMS and standard Theme infono
ScanWPCMS plus ThemeYes 6
What WP Theme Is ThatCMS and ThemeYes 5
Is It WPCMS and ThemeYes 3
EXTENSIONS
Scan WpCMS and ThemeYes 6
WP Theme DetectorCMS and ThemeYes 5
WP SnifferCMS and ThemeYes 5

Can you Hide from Theme Detectors

Now that you see the data available to your competitors, maybe you want to hide some of it. You can easily hide your theme information by editing the css for the child theme. This will fool the simplest of tools.There are plugins available to do completely hide your WordPress install on a sitewide basis. We found hide-wp the easiest to use and free. wp-hide will be editing your .htaccess file. Always do a keyfile and full backup before setting up these types of plugins. Your WordPress default directories will change as will your login. They will also be using rewrite rules and could have an impact on the performance of your site. This may be more administrative trouble than the value of hiding your WordPress information.

wp-hide

Conclusions

The theme detector tools run the full gambit. Some are very simple and appear to simply extract the theme inf from the default CSS file. Others like Built With are so thorough as to be a bit scary. I am not sure I want that much information about my site available. I am sure in a corporate setting I would not. There is little reason to use the simplest tools.

If you are looking for ideas, “how did they do that” answers, or just plain curious then IsiIWP did a nice job and was the only tool to get best the default settings on hide-wp. Scan Wp also was a reliable tool and has both online and Chrome extension versions.

The browser extensions were very handy when I was in research mode though the information is less complete and it is easy to just have a window open to an online tool and drop in the site to examine.

If I were selling IT services and products I would use Built With before every sales call.

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