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Secrets In Websites II

This post is a follow up to the first Secrets In Websites. For those who don’t remember the first time, I point out odd, interesting, funny things in other websites’ code. Yes it takes some time to put a post like this together, that’s why it’s just about a year since the last time. Enough with the intro, read on for the code.

The Code

You’ll notice a comment sure to make any web developer laugh on’s login page

<link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css" />
    <!–[if IE]>
        <style type="text/css">#login h1 a { margin-top: 35px; } #login #login_error { margin-bottom: 10px; }</style>< ![endif]–>
    <!– Curse you, IE! –>

The guys behind WordPress a while back took the site BrowseHappy under its wing. WordPress has always been a strong believer in web standards, so this isn’t surprising (though still amusing). Did you also know that the guys behind it (Automattic) don’t have job titles? Unless you consider “Chief BBQ Taste Tester” to be a real job title. Matt, I hope your job doesn’t kill you with a heart attack.


The geniuses over at Facebook feel the same and put the following on the top of their IE conditionally included stylesheets:

/*  ————————————————————————
                    Facebook | IE/PC Hacks |
    ————————————————————————  */


The ever so popular popurls has the following comment in the header of the page.

 __   __      
(  \,/  )
 (_/ \_)                  – thomas and the wise popurls butterfly


RedHat was one of the earlier corporate sites to redo itself into a standards based design. They have great respect for those who came before them. In their master CSS file they have the following tribute as well as a little remark about Netscape 4.x:

/* MASTER style sheet
    a tip of the red hat to Zeldman, Bowman, Meyer, Shea, Cederholm, Newhouse, Holzschlag,
    and many, many other CSS and web standards pioneers who have inspired us.
    the CSS, layout and validation status of is a work-in-progress. numerous
    web-building worker bees are working furiously to correct the bugs, minimize the hacks
    and validate the code. stay tuned.
——————————————————————– created June 2004 */
@import URL("global.css");
@import URL("dig.css");
/* —————————————————————- ns4 styles – bah! */
table {
    border: 1px;

Panic Software

Panic Software has a cool little piece of code for those who browse the product page for Coda (awesome product BTW) with IE and don’t have at least version 6.0:

<!–[if lte IE 6]><p id="iewarning"><img src="/extras/ripoff/images/ie-warning.gif" alt="IE Warning" title="We hear Firefox is nice!" /></p>< ![endif]–>

I hear it’s pretty nice too.

Panic also has a comment in the head of their homepage that reads:

<!– This homepage design is not long for this world. Enjoy it while you can! 🙂 –>


Twitter (who redirects to drop the ‘www’ BTW) is a very popular service these days. In their HTML they mark which server served up the data. You’ll see it in the form:

<!– served to you through a copper wire by at 24 Nov 19:08 in 11 MS (d 0 / r 8). thank you, come again. –>

Copper eh? No fiber in your data center? I won’t judge, as long as your bandwidth is plentiful.

Here’s a bonus from WordPress. While many analytics programs use a 1px transparent “tracker gif” to manage statistics, WordPress did something a little different. At the very bottom on the left hand side, you can see the face of WordPress analytics in all it’s tiny glory.


This technically applies to more than just Firefox. You’d be surprised to see how many times kungFuDeathGrip is in the code base.

Many Sites using Google Products/Services

Many people have noticed strange Google tags on sites such as:

<!–googleoff: index–>
<!–googleon: index–>

This isn’t a “SEO” practice, despite some misconception on the web. This is used by the Google Search Appliance, a product made by Google which many websites use to power their own search engines to tell the engine what to read and what to ignore. It wouldn’t be practical for Google to use these “in the wild”. The reason is that spammers could effectively hide an alternate website within those comments. Google’s business is based largely on accurate search results. Spammers have already tried to abuse the CSS property display: none;. This would be even better. You can find code like this on among many other sites.

Webmasters can however optimize their side for AdSense using a technique recommended by Google:

<!– google_ad_section_start –>
<!– google_ad_section_end –>

This tells Google to give weight to a certain part of your page when deciding what ad to display on the page. This is good for cases where you feel other material on your page is influencing the ads and resulting in off-topic ads.



Microsoft‘s offering against Linux and Apache is IIS on Windows. Which one would expect they themselves use. What they don’t tell you is that they also have used Akamai (with over 25,000 servers), which uses Linux. They have used Akamai for many things like DNS, and caching files. Rather than “Powered By Windows Server” maybe they should append “hiding behind Linux”. was previously Adobe/Macromedia’s model customer because it was written in ColdFusion, and said to be the biggest ColdFusion site on the net (and one of the biggest sites on the net). Many think it still is, but it’s not. While many URL’s suggest it might be because they end in .cfm it’s actually running and has been since aprox, 2006. You can confirm this by viewing the headers on some of their pages. You’ll see:

X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727‘s site has search powered by a Google Search Appliance. MTV is also owned by Viacom who sued Google, the parent company of YouTube. The folks at MTV awesomely admitted the irony during relaunch on their blog.

