How to Detect WordPress Version

When you do not have access to a website’s CMS, it can be very difficult to detect which particular version of WordPress that the site is running. As most of us know, the easiest method for finding out is to log into the website’s CMS and check under the Updates. However, this is not always a feasible option. There are a number of reasons, both legitimate and illegitimate why you would need to accomplish this task.

Perhaps you have been in recent contact with a new potential client and you want to pick their brain about their site’s maintenance policies and techniques. Or maybe you are experiencing server errors and you believe that an older version of WordPress is the culprit.

In certain instances, a person may come across something that is unfamiliar and foreign to them and they may believe that these issues are related to a new version of WordPress. Those with more nefarious plots may wish to exploit websites that do not have a completely up to date WordPress installation.

There are five ways for a browser to determine the version of WordPress being used on a particular website and while they are not all guaranteed to work, the chances that none of them work will work are slim to none. The following list has arranged according to ascending order of difficulty and should be used by anyone who has struggled to ascertain which version of WordPress is being used on a website.

1. Take A Moment Check The Website’s Readme File

This is undoubtedly the simplest way to find out which version of WordPress a website uses and the most obvious solution available to a browser. A person who cannot figure out the system that WordPress is running on is advised to try this solution first, as it is the easiest. For those who are unfamiliar with this technique, the readme file is automatically installed and is located at the root of a WordPress site.


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2. Take A Look At The Feed Generator Tag

While accessing a website’s readme file is typically the simplest solution to this common problem, most websites have become far more security conscious in recent years and now block users from being able to gain access to it. WP Engine and a number of other hosting providers block access to the readme file, with this exact reason in mind when doing so.

Should the readme file be blocked, your next best bet is to search for the source of the website’s RSS feed. In order to locate the RSS feed, use www.yoursite.com/feed/. In many instances, a feed will have a source XML that includes a tag for . From there, a user receives the information they are looking for, but it is presented to them as a v=x.x style variable.

Less experienced users may wish to try a different method. This solution to your website detection problems is not always 100 percent guaranteed to work or be effective, but is one of the simpler options available to you.

3. Search For The Generator Tag In The HTML Source

In many instances, you will be able to take a look at the page’s HTML source and receive the answers you are searching for. By doing so, you can find a generator tag that looks a lot like this: . It is important to note that this method for locating the WordPress version is very much dependent upon theme. This is why experts recommended taking a look at the website’s feed before attempting this particular solution.

4. Investigate The Website’s HTML Source

By looking at a website’s HTML source on their homepage, there are typically scripts that will include an indicator of the WordPress version being used. There are nearly always script includes on a website’s HTML source and one of the most commonly discovered is the comment reply file.

If you are unfamiliar with this method, the script will typically look something like this: .

Notice the question mark after “ver”. This is the end of this particular script source and the number after “ver” will indicate the version being used. If the version being used is included correctly by the the website’s theme, then it is always included at the end of a URL’s file source.

Should no other version be specified when this method is used, then the website is using the most current version of WordPress. Other version numbers can be included, but the correct place to look is at the comment-reply.

5. Publicly Accessible Files’ MD5 Hash

Easily the most complex method, but at times the most necessary, since WordPress is required to make files available to the general public. JavaScript files and stylesheets are among the files that are made available to browsers. WordPress continuously evolves and these files are then updated.

Running an MD5 hash on these files can often reveal the WordPress version being used. An MD5 hash can be generated from a file download, then compared to a library of other hashes that have been used in a number of WordPress versions.

While these options are not always simple, this helpful tutorial should provide an increased level of clarity and allow you to learn more about your chosen websites. There are any number of reasons why a person needs to discover which version of WordPress is being used and this list provides a series of neat ways with which to do so.

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