WhatWeb - An Advanced Website Fingerprinter

WhatWeb - An Advanced Website Fingerprinting Tool

WhatWeb is an advanced website fingerprinter that can identify content management systems (CMS), blogging platforms, statistic/analytics packages, JavaScript libraries, web servers, embedded devices, version numbers, email addresses, account IDs, web framework modules, SQL errors, and more.

It has over 1700 plugins, each to recognize something different. It can be stealthy and fast, or thorough but slow.

WhatWeb supports an aggression level to control the tradeoff between speed and reliability.

When you visit a website in your browser, the transaction includes many hints of what web technologies are powering that website. Sometimes a single web page visit contains enough information to identify a website but when it does not, WhatWeb can interrogate the website further.

The default level of aggression, called 'stealthy', is the fastest and requires only one HTTP request of a website. This is suitable for scanning public websites.

Most WhatWeb plugins are thorough and recognize a range of cues from subtle to obvious. For example, most WordPress websites can be identified by the meta HTML tag, e.g. '', but a minority of WordPress websites remove this identifying tag but this does not thwart WhatWeb. The WordPress WhatWeb plugin has over 15 tests, which include checking the favicon, default installation files, login pages, and checking for "/wp-content/" within relative links.

Using WhatWeb


  • Over 1700 plugins.
  • Control the trade-off between speed/stealth and reliability.
  • Plugins include example URLs.
  • Performance tuning. Control how many websites to scan concurrently.
  • Multiple log formats: Brief (greppable), Verbose (human readable), XML, JSON, MagicTree, RubyObject, MongoDB.
  • Proxy support including TOR.
  • Custom HTTP headers.
  • Basic HTTP authentication.
  • Control over web page redirection.
  • Nmap-style IP ranges.
  • Fuzzy matching.
  • Result certainty awareness.
  • Custom plugins defined on the command line.


Usage: whatweb [options] <URLs>


  <TARGETs>             Enter URLs, hostnames, IP adddresses, filenames,

                        or nmap-format IP address ranges.

  --input-file=FILE, -i Read targets from a file. You can pipe

                        hostnames or URLs directly with -i /dev/stdin.


  --url-prefix          Add a prefix to target URLs.

  --url-suffix          Add a suffix to target URLs.

  --url-pattern         Insert the targets into a URL. Requires --input-file,

                        eg. www.example.com/%insert%/robots.txt


  The aggression level controls the trade-off between speed/stealth and


  --aggression, -a=LEVEL Set the aggression level. Default: 1.

  Aggression levels are:

  1. Stealthy   Makes one HTTP request per target. Also follows redirects.

  2. Unused

  3. Aggressive If a level 1 plugin is matched, additional requests will be


  4. Heavy      Makes a lot of HTTP requests per target. Aggressive tests from

      all plugins are used for all URLs.


  --user-agent, -U=AGENT Identify as AGENT instead of WhatWeb/0.4.8-dev.

  --header, -H          Add an HTTP header. eg "Foo:Bar". Specifying a default

                        header will replace it. Specifying an empty value, eg.

                        "User-Agent:" will remove the header.

  --follow-redirect=WHEN Control when to follow redirects. WHEN may be `never',

                        `http-only', `meta-only', `same-site', `same-domain'

                        or `always'. Default: always.

  --max-redirects=NUM   Maximum number of contiguous redirects. Default: 10.


  --user, -u=<user:password> HTTP basic authentication.

  --cookie, -c=COOKIES  Provide cookies, e.g. 'name=value; name2=value2'.


  --proxy           <hostname[:port]> Set proxy hostname and port.

                    Default: 8080.

  --proxy-user      <username:password> Set proxy user and password.


  --list-plugins, -l            List all plugins.

  --info-plugins, -I=[SEARCH]   List all plugins with detailed information.

                                Optionally search with keywords in a comma

                                delimited list.

  --search-plugins=STRING       Search plugins for a keyword.

  --plugins, -p=LIST  Select plugins. LIST is a comma delimited set of

                      selected plugins. Default is all.

                      Each element can be a directory, file or plugin name and

                      can optionally have a modifier, eg. + or -

                      Examples: +/tmp/moo.rb,+/tmp/foo.rb



                      -p + is a shortcut for -p +plugins-disabled.

  --grep, -g=STRING     Search for STRING in HTTP responses. Reports with a

                        plugin named Grep.

  --custom-plugin=DEFINITION  Define a custom plugin named Custom-Plugin,

                        Examples: ":text=>'powered by abc'"

                        ":version=>/powered[ ]?by ab[0-9]/"

                        ":ghdb=>'intitle:abc \"powered by abc\"'"


  --dorks=PLUGIN        List Google dorks for the selected plugin.


  --verbose, -v         Verbose output includes plugin descriptions. Use twice

                        for debugging.

  --colour,--color=WHEN control whether colour is used. WHEN may be `never',

                        `always', or `auto'.

  --quiet, -q           Do not display brief logging to STDOUT.

  --no-errors           Suppress error messages.


  --log-brief=FILE        Log brief, one-line output.

  --log-verbose=FILE      Log verbose output.

  --log-errors=FILE       Log errors.

  --log-xml=FILE          Log XML format.

  --log-json=FILE         Log JSON format.

