Wappalyzer

Peek Inside Websites with Wappalyzer

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Have you ever seen a beautiful website and wondered what technologies were used in creating and hosting it?

Well, that’s not easy to determine by simply looking at it. Neither does looking at the website’s source help much, although that may expose some libraries used in building the user interface.

Wappalyzer is a great tool to give you some visibility. Wappalyzer helps uncover the technologies on a website, ranging from web server to programming language—in just a click or two.

The tool is cross-platform and has a number of installation options available. Wappalyzer is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows via Docker; for Chrome and Firefox browsers as an extension; via npm; as a bookmarklet; and on the website to analyze a website in real time. You can check out the project on GitHub as well.

Deconstructing a site’s stack is not just for fun—There are some practical reasons. (For instance, you see a nice feature on a website you’d like to have on your own website but don’t know what was used in building it.) There are thousands, if not millions of JavaScript libraries out there running on webpages: Moment.js, Vue.js, Angular.js, Ember.js, PixiJS, Pdf.js, and virtually anything else ending with “js” (you get it). Identifying these technologies on a website may not be possible most of the time without looking at the page source (which may sometimes not be fun at all). However, with Wappalyzer installed, virtually all the technologies powering the website will be revealed: the content management system, programming language, web server, JavaScript frameworks, analytics tools, cache tool, tag manager, operating system, web framework, CDN, and other technologies.

Another way one might find the tool helpful is in testing for vulnerabilities, which may be useful to security experts. By exposing the technologies on a website, known vulnerabilities in any of the underlying technologies can be dealt with easily. Webmasters may find this extremely useful in maintaining their websites.

To see just how powerful the tool is, we will now analyze some popular sites.

Chrome users can find Wappalyzer on the web store; Firefox users will find it on the Add-ons page. The bookmarklet can be found on this site—Just drag and drop the bookmarklet to your bookmark toolbar. This is the installation procedure via Docker and npm: 

Now, I will use Wappalyzer to analyze the homepages of Apple, TechCrunch and HealthCare.gov. And these are the results:

 

There you go—The technologies used on the Apple, TechCrunch, and HealthCare.gov homepages. The same can be achieved via the command line if you have the tool installed from Docker.

Conclusion

Overall, the tool is  simple to use, and powerful. The next time you see a website or feature you’d love to have on your own website, think of Wappalyzer.

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Bruno is a junior at Ashesi University College studying Computer Science. He is interested in leveraging the power of technology to increase productivity. As a big fan of open source technology, he is currently exploring the possibility of using the Bitcoin Blockchain to fight corruption in government.


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