Does a website show which program wrote it?

  kenwyn 06:56 09 Apr 2004

An enthusiastic amateur has written and posted a website for a small business. The business has changed hands and the new owners are unhappy with the design, structure and general performance of the site, and want someone else to re-write it. The original writer claims it has been written using Dreamweaver, but given the very basic design of the site, the new owners are sceptical. Is there a way of looking at the site online to determine whether or not Dreanweaver was indeed used? The writer also claims to host the site himself. Again, can the site hosting server be ascertained via the website? Any assistance appreciated. Further info provided if required.

  Forum Editor 09:33 09 Apr 2004

in confidence, by clicking on the 'Contact the forum editor' link at the top left of this page, and I'll see what I can do.

DO NOT post the url in this thread please.

  Sir Radfordin 09:34 09 Apr 2004

You can sometimes tell from source code what application it was written in. If you post the URL someone could look. Just because a site is basic doesn't mean it can't have been written in Dreamweaver.

As for hosting again your best bet of finding out is to look at who the domain was registered wtih and the TAG holder for it. You can do something called a WHOIS lookup to do this.

  kenwyn 09:34 09 Apr 2004

Just noticed that when viewing the site & clicking 'file', I get the option to edit the page in MS Frontpage. Some pages which appear to be links to external sources ie a guest book and photo gallery do not offer this option. Can I safely assume that the site is therefore written in Frontpage?? (seems fully editable in the downloaded version)

  Taran 09:42 09 Apr 2004

I should start by saying that a simple design can be created in any program and is not necessarily indicative of being an amateur effort or a poor web editing program.

Many web authoring programs put a metatag code snippet into the top portion of the page source code which identifies the originating program.

Frontpage 2000 generates this:

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">

Adobe GoLive 6 generates this:

<meta name="generator" content="Adobe GoLive 6">

NetObjects Fusion genrates this:

<META NAME="Generator" CONTENT="NetObjects Fusion 7.5 for Windows">

Now, the bad news is that not all web programs include that metatag and all of them allow you to turn the feature off if you want to.

Dreamweaver often gives itself away if any of the built in code snippets have been used. They all start with this:


A plain design does not give the source program away on its own. I often get comments on one of my own sites for the utter plainness of it, but it is for tutorial information and student homework/assignments so design is not really an issue beyond plain white background and plain black text, most of which was coded in a free HTML editor called HTML Kit click here

If you run a domain search on the domain name with the likes of 1&1 or any other host, they will tell you that the domain is taken. Most web hosts feature a Who? link which will take you to information on who registered the domain and who has it tagged. Web hosts tag domain names to their own servers, so this is how to find out where it is being hosted.

Hosting a site yourself can be done, but anyone with web hosting experience [like me] normally prefers to pay a dedicated web host a small amount per year and let them worry about the headaches.

Hope that helps.



  Taran 09:43 09 Apr 2004

your option to edit in FrontPage is because you have FrontPage set as your default editor.

  kenwyn 10:03 09 Apr 2004

Thanks -Taran - I just checked and found the 'MM' tag, so it looks like Dreanweaver is the culprit. Is it really the case that anyone can download an existing web page and re - edit (although obviously not uplodd any amended pages to the original URL)? I have done a WhoIs search, which shows the Registrant contact and Admin Contact as the guy who has written the site (correct). The technical and Billing contacts would seem to be an American web hosting company. So I guess the site would be hosted with them?

  Forum Editor 11:57 09 Apr 2004

The domain registrant is an individual - presumably the man who designed the site - so the domain name is registered in his name.

The existing site was authored in Dreamweaver.

Yes, anyone can download and amend a web page, or an entire site, but of course they can't overwrite the site that exists on the server unless they have the FTP login details for the hosting account.

  Forum Editor 12:18 09 Apr 2004

the man in question operates in New Zealand. A thorough search for web designers in NZ has not revealed anyone of that name, and as you will already know, his email address is with a NZ webmail company - the same as yours in fact.

There's no real way of knowing exactly where the server is - but on the evidence I would guess that the site is hosted in some account space on a professional web-hosting company's server. Lots of designers do this, and there's nothing wrong with that per se, as long as the client is aware of the situation.

  Forum Editor 12:33 09 Apr 2004

on the domain, and can confirm that it's hosted in Ashburn, which is in Northern Virginia.

I hope that provides the answer you need.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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