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.
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.
wp Theme Detector is a web-based service to detect themes and plugins. It provides some additional information including:
- The theme’s description
- statistics about the provider
- additional information about the site you searched for
- child 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
What WordPress Theme Is That
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
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
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
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.
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. Chrome and Firefox 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.
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.
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 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.
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 users. 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.
Why use a theme detector?
A them detector is great to find out how a site you like is designed.
What kind of theme detectors are there?
You can find both SaaS-based online services and browser extensions.
Are these just for WordPress?
In addition to WordPress there are detectors available that identify Drupal and other CMS's themes.
What about plugins?
Many of the SaaS-based theme detectors will also identify the plugins being used.
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.