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How can I find out which technologies were used to generate a website? Is it possible?

E.g. PHP, JSP, JSF, ASP.NET, Ruby, Python etc.

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Thank you, I had the same opinion, but I wasn't sure :) So I'm without chance to find out which technologies are used for writing stackoverflow.com for example.. Make the answer and I'll accept it –  gaffcz Jul 24 '11 at 20:04
    
Some generators put meta information in the header. You might get lucky and detect some of them. Also, some tools emit HTML in a consistent pattern, or add template comments, and you might use some heuristics to detect that. –  Keith Jul 24 '11 at 20:13
    
Yeah, for the most part, this is impossible. . . –  surfasb Jul 24 '11 at 20:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Unless the URL reveals it (e.g. http://something/blah.php), you can't. Even the URL is not reliable, as you theoretically could configure a web server to use the .php extension for Java Server Pages. It's weird, but it's possible. The same goes for all possible combinations.

As all of those are server side languages, the only thing you can see as the client is HTML. HTML by itself does not reveal a lot.

You might be able to find out more by inspecting the HTML markup and looking for some keywords. For example, some web frameworks or templating engines leave traces and special patterns or keywords that might give you a hint. It's very specific though and I don't know of any tool that would to this kind of task (except for Google, that is).

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Thank you, slhck :) –  gaffcz Jul 25 '11 at 5:23
  • There are online tools for determining which web servers are used on a given site:

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=superuser.com

But these are highly unreliable, because the information a server reveals can be easily manipulated or hidden by the site owner (which might lead to the remark "unknown" as the server type in this particular chart).

  • Another option is to call an non-existing page on a site. The error message (404) might also reveal the OS and the server software:

http://lexin2.nada.kth.se/test ("test" does not exist) reveals that they are using Tomcat with Apache. In a similar way, you will see messages from Microsoft IIS on Windows, PHP on Linux, etc.

Most sites replace though the standard 404 message with a more informative one, like this site's: http://superuser.com/test So there's not much to gather there.

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Thank you, TFM :) –  gaffcz Jul 25 '11 at 5:21

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