9

I am asking myself for quite some time on how BuiltWith for example works in determining what CMS is being used for a site.

We are running an online store and at times I believe it would be good to disguise which CMS we are using. Weird thing is that I just tested it and BuiltWith doesn't return any info about the CMS, although it did in the past. I can't really tell why or when it stopped doing it which confuses me even more. When I head over to ellislab.com the info will be displayed. Maybe it's just temporary for our site?

Does anybody know what one would have to do to "disguise" the CMS informations for tools like BuiltWith and the such?

Thanks and Cheers,

Marc

13

You can detect EE by couple parameters like form uniq for EE names/hidden inputs fields, category short names, page count segment, ACT segment or cookies prefix.

Looks like BuiltWith is looking on cookies and if it see exp_ prefix (default EE prefix) - detected EE

Set-Cookie:exp_tracker=a%3A1%3A%7Bi%3A0%3Bs%3A5%3A%22index%22%3B%7D; path=/
Set-Cookie:exp_last_activity=1386303363; expires=Sat, 06-Dec-2014 04:16:03 GMT; path=/
Set-Cookie:exp_tracker=a%3A1%3A%7Bi%3A0%3Bs%3A5%3A%22index%22%3B%7D; path=/
Set-Cookie:exp_last_activity=1386303363; expires=Sat, 06-Dec-2014 04:16:03 GMT; path=/

cookies prefix you can change in CP -> Amin -> Security & Privecy -> Cookie Settings

or in config.php

$config['cookie_prefix']
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  • Thanks, and absolutlely correct. I just checked and yes, our cookie prefix has been changed through master.config in the past to manage different installations on different subdomains. By doing that it also took care of the BuiltWith lookup, even though unknowingly. But I also understand that there are of course other methods to find out if a site is running on EE. – Marc Dec 6 '13 at 11:17
2

Though this probably has nothing to do with how Builtwith detects ExpressionEngine...

Another way to tell a site is running EE, as Derek pointed out in his answer to a similar question on Stack Overflow, is to look for hidden ACT and XID input fields in forms generated by EE modules. Anywhere a form is generated by an EE module (Search, Freeform, CartThrob, or Store, for example) you'll see something like this in the source:

<input type="hidden" name="XID" value="960dc9c6e426be168876f03e5c54c391fcf44ec6" />
<input type="hidden" name="ACT" value="40" />
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2

This is also unlikely to be used by BuiltWith, but do check your RSS feeds, especially if you are using a standard ExpressionEngine RSS template. You will find inside <channel>:

<admin:generatorAgent rdf:resource="http://expressionengine.com/"/>

Check the Atom template too for a <generator> tag.

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