  --log-sql=FILE          Log SQL INSERT statements.

  --log-sql-create=FILE   Create SQL database tables.

  --log-json-verbose=FILE Log JSON Verbose format.

  --log-magictree=FILE    Log MagicTree XML format.

  --log-object=FILE       Log Ruby object inspection format.

  --log-mongo-database    Name of the MongoDB database.

  --log-mongo-collection  Name of the MongoDB collection. Default: whatweb.

  --log-mongo-host        MongoDB hostname or IP address. Default:

  --log-mongo-username    MongoDB username. Default: nil.

  --log-mongo-password    MongoDB password. Default: nil.



  --max-threads, -t       Number of simultaneous threads. Default: 25.

  --open-timeout          Time in seconds. Default: 15.

  --read-timeout          Time in seconds. Default: 30.

  --wait=SECONDS          Wait SECONDS between connections.

                          This is useful when using a single thread.


  --short-help            Short usage help.

  --help, -h              Complete usage help.

  --debug                 Raise errors in plugins.

  --version               Display version information. (WhatWeb 0.4.8-dev).


* Scan example.com.

  ./whatweb example.com

* Scan reddit.com slashdot.org with verbose plugin descriptions.

  ./whatweb -v reddit.com slashdot.org

* An aggressive scan of wired.com detects the exact version of WordPress.

  ./whatweb -a 3 www.wired.com

* Scan the local network quickly and suppress errors.

  whatweb --no-errors

* Scan the local network for https websites.

  whatweb --no-errors --url-prefix https://

* Scan for crossdomain policies in the Alexa Top 1000.

  ./whatweb -i plugin-development/alexa-top-100.txt \
  --url-suffix /crossdomain.xml -p crossdomain_xml

Logging & Output

The following types of logging are supported:
  • --log-brief=FILE (Brief, one-line, greppable format)
  • --log-verbose=FILE (Verbose)
  • --log-xml=FILE (XML format, XSL stylesheet is provided)
  • --log-json=FILE (JSON format)
  • --log-json-verbose=FILE (JSON verbose format)
  • --log-magictree=FILE (MagicTree XML format)
  • --log-object=FILE (Ruby object inspection format)
  • --log-mongo-database (Name of the MongoDB database)
  • --log-mongo-collection (Name of the MongoDB collection. Default: whatweb)
  • --log-mongo-host (MongoDB hostname or IP address. Default:
  • --log-mongo-username (MongoDB username. Default: nil)
  • --log-mongo-password (MongoDB password. Default: nil)
  • --log-errors=FILE (Log errors. This is usually printed to the screen in red.)

You can output to multiple logs simultaneously by specifying multiple command line logging options. 


Note: All plugins are loaded by default.

Matches are made with:
  • Text strings (case-sensitive)
  • Regular expressions
  • Google Hack Database queries (limited set of keywords)
  • MD5 hashes
  • URL recognition
  • HTML tag patterns
  • Custom ruby code for passive and aggressive operations

To list the plugins supported:
$ ./whatweb -l

To view more detail about a plugin or search plugins for a keyword:
$ ./whatweb -I <plugin>

Plugins can be selected by directories, files or plugin names as a comma delimited list with the -p or --plugin command line option.

Each list item may have a modifier: + adds to the full set, - removes from the full set and no modifier overrides the defaults.

  • --plugins +plugins-disabled,-foobar
  • --plugins +/tmp/moo.rb
  • --plugins foobar (only select foobar)
  • -p title,md5,+./plugins-disabled/
  • -p ./plugins-disabled,-md5

The --dorks <plugin name> command line option returns google dorks for the selected plugin.

For example, --dorks WordPress returns "is proudly powered by WordPress"

The --grep, -g command line option searches the target page for the selected string and returns a match in a plugin called Grep if it is found.


WhatWeb features several levels of aggression. By default, the aggression level is set to 1 (stealthy) which sends a single HTTP GET request and also follows redirects.
  • Stealthy (level 1) - Makes one HTTP request per target. Also, follows redirects.
  • Unused (level 2)
  • Aggressive (level 3) - Can make a handful of HTTP requests per target. This triggers aggressive plugins for targets only when those plugins are identified with a level 1 request first.
  • Heavy (level 4) - Makes a lot of HTTP requests per target. Aggressive tests from all plugins are used for all URLs.
Level 3 aggressive plugins will guess more URLs and perform actions that are potentially unsuitable without permission.

Performance & Stability

WhatWeb features several options to increase performance and stability.
  • --max-threads, -t (Number of simultaneous threads. Default: 25)
  • --open-timeout (Time in seconds. Default: 15)
  • --read-timeout (Time in seconds. Default: 30)
  • --wait=SECONDS (Wait SECONDS between connections. This is useful when using a single thread.)
The --wait and --max-threads commands can be used to assist in IDS evasion.

Changing the user-agent using the -U or --user-agent command line option will avoid the Snort IDS rule for WhatWeb.

If you are scanning ranges of IP addresses, it is much more efficient to use a port scanner like nmap to discover which have port 80 open before scanning with WhatWeb.

Character set detection, with the Charset plugin dramatically decreases performance by requiring more CPU. This is required by JSON and MongoDB logging.

Optional Dependencies

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