Have you ever looked at someone’s blog and asked yourself if it’s a WordPress blog? Or if it is, what plugins it’s using? It’s often useful to understand what other bloggers do so you can emulate specific WordPress blogs you admire. In this post I’ll explain a simple way to check if a site is using WordPress. More importantly I’ll show you how to see what WordPress plugins a site is using.
After reading this post you’ll be able :
- Understand precisely which plugins a WordPress blog uses.
- Build a plugin shortlist.
- Research the plugins you find.
- Decide upon which, if any, of the plugins your competitors use will be suitable for your own WordPress blog.
All you’ll need to do this is… wait for it… a browser!
I’ll show you how to use the functionality of Chrome, Firefox and Opera to see precisely what WordPress plugins a site is using. You’ll need to use a desktop or laptop though, since tablet browser versions may not operate in the same way.
Before we can see the WordPress plugins a site uses we have to determine if it’s a WordPress blog. Essentially we’ll use the same technique to see if a particular blog is using WordPress to understand the plugins it uses. That technique is to look at the site’s code.
Before we proceed, if the word code above scares you away, I’ll tell you that you don’t need to be technical to carry out any of these steps.
All we’re going to do is to look at the code for specific text strings to see if they’re present. We can do this to understand if a particular blog uses WordPress, and then check to see what plugins are installed and enabled.
Inspecting a Blog’s Code
Each of the browsers I referenced above use a similar mechanism to show you a web page’s code. It’s a function called inspection and you use it via the same method. In order to view the code of a web page in Chrome, Firefox and Opera you just need to move your mouse cursor onto the page and use your right click button to open up an option menu.
Here’s a breakdown of how each right-click option menu looks in each browser:
When you click on the Inspect Element function (Inspect in Opera) this creates a split view of the page: on on side you’ll see the web page: on the other, the page’s HTML code.
It’s this Elements view that we’ll use to check if a site is built in WordPress and what WordPress plugins this is site using.
For the purposes of this example, and all subsequent examples, we’ll use a blog that many people will be aware of: NeilPatel.com. Here’s how Neil’s homepage looks in Chrome when you’ve right-clicked on the page and then selected the Inspect Element option:
You can see the spilt screen with the code highlighted in blue. This is the area we’ll use to check:
- If the site is running WordPress, and if so…
- What WordPress plugins the site is using.
How to Check if a Blog Uses WordPress
Go to the Inspect Element screen and click CTRL+F (Windows) or CMD+F. This brings up a search box to help us look for the text that will show us whether NeilPatel.com uses WordPress:
We are going to search for some specific text, which indicates WordPress is installed. All we need to do is add the following into the search box and press return:
This is a directory that all WordPress installations use and it’s the one where ultimately the plugin directory folder resides. Here’s what running the search brings back for NeilPatel.com:
This clearly shows that Neil Patel’s site is using WordPress so we can now move on to the next part of this post and the main reason you’re here… what WordPress plugins is this site using?
How to See the Plugins a WordPress Blog Uses
The eagle-eyed will have noticed in the above search for the wp-content directory that the highlighted result shows the WordPress plugin directory downwards.
To see what WordPress plugins a site is using all we need to do is make a different search for the plugins directory. We can do this by searching for the following:
Any plugin that a WordPress site uses will appear under this directory. So in the case of NeilPatel.com these are the plugins I can see by inspecting the elements of the homepage:
From what I can see after search for the wp-content/plugins/ directory on the NeilPatel.com homepage, the site uses 3 WordPress plugins:
- structured-content-develop – I’m not sure what this plugin is.
- wp-rocket – This is WP Rocket, a premium WordPress plugin that helps optimize WordPress blog so they run super-fast. I use this on one of my blogs and highly recommend this.
- contact-form-7 – This is Contact Form 7, a very popular free WordPress plugin to create and manage contact forms. I use this on SideGains.
If you can see the name of the plugin in the plugins directory and don’t know what it’s formally called, take the it’s directory folder name and search fo it in your favorite search engine. You should be able to find it’s official name and visit a page to learn more about it and ultimately install it on your own blog if it tickles your fancy!
- When you know if a site is using WordPress it’s fairly simple see to what WordPress plugins are being used. This is really useful if you want to understand how your favorite blogger (or you competitor) powers their WordPress blog.
- One of the easiest ways to check is to use the Inspect Element function in the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers.
- Search for the wp-content/plugins directory folder to look for all plugins running on the blog.
- Search online for the plugin directory folder name to find out what the plugin is and what functionality it offers.
- If the plugin looks like something you’d get value from install it and away you go!
That’s all for now.
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If you have any questions about what plugins a WordPress blog is using, please leave a comment below.