How do you find out what WordPress Version a site is running on if you don’t access the CMS Backend? Of course, the most reliable way of finding a WordPress version is to log in to the “wp-admin” area and look under the ‘Updates‘! But we don’t always have that access available. There are plenty of reasons (both legitimate and nefarious) why you would like to check the WordPress version of a site: Here are some reasons.
- A new potential client has contacted you, and you want to get an idea of how well their site has been maintained by checking the WordPress version.
- You’re trying to diagnose server errors and want to see if an old WP version might be the cause.
- You’ve come across something that hasn’t been seen before, and you want to see if it’s related to a new WordPress version.
- Or, nefariously, you ought to find sites with outdated WordPress versions that can be exploited.
- At WPArena, we want to know the WordPress version to include in the free WordPress site scan reports we are soon going to provide.
WordPress Version Stats
Here on the WordPress Statistics page, some charts showing what sorts of systems people are running WordPress on.
Different Ways To Check WordPress Version
We’ve found five neat ways to detect the WordPress version of a site. They don’t work all the time, but none of them will rarely work. Below they are numbered, in ascending order of difficulty:
The quickest and easiest way to detect WordPress version is to look at the readme.html file, which is automatically installed at the root of a WordPress site, e.g., https://wparena.com/readme.html
Feed generator tag
If you can’t access the readme.html file (and it’s blocked by the more security-conscious hosting providers like WP Engine for that very reason), your next bet is to look at the source of the site’s RSS feed – this is always found at www.wparena.com/feed/. Often, the feed’s source XML will include a
<generator>tag which will give you the version as a ?v=x.x variable – as depicted above.
Generator tag in HTML source
Sometimes, you can look at the HTML source of the page to find a generator tag like:
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 4.8.1" />– but this is very much theme-specific, so you’re safer looking in the feed first.
The version of included files in HTML source
This method is a good one to check the WordPress version as well. Look at the HTML source of a site’s homepage, and there will nearly always be some script includes; a common one is a comment-reply file, which will look like this: Note the
?ver=4.8.1at the end of the script source. When added correctly by a theme, a version of the included file is always appended to the end of the file source URL. If no version is specified, the current WordPress version is used by default. You’ll often find other version numbers, but the “comment-reply.js” is usually just the WP version.
An MD5 hash of publically-accessible files
then they can generate the MD5 hash of the file (which is a unique fingerprint of a particular file) and then compare that to a library of known hashes for various WP versions.
The easiest way to perform all of these checks is to head over to the readme.html file, and hopefully, you will get a result! WPArena connects WordPress sites, themes, users, professionals, and industry benchmarks to create a unique database and network that maps the real, live world of WordPress. Some crawlers scan hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites, analyze and report on each one and then use the data connections between them to provide brand new insights into the WordPress ecosystem. Several WordPress version detection tools are also available in the market. You can find them easily by searching the terms “WordPress version checker” or “Check WordPress Version” or “detect WordPress version” online. These WordPress version checker tools are equipped with a lot of features and offers:
- a free WordPress site scanner
- a dashboard to track and monitor your WordPress sites
- a directory of WordPress professionals
- a unique theme explorer
- and many more.
If you know anything better to check the WordPress version, please let us know in the comments below.