5 Ways to Tell if a Site is Built in Drupal

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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. 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. He was a teacher for many years before starting OSTraining. Steve wrote the best-selling Drupal and Joomla books.