How do you determine 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 know 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 wants to know 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  • Or, nefariously, you ought to find sites with outdated WordPress versions that can be exploited.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 will soon provide.

WordPress Version Stats

Some charts on the WordPress Statistics page show what systems people are running WordPress on.
(You’ll need JavaScript enabled to see them.)

WordPress Version Stats

WordPress Version Stats

Different Ways To Check WordPress Version

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:

  1. Readme file

    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.,

  2. 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 reason), your next bet is to look at the source of the site’s RSS feed – this is always found at 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The version of included files in the 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=4.8.1 at 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. The current WordPress version is used by default if no version is specified. You’ll often find other version numbers, but the “comment-reply.js” is usually just the WP version.

  5. An MD5 hash of publically-accessible files

    MD5 Hash is by far the most complex tactic but sometimes necessary. As web software, WordPress must make at least some of its files available to browsers (stylesheets, JavaScript files, etc.), for example, the comment-reply script above. As WordPress evolves, over time, many of these files are updated. By performing an MD5 hash of the various publicly accessible files for different versions, it’s possible to deduce which version (or at least the range of versions) a WP site uses. E.g., if one downloaded your site’s comment-reply.js file, they can generate the MD5 Hash of the file (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 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,” “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.

Please let us know in the comments below if you know anything better to check the WordPress version.


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