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5 Ways to Tell if a Site is Built in Drupal

One of the most common questions we get at Drupal beginner classes is, "How can I tell if a site is built in Drupal?"

We get that question because it's just not possible to know the answer without a few tips and tricks.

If you look at a website such as WhiteHouse.gov, there is no way of telling if it's built Drupal. The design of a site is completely independent from the platform it uses.

We're going to give you 5 ways to tell if a site is built in Drupal. Not all of these suggestions will work on all Drupal sites, but taken together they should give you a clear answer.

Option #1. Check the Source Code

One of the most reliable ways to show if a site is using Drupal is to check the source code.

Checking the Drupal source code

In the source code, check to see if important files are being loaded from the /sites/ folder. This identifies all Drupal sites, except for Drupal 8. This example is taken from WhiteHouse.gov:

Checking the Drupal source code

If you find a Drupal 8 site, you will see files loading from the /core/ folder. This screenshot is taken from Dries' site at http://buytaert.net:

Source code on Dries website

You can also search the source code for the words "Drupal", which will identify any version of Drupal:

Searching the Drupal source code for the word Drupal

You can also search the source code for the names of key modules such as "Views", "Panels" or "CCK":

Searching the Drupal source code for keywords

Option #2. Try to access certain files

Some sites may remove this file or block access to it, but if you CHANGELOG.txt to a site's URL, you can often find useful information about the site. For example, view https://drupal.org/CHANGELOG.txt and you can tell that Drupal.org is still running Drupal 7.

Drupal 7 changelog

Other files that you can do this with include:

  • /misc/drupal.js
  • /misc/druplicon.png

For example:

Option #3. Visit the User URLs

One common identifier of Drupal sites are the URLs for user pages.

The URLs /user/ and /user/password and /user/register/ are commonly used to allow people to login, recover their password or register.

For example, here's https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/user


Option #4. Check websites

There are websites that can try and identify the technology behind websites. http://builtwith.com is one of the most popular sites that does this:

Checking Builtwith for Drupal

It correctly identifies WhiteHouse.gov as using Drupal:

Checking Builtwith for whitehouse.gov

There's also the very logically named http://isthissitebuiltwithdrupal.com:

Checking isthissitebuiltwithdrupal.com

That site gives very logical and clear answer

isthissitebuiltwithdrupal.com results

Option #5. Check the Expires header

An expires header is the most geeky way to check for Drupal sites. Web servers use an expires header to tell the client how long a component can be cached. Use a site such as http://web-sniffer.net to check your site:

Using a websniffer on a Drupal site

And in the results, look for the Expires date. You're looking for Sun, 19 Nov 1978 05:00:00 GMT. What is special about 19 Nov 1978? It's the birthday of Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal.

websniffer results a Drupal site

About the author

Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.