It's a lazy Wednesday afternoon, and while you're making some research to fixing some issue yourself, or looking at your competitors, you stumble upon a website that grabs your attention. It could be also the case for that smooth pop-up animation coming up, or that specific subscription form right after the blog post for example. Anything that might appeal to your taste and needs falls here.

In that precise moment, you ask yourself: "What WordPress theme is that? And what plugins are they using here?", I bet this sounds like something you've said in your life, at least once. We all did, human beings are curious creatures.

Today it's time to finally get an answer here, it's about time: how do you find out what WordPress theme is a target website using? How about its plugins: what are those running under the hood?

Well, here's how! Plus I tested some of the well-known tools and Chrome extensions to gather such info: keep reading and you'll find out my take on them.

Remember that the following tips only work for ready-made themes and off-the-shelf plugins. Any custom design and custom developed plugins might fall out the scope of your research.

How to identify what WordPress theme a website is running by checking the source code

If you wish to know what WordPress theme is a given website using, checking the source code is the best way to find it out. Here are all the needed steps you should take to accomplish that:

css-style-file
  • Visit the desired website with your browser
  • Right-click anywhere on the page and select "Inspect" to get the specific source code of that page
  • Look for the CSS file, usually called style.css and normally located in /wp-content/themes folder. To do it easily: just click cmd + F on Mac or ctrl+F on Windows and type "style.css"
  • Double click and copy the whole link in which the style.css is located in a new tab/window on your browser (see the image above)
  • You should now be on the style file with the name of WordPress theme right at the top, like this:
info about wp theme

It doesn't matter if you aren't a coder, a developer or a web designer. The important thing here to understand is to locate the style.css file and find its URL via the source code view, so you're able to get to know its name and do some research on Google.

How to find what WordPress plugins a website is using by checking the source code

When it comes to finding out what WordPress plugins is a site using there's no much difference, it's just a little harder and in some cases you won't be able to list all the plugins that are running in a quick way. When looking for plugins a given WordPress website is using, you need to shoot the source code view up again and take one of the following actions (at least):

Via the "Sources" tab in your browser

list of plugins

How to do that:

  • Navigate to the Sources tab to get the structure of the target website
  • Click the arrow next to the wp-content folder
  • If that's the case, click the arrow next to plugins folder

And Voilà!

Look for Class name and IDs with specific elements

Source code for specific plugin

How to do that:

  • Just right-click on a single element of the page you like, for example, a nice opt-in form (like the example here)
  • Look for ID= or Class= and take notes about what's coming after either of them
  • Google those occurrences to find out the plugin that is enabling that neat feature

Voilà, indeed.

Via HTML comments

html comments

How to do that:

With the source view enabled, look for the green lines of code, i.e. HTML comments, and you'll likely find the plugin name without googling anything.

Voilà, all-around.

Third-party websites to automatically list WordPress themes and plugins on a target website

The Matrix

I know HTML code could look scary to many and let them feel they're in the Matrix (btw we all are). Even if the above tips would work with people just executing on them without the need for them to acknowledge what they're actually doing, there are tools that might come in handy here.

Yes, instead of looking up the code, there are several online tools build to "sniff out" what theme is that and also what plugins are running behind it, together with some useful information about a target website.

Please consider that detected plugins are related to the specific URL of your scanning. Also, some of them will hardly show up with these tools, like those affecting your admin for example.

Comparing the 5 most used online tools to find out automatically what WordPress theme and plugins a website is running

Here are the 5 most used automatic tools to gather information about a desired website. They're easy to use, you just paste the URL in their search bar:

1. WhatWPThemeIsThat

whatwpthemeisthat

2. WP Theme Detector

wpthemedetector

3. WP Theme Detector - SEO tools

WordPress theme detector seo tools

4. What Theme

What theme

5. ScanWP

ScanWp

6. Noteworthy: BuiltWith

BuiltWith

Even if it's not WordPress-focused, BuiltWith is able to gather a lot of useful information for those who're doing some extensive research, for example, on which solutions their competitors are using. Specifically, when running a query for any given website through BuiltWith, you're getting some interesting data like Analytics and Tracking, JavaScript Libraries, and Web Server, just to name a few.

