In my recent tutorial on the additional screen options in the New Post/Page screens, I briefly covered the topic of trackbacks. They can be an effective way of promoting your blog, by letting other blog owners know that you are linking to them.
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However, I also mentioned that WordPress blogs are set up by default to send and receive automatic pingbacks. If pingbacks are enabled, you should not send trackbacks. Duplicate trackbacks/pingbacks can be seen as spam, which would produce exactly the opposite effect to what you are hoping for.
So before sending trackbacks, you need to verify whether or not the blog in question is running on WordPress. In reality, this is just one example of why you might want such information – pure curiosity is another (there are more sites out there running WordPress than you think).
Back in the day, you had to resort to a bit of detective work in order to find out whether or not a blog was running on WordPress. Some of the most popularly recommended methods were:
- View the page source and try to find mention of WordPress (typically by inclusion of a reference to wp-content or wp-admin)
- Type http://www.thedomain.com/wp-admin/ and see what shows up. This bore mixed results, as blogs often change the WordPress installation folder.
- Copy an image’s URL and check it to see if it refers to WordPress.
- Look in the footer for “Powered by WordPress”. Who keeps that on their blog?
The first is BuiltWith – a free service that allows you to extract all sorts of useful information about websites. Just type the address into the search bar:
And it throws more information at you than you can shake a stick at:
I have just picked off the first few results – there is a whole swathe of additional information available to you. For the purposes of this post, the relevant piece of information is contained within the second result. We can see that WPMU.org runs off WordPress (which clearly comes as a surprise…).
But in my opinion, that isn’t even the best tool available – my favorite is Chrome Sniffer. As the name suggests, this is available for Google Chrome only, but let’s be honest – it is the best browser available *awaits onslaught*.
Once you have installed Chrome Sniffer, it will meld so subtly into your interface that you may not even spot it to begin with:
As you can see, the website I am on is powered by WordPress. But if you click on the icon, you’ll find out even more:
Each icon represents an application that the website in question uses. Clicking on any icon takes you directly to the homepage of the relevant application.
Taking The Mystery Out Of Web Browsing
So there you have it! Two very simple ways of finding out what’s under the hood of a website. Briefly going back to the trackbacks issue mentioned earlier, having Chrome Sniffer installed allows you to very quickly spot whether or not a site you are linking to is powered by WordPress, which means you can decide if you need to send a trackback.