Global Crossing

Tier 1 networking provider Global Crossing really wants you to know how fast they are. Doing a trace could turn up something like this:

  7    15 MS    13 MS    14 MS []
  8    14 MS    13 MS    13 MS []

Yes that’s right, they use 10 GigE! Just FYI.


Firefox 2.0

In Firefox 2.0, go to “About Firefox” (under the help menu for Windows, under the Firefox menu for Mac), and click on credits. You’ll notice Stephen Colbert. He wrote it single handedly, but added some other names because he’s a nice guy. Bonus: I’m on the list too. Above him because I’m better than him. That’s right, I said it.



Chase for some reason puts it’s login form in plain text. The submit URL is https, but it doesn’t feel right. They do have a SSL enabled login page, but for some reason they hide it. Here it is for those interested:


For some reason, most of Google’s services are insecure by default. By simply going to https, you can use SSL for added security.
Google Calendar:
Google Reader:

On the next page is the 2008 US Presidential Candidate Campaign sites…

69 replies on “Secrets In Websites II”

Interesting post. I do have one suggestion, though. Change your table styling to make it easier to differentiate between rows. They kind of blend together at the moment.

I can confirm that Chris Dodd’s site uses Drupal while Bill Richardson’s does not, even though it looks like it does. The giveaway is the absence of jQuery and the CSS stylesheet paths.

Robert, thanks for doing this, especially the Presidential Campaign Analsyis section. I’ve started doing something similar so many times, but failed to complete the task.

Everyone…be sure to look at “Page 2” for the campaign analysis. I know I almost missed it.

As kourge said, Bill Richardson’s site isn’t drupal powered.

Zope/(Zope 2.7.8-final, python 2.3.6, linux2) ZServer/1.1

I’m wondering how it can be a drupal powered 🙂 Drupal is PHP based CMS

BTW, nice article.

Hah! I was very interested to see that the democrats lean more toward open source, and the republicans lean more toward licensed software like .net

Keen observation!

“other websites code” should be “other websites’ code”.

“the site BrowseHappy under it’s wing” should be “the site BrowseHappy under its wing”.

Please either:
1. Learn how to make the possessive, particulary of “it”;
2. Eliminate all apostrophes. That way you’ll be wrong, but consistent.

Either way is fine.

“Disclaimer:If you post a comment that’s beyond the technical scope of this post, it will be deleted. This isn’t a politics site, and I don’t have the patience or time for it. My blog, my rules. No exceptions.”

Censorship on a political website? **** you.

Wow, could you please have a header to this post that says “for geeks only.” What the **** is a code?

MySpace isn’t running ColdFusion (Adobe’s app server), but they are still running CFML (the language). Many (perhaps all?) of their CFML servers are now running BlueDragon.NET (from New Atlanta). It’s a native .NET implementation of the same scripting language as Adobe’s ColdFusion.

myspace still uses coldfusion but not adobes flavor. If i am not mistaken they use BlueDragon which compiles into .net code. Adobes CF compiles into java. So, that would explain why myspace is reporting as a .net server.

There’s system called “Moodle” designed as a CMS for teachers. All of its library files are called “somethinglib.php”. There’s an unused library called “womenslib.php” that redirects to the Wikipedia entry.

Great article.

“Copper eh? No fiber in your data center? I won’t judge, as long as your bandwidth is plentiful.”

Every person that connectes to the internet via phone line will be using copper wire.

Patrick Weigel: Please either 1) apply for a grammar police license or 2) get a life and mind your own damn business. No one cares about typo’d apostrophes.

OT: Love the article!

Found elsewhere on the web:
“PWS stands for Panther Web Server which is our own cache-server built completely in-house by the Panther team – it is NOT a web-server (per se), and it is certainly NOT any variation of a Microsoft product. As you guys pointed out, our software runs on Linux and we are a CDN that is distributed network with more than 45 locations worldwide.”

Found in the comments of this link:

The global crossing thing is normal, it’s actually the port that is used during the cross-connect to the other provider. Ten Gig 1/4…

If you look around you’ll see most providers do that.

[…] Accettura se ha puesto a esa labor, indagando Ă©se y otros aspectos tĂ©cnicos de esas webs. En su informe final podemos conocer no sĂłlo los posibles CMS, sino tambiĂ©n el resto de tecnologĂ­as usadas en sus […]

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The chase one drives me crazy. I got in the habit of putting in a fake id/password the first time and their error page is on https. Doesn’t really make a difference, but it makes me feel just a little bit better about putting in my password on their site.

A few comments:
Infrastructure/Platform: Microsoft
I’ve also been wondering about this, especially a few years ago… I never thought Windows sounded like a good choice for DNS’s. Now I know.>
I’ve noticed this before when I’ve been getting errors. I was surprised the first time I got an ASP.Net error on Myspace.
Global Crossing
Actually, Ethernet is not just twisted pair cables. Using a 10 GB optical link for ethernet is nothing terribly remarkable. Being network consultants I’m almost surprised they don’t have a wider pipe than that.

Also a comment on the list of presidential candidates. I think PHP doesn’t belong under Framework/Frontend, but rather Platform. It’s a small thing and it doesn’t really matter, but I took note of it.

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