whatruns
Whatruns screenshot (2019)

With the browser extension Whatruns, you can click to discover what makes a site run. Which platform do they use, serverside or clientside? Do they use a CDN? Google Analytics (hint: always!)? A necessary tool for any developer or anyone interested in knowing more about the Web.

Features

  • As always with an extension from the Chrome Web Store, the installation is a breeze.
  • Use it on any site, including Whatruns.
  • Do you blog yourself? See the themes and plugins your competitors rely on!
  • Useful for competitor analysis, sales intelligence, and website profiling.

Benefits Whatruns

The major benefits of this Chrome Extension are easy to divine: you get to pop the hood and take a peek at the machinery. Now you see just what technology your prospective new client or the company relies upon, so you can prepare yourself for that important first contact. Or the job interview. You know just where to invest your time and effort. And if you want to learn from their success: this is a quick and dirty way to stay ahead of the game.

Drawbacks

The information you get isn’t always easy to interpret, especially for someone without a background in coding. And for a real coder, there are a lot more informative ways to get to the heart of a strangers website: Devtools, for example. And also, if you really want to learn about alternatives to the products Whatruns discovers: don’t rely too much on their categories or background information. It seems arbitrary at best. You’re better of checking Alexa or the discover section of start.me.

Alternatives

There aren’t many alternatives to Whatruns, but the Chrome Web Store does mention Snovio web technology checker. With no more than 4000 installations, they can’t really compete with Whatruns, though. They clock over 175.000 installations. This inspires trust.

Final verdict

So there you have it: again an extension we propose to anyone who wants to get a quick look at the Internet that’s hidden in plain sight. Whatruns will astonish you, and help you become a better coder, if you’re so inclined. At the very least it will help you see through the CSS and visual spectacles, to get at the bottom or heart of things.