How automated tools' results stack up one another?

I run some tests with 4 different websites just to have some variety: I picked two websites about WordPress news and tutorials, one from a well-known and respected WordPress entrepreneur like Chris Lema (btw, you know Chris is one of our ambassador? Check what he says about us) and one from a tool we love here at Codeable, namely Trello.

Also, I'd like to point out I tested a single blog post page rather than their homepage with each of the selected websites on all of the tools here covered.

Based on my tests, the main differences here have to do with how quickly the results are shown to the user, being the number of detected plugins pretty close one another. Here's a spreadsheet with the results.

If I'd ever need to pick a winning solution for those looking to gather the more info in the fastest way, it'd sure be a combo of two because they both seems to provide consistent results plus they provide some others besides that might be even "juicier". Thus...

The winning solution with automated tools: WP Theme Detector + BuiltWith

But such online tools aren't the only ones used to gather information about themes and plugins. There are also some Chrome extensions that pop up when you do some research, and I tried the three most used ones. See how they did.

3 well-known Chrome extensions to find out what WordPress themes and installed plugins a website is running

1. WordPress Theme and Plugins Detector

WordPress-Theme-Plugins-Detector

This extension simply doesn't work and can't get you anything useful back. Plus this recent review perfectly makes the point:

WP-Theme-Plugins-Detector-review

My comment: No bueno.

2. WpSniffer

WP Sniffer

This extension was supposed to gather and show information about the theme and hosting provider used by the target WordPress website, but it didn't show any of the hosting info for any of my test samples.

My comment: ¿Qué pasa?

3. PageXray

PageXRay

When trying this extension, I was able to get all the plugins only from one website, specifically from WP Tavern, so it didn't stand out. Plus, reading at some comments online looks like it's no longer supported.

My comment: ¡Ay, ¡Ay, ¡Ay

So if you're into Chrome extensions and think one of these might come in handy, just please read my winning solution first. Here it goes:

The winning solution about Chrome extensions: None! Stay away from browser extensions, at least for the time being.

Can I hide the fact that my website runs on WordPress and all plugins I use?

Before answering that question, let's just think about why you'd want to do that: is it because you think this way nobody, mostly hackers, wouldn't be able to detect your website is WordPress-based? If that's the case, just understand that "Security from obscurity" isn't the best option for improving your security.

Also, please consider that you won't be able to hide all these information literally unless you spend a lot of time rewriting a gazillion lines of code, or hire some (crazy) developer to do that for you. Anyway if you're still interested in hiding information and details about the fact that your website is running on WordPress, you should give a premium plugin called Hide My WP a try.

Wrapping things up

Before someone goes berserk on me, let me just point out that automated tools aren't the best way to find out about a theme or plugins for a target website, yet they still make sense. With a fast adoption rate like WordPress is living, such tools focused and built for people who don't have any knowledge about code whatsoever are silently and quickly earning more attention than we'd think. And this proves automated tools aren't completely useless. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Many WordPress users who are either getting their first steps with this CMS, or are non-tech entrepreneurs, they all have better ways to gather and get acquainted with data that otherwise would have been unknown, improving their knowledge around WordPress and, in some case, enabling them to move forward with their business.Quality: The Codeable Differene

  • Stephen Stanbury

    Good article, thanks. I think this page highlights an important issue for the web designer/developer industry. I myself feel frustrated at the high level of developers who are using WordPress themes and passing them on as their own design.

    • Hey @stephenstanbury:disqus,
      you’re sharing what many other professional designers and developers feel. I’m neither of them, yet I totally agree with you: buying a ready-made theme, tweak it (sometimes just a little) and sell it as your creation doesn’t fall under the “web design/theme development” activity.

      I think this is also due to another common thing within the WordPress ecosystem: many calls themselves developers or web designers, when what they’re really doing is just buying theme off of third-party websites.

      • Stephen Stanbury

        Hi @matteoduo, I’ve lost count on how many prospective clients ask me why their website is under-performing, and when I tell them (tactfully) the website needs building properly they often lose interest and give up with websites all together, these business quite often go under not long after.

