Getting information about sites CMS and PHP versions with one click
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Site Info Center LIGHT

Getting information about sites CMS and PHP versions with one click.

NOTE: A version of this text in german language, alongside with some screenshots, can be found on my blog:

If you are a web design / development agency or a freelancer you might be familiar with this scenario:

You have a bunch of sites with a couple of different content management systems and different server configurations under your care. Maybe hosted on different shared servers, managed by your client himself. And you never know exactly which CMS version and wich PHP version is currently running on each site without having to maintain an internal list. Sounds familiar?

Site Info Center (SIC) fetches all that information for you with just one click. You only have to configure your sites once in SIC and every time you click SIC's refresh button you get the current version of the CMS and PHP versions in use.


SIC and the satellite script (more details in short) are written in PHP. SIC, the user interface or frontend, uses CURL to communicate with the satellite, so your (local) server running SIC must have CURL installed - which is the case in most environments, especially if you local server is driven by XAMPP or MAMP.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The current version of SIC is intended to be used on a PHP capable server in your local (!) network - your local development server for example - because it has no login / protection / user management that prevents foreign users from seeing sensible sites information. Hence the addition “LIGHT” in the project name. You may use SIC on a remote server and protect it with HTTP BASIC AUTH - but I would not recommend that.

How does it work

The system is made of two parts:

  • SIC The part to be placed onto you local development server where you can reach it with you browser. It provides the user interface and the functionality for fetching information from the sites satellites.

  • Satellite This is a small PHP script you have to place in the root folder of the sites to be monitored. The satellite answers the request of the SIC with information about the CMS and PHP versions currently in use. The satellite in this project comes with a handful functions for getting version info from CMS I was using or I am still using but can be extended with further functions for the CMS you use. More about this later.

In order to prevent the satellite to answer all requests and blasting informations into the wild, we are using a shared secret which has to be configured with the site in SIC and also has to be placed in the satellite script.

If you hit the refresh button on the SIC user interface, SIC will call the satellite, telling him wich CMS it should search for version information (wich function the satellite should run for getting the CMS version) and providing the shared secret. After the satellite has answered, the received information are displayed in the SIC and also stored in a CSV file in /history folder. Yes, CSV. There is no need for a database and you could import the CSV files into a spreadsheet tool if you want. SIC also provides a button for bulk updating all configured sites and displaying the version history of each site with one single click.

Since version 1.4 of SIC there will be also a _summary-latest.csv created in /history folder when you click the red refresh-all-button on the top right. This file will contain all results of the latest sites information bulk update. You will see an according notification when the refresh queue is finished with a download button.

Configuration: SIC

After downloading the project, you will find a file sites-config.NEW.php in the /sic folder. Just rename it to sites-config.php and configure all your sites using the syntax sample provided in the file:

$sites = array( 
    "" => array(                                     // human readable title of the site to monitor
        "url"       => "", // full URL of the satellite script
        "sys"       => "PROCESSWIRE",                           // system identifier, the satellite has a function for
        "secret"    => "T0tallY5ecret",                         // the shared secret of the site, HAVE TO match the one in the satellite
        "inact"     => false                                    // set to "true" if the site should not longer monitored but you want access to the history
    "" => array(                                     
        "url"       => "", 
        "sys"       => "WORDPRESS",                                  
        "secret"    => "Y0uN3v3RKn0w",                         
        "inact"     => true                                    

If you are done, place the /sic folder (you may rename it, of course) on your local server where you can reach it now and in the future. Try reaching SIC with your local URL in the browser - if a list of your configured sites is shown, everything is fine.

Currently supported CMS

System identifier CMS available since satellite version
STATIC (static site, just return PHP version) v0.1
LEPTON Lepton CMS, below version 2.4 v0.1
WEBSITEBAKER WebsiteBaker v0.2
WORDPRESS WordPress v0.3
PROCESSWIRE ProcessWire v0.5
MODX MODX Revolution v0.6
GETSIMPLE GetSimple CMS v0.7
LEPTON24 Lepton CMS, since version 2.4 v0.8
SHOPWARE Shopware, since version 5 v0.9
PAGEKIT Pagekit, since version 1 v0.9
BLACKCAT BlackCat CMS, 1.x series v0.10
JOOMLA Joomla! CMS, tested with 3.6 & 3.8.2 v0.11
CONCRETE5 Concrete5 CMS, tested w. 8.1.0 & 8.2.1 v0.12
JOOMLA15 legacy Joomla! CMS v1.5 v0.13

Configuration: Satellite

Place a copy of the satellite.php (to be found in folder /satellite in the download) in the root directory of all your configured sites via FTP. Update the $sat_secret in the satellite to the one you configured for the corresponding site in SIC (don’t use the same secret across all your sites!) and make sure the satellite has a function for your CMS (if not, read the section “Add further CMS functions to satellite”). You are done.

Try hitting the refresh button next to a site in SIC or the Refresh All button on top right and check if the SIC gets information from the satellite(s).

Add further CMS functions to satellite

The satellite script comes with a handful functions for getting version info from CMS I was using or I am still using - at the time of writing this is MODX Revolution, ProcessWire, WordPress and some small, mostly only known in Germany, CMS like WebsitBaker, LEPTON and WBCE (formerly WebsiteBaker Community Edition, now Way Better Content Editing). But you may extend the satellite for the CMS you use and you could also remove functions for CMS you don’t.

The satellite script is quite easy to understand: After checking that the shared secret provided from SIC matches that one set in the satellite, a simple switch functions checks the sys string provided from SIC an determines which function to be run.

So if you want to add your CMS, just write a new function, deliberate a sys string (system identifier) and add both to the switch function of the satellite. Afterward you can use your new imagined sys string when configuring sites in config-sites.php in SIC and the satellite will run your new function.

Upgrading Site Info Center LIGHT

  1. Download the newest version from GitHub
  2. Remove file sites-config.NEW.php and folder /history from the just downloaded sic-folder (you really don't want to overwrite that file and folder on your local server because they contain your configuration and the version history)
  3. Copy the remaining files and folder to the SIC folder on your local server, overwrite old files and folders

This is all. But a previous backup is always a great idea.