Ask DN: What are popular websites built with, if anything at all?

over 5 years ago from , Product Designer @ Dribbble / Maker

I'm doing a bit of research trying to figure out what some popular websites the designer community visits regular are built on.

I've always wondered what the underlying backend for some of these sites. Some might use frameworks and some might not but I'm simply conducting a study and would be interested to hear from anyone who's working at these places or those who know for sure.

Blogs are a bit of a give away as it could be anything from WordPress to Jekyll (smashingmag, alistapart, css-tricks, etc..)

But niche sites like say :

The list could be huge here but these are just some examples. Whether it's a CMS solution or a specific language framework like Ruby on Rails it will be helpful.


  • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Check out https://wappalyzer.com/. It's a plugin that will show you what technologies, frameworks and libraries a site is using. Now to answer your question:

    • Medium - Nginx
    • Pinterest - Backbone, Underscore, jQuery
    • DN - Rails, jQuery
    • dribbble - Rails, jQuery
    • Authentic Jobs - PHP, jQuery
    • Awwards - jQuery
    • Kickstarter - Rails, Moustache, jQuery

    EDIT: Formatting.

    22 points
  • Dwayne CharringtonDwayne Charrington, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Github - Ruby on Rails, Nginx, MySQL

    Dropbox - Python, C, MySQL, Paster/Pylons/Cheetah, Memcached, Nginx, Haproxy

    Etsy - PHP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Solr

    Pinterest - Python, Java, Go, Memcached, HBase, MySQL, Varnish, Django, Flask

    Craigslist - Apache, MySQL, Perl, MongoDB

    Flickr - Node.js, Nginx, MySQL (recently rewritten from PHP)

    Shopify - Ruby on Rails, MySQL, Nginx

    Stack Overflow - Asp.net, C#, SQL Server

    Instagram - Python/Django, PostgreSQL, Redis, Apache Solr, Nginx

    Indiegogo - Ruby on Rails, Nginx, MySQL

    Kickstarter - Ruby on Rails, Nginx

    Airbnb - Ruby on Rails, MySQL, Hadoop, Redis, Backbone.js, Coffeescript, Chef, Sphinx

    Soundcloud - Ruby on Rails, Backbone.js, MongoDB, Cassandra, Nginx

    Hulu - Ruby on Rails, Hadoop

    Myspace - Node.js, Express, Socket.io, Nginx, MySQL

    Slideshare - Ruby on Rails

    Quora - Python, Thrift, Nginx, MySQL

    Tumblr - PHP, Scala, Ruby, Redis, HBase, MySQL, Thrift, Varnish, Memcache, Nginx

    Disqus - Python/Django

    18 points
  • Mubashar Iqbal, over 5 years ago

    Know about a few here:

    Pinterest was originally built on Wordpress, not sure about now. Dribbble and Kickstarter are built on Rails

    You might be able to get more info from http://builtwith.com/

    3 points
  • Maksim SurguyMaksim Surguy, over 5 years ago

    It's definitely not an easy answer as each indicated site probably uses at least 20-30 frameworks/technologies to power its stack.

    You might have one framework for routing, another for data storage and access, another for performance, another for email handling, etc. As the site grows you need to build and re-build, adapt and evolve and usually that means choosing a proper technology for the task at hand.

    I run a site called Bootsnipp.com that has over 10,000 designers/developers come to the site daily, it is built with Laravel framework for the most part but could've been built with Wordpress, RoR, plain PHP or anything else.

    2 points
    • Andy Leverenz, over 5 years ago

      I'm seeing a new trend with Laravel. I have had more experience with RoR but the technologies under the hood for both are strikingly similar.

      1 point
  • Sean GroveSean Grove, over 5 years ago

    No has mention that Instagram frontend is built (and started) Reactjs, which has been a fantastic tool for us. Facebook has also started to migrate large parts of their frontend over.

    1 point
  • Afnizar Nur Ghifari, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Twitter, Rails.

    0 points
  • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, over 5 years ago

    I love the "If anything at all" part of this title, as if Facebook runs on magic :P

    0 points
    • Ricardo MagalhãesRicardo Magalhães, over 5 years ago

      But React.js is magic...!

      Interesting post, I often wonder about these things myself but don't really bother to dig deep. I'm amazed at how many websites don't use big client-side frameworks, but I guess it makes sense to not grow attached to any of them once you reach a certain size.

      Any examples of large scale apps out there running Angular, for example?

      1 point
      • mewo a, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        Youtube app for PS3 and some of the web app is built in angular. A few of google's other products use it as well, I think one of the biggest is Doubleclick. I think Plunker is in Angular as well with socket.io and node backend.

        0 points
    • Andy Leverenz, over 5 years ago

      Some pieces are static. Not everything requires a framework so I figured I'd include that in the title :)

      0 points