        I think educating business owners is the way ahead and hope this page goes some way to help people make well informed, rational decisions and hire a proper designer for a Short Term Loss but a Long Term Gain. :)

  • bunnny

    ?Good read, Matteo?

  • What about WappAlyer https://wappalyzer.com/?

    • Hey @AaronLutze:disqus,
      I left that out because it’s not WordPress-focused and it gathered data that fall beyond the scope of this post. Specifically, during my tests it never discovered any theme and it provided 2 plugins on average for each URL that I tested.

      • Good point. Will you write an article one day about ways people can mask their site being identified as a WordPress site to protect from hackers and such?

        • As I’ve written here in this article, hiding the fact that your website runs on WordPress isn’t something that improves your security. “Security through obscurity” can’t be a website owner’s way to handle the security of its website.

          There are plenty of tips about WordPress security, these are just the beginning: https://codeable.io/quick-wordpress-security-tips/

          To answer your question: I’m sure I’ll write other articles about how to make a WordPress website more secure, making it harder for hackers to “get in”, about other security tips, etc., but I unlikely see any of them covering ways to mask the fact the a website runs on WordPress because it’s not a matter of security.

  • Nicole

    Indeed, there’s lots of WordPress theme & plugins detector, but have you ever wonder if there’s a way to hide ? There’s a very way way, through a free plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-hide-security-enhancer/

  • Unnit Metaliya

    noW that is something useful. Thanks

  • At WPBeginner we have a page ‘WPBeginner’s Blueprint’ which has all the plugins and tools we use on the site. I like to read about plugins and tools people use on their sites particularly in their about page. This is how I found out Moveable Type and then later WordPress.

  • https://www.cuteseotools.net/wordpress-theme-detector
    We have same tool with other FREE SEO TOOLS Check and review sir.

  • I have a alternative tool WebTech Detector that will provide you all the details about plugins, along with the details of WordPress parent and child themes. Website CMS and other all technologies http://www.webtechdetector.com/

  • Asphalt Themes

    This is great list of wp theme detectors, Recently we published a blog post about WordPress theme detecting tools, It’s a comprehensive list of all the wp theme detecting tools available, you guys might wanna check this out – https://asphaltthemes.com/wordpress-theme-detector-tools/

  • can you tell me your blue live chat plugin

  • yaseen girach

    Really very helpful !

    And I managed to find out of the name of the WP Theme from a blog which I recently stalked.

    Thanks!

  • tec gram

    Nice article

  • tripcenter

    Hey Matteo, thanks for the piece! You can also consider adding Satori’s tool into the theme detector list: http://satoristudio.net/what-wordpress-theme/. It’s often more precise in terms of displaying the link to the official theme page. Cheers

  • even some of the plugins wont be shown in source code

  • I am unable to understand how to find which plugin is used by the other wp blog.

    Via the “Sources” tab in your browser

    I didn’t understood that point.

    • Guru

      Use Chrome browser, select “Developer Tools” option OR simply press F12.

  • ducatista

    Hi there – thank you for this handy tool but I wanted to mention none of the above tools worked for finding out the WordPress site theme I was trying to identify – they all identified that the site was in fact using WordPress, but that it was either a customized or proprietary theme and couldn’t identify the specific theme name.

    My solution was to reverse engineer by applying a search to two of my own WP blogs. The result was that if you right click anywhere on the blog page and select “View Page Source” (on a Mac) and then do a search for “Get theme”, you will find the name of the theme in the “<script type=" section! It will look like this in the code (in quotes): Get theme: (Theme name here but not in parens)

    Hope that helps for any who were having trouble like myself – a designer with only the most basic understanding of html and css!

  • Andrew Sh

    All this methods not working, if website optimized for PageSpeed (all styles/scripts joined into one file). Unfortunatelly, only bruteforcing give you the highest result.

  • Nice article to check your competitor WordPress website/blog theme.

  • Brian Harris

    Awesome round! It would be awesome if you could mention SF ThemeDetector(https://www.softwarefindr.com/tools/themedetector/) our free detection tool. Let me know if you have any questions.

    – Brian