How to Inspect HTML Source Code of a Website?

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26 Jun, 2024

how-to-read-source-code

Have you ever thought about “gutting out” your website to reveal its flesh and bones?

“Why is that even necessary?” you may wonder.

Well, the devil lies in the details. And your website’s devil may be hidden in its skeleton or source code. No matter how you’re associated with your website- whether as a coder, web designer, digital marketer, or even business owner-” View Source Code” is one command that can change your life forever. Online, at least. 

Your source code may be dragging down your SEO, user experience, page load speed, and, ultimately, your online revenues! If gone unchecked for long, potential malware could be lodged deep within your lines of code, secreting poisonous effects on your website’s performance. We do not wish to scare you, but this horror could become a reality unless you learn to view source code independently and as often as possible!

What is source code?

How do I see the source code of a website? 

How do I view the HTML code of a website?

If the questions above have already begun buzzing around, you’ve arrived at the ultimate resource to get them answered. This blog will deliver comprehensive information on source codes, how they work, and how to leverage them to your advantage. Expect this information in simple language to enrich you with all the technical stuff minus the confusion. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

How to View Source Code?

Follow the instructions below, and you should be able to effortlessly view the source code of your desired page or website.

How to View Source Code on Different Devices ?

Personal Computer

Edge/Internet Explorer: View Source Code

  • First, right-click anywhere on an open tab and then select “Inspect” from the menu.Selecting Inspect element option

Alternatively, you can press F11 in Windows, which will work on most desktop and laptop models.

  • Select the “Control + Shift + I” keys to view the page source through the keyboard and open the Edge developer tools section.

  • Next, simultaneously press the “Alt + F” keys and select “More tools” followed by Developer tools.” 

    More tools developer tools
    Ultimately, you should be able to view the source code to look something like this:

services

You can adjust the height by dragging and clicking on the three-dot horizontal icon on the developer tools menu bar to change its position to the top or bottom or to open it in a new window.

Dockside option

Though DevTools has many menu items, you must use only a few to analyze Edge's website source code.

Click below to learn how to inspect HTML source code!

  • Understand Website Structure
  • Learn Web Development
  • Customize User Experience
Branding

Google Chrome: View Source Code

You can use Google Chrome's developer tools to view your page's source code like search engines do.

  1. Open the relevant page of your site in Google Chrome.
  2. Open the page's source code view:
  3. Right-click the page and select View page source (or View source). Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + U on your keyboard.
  4. Open the developer tools:
  5. Press the F12 key on your keyboard.
  6. Click the Customize and Control DevTools icon at the top right. 
  7. Hover over More tools and select Network conditions.More tools
  8. Deselect Use browser default under User Agent.
  9. Select Googlebot from the drop-down menu.Select Googlebot
  10. Finally, refresh the page, and your tab should look something like thisHTML source image

For Opera - Press CTRL + U. You can also right-click on the webpage and select “View Page Source.

  1. You can also view the page source with elements in Opera by clicking the "O" button on the page, which appears in the upper-left corner of your browser. Scroll down the menu and click "Developer tools." Opera
  2. Scroll down the menu and click "Developer tools." Developer tools
  3. Then, click the "Elements" tab, which opens up a new menu on the right side of the screen.click the "Elements" tab
  4. If this menu doesn't appear, you may have to choose more tools and show the developer menu.
  5. You can also use "F12" or "Control" + "Shift" + "I" to access the developer tool, which allows you to make real-time changes to coding.

Mac

Safari: View Page Source Code

  1. Once you've enabled the Develop menu, there are several ways to view the page source in Safari.
  2. Open any website in Safari and right-click the blank space on the page. Now, select "Show Page Source." You can also get to this menu by using the keyboard shortcut Option+Command+u.Show Page Source
  1. Browsing the Internet with Safari makes it easy for the user to locate illustrations and other visual aids present on the page of interest. Additionally, several directories exist, like Images and Fonts, located in the sidebar on the left side of the screen. If you need pictures of your choice, click on the “Images” folder.click on the “Images”
  2. Once you've selected an image, you can easily view its details by opening the details sidebar. To do this, click the button at the top right of the console, just below the gear icon. You can also use the shortcut Option+Command+0 to open the details sidebar.Open the details sidebar
  3. Click "Resource" at the top of the details sidebar to view details, such as the size of the image and its full URL.
  4. One can easily change the console position in the page source. Two buttons are in the top left corner of the console, next to the X button. Dragging them with a rectangular icon will move them to a different side of the browser window as the console is shifted.change the console position
  5. You can click the two-rectangle icon to open the page source console in a separate window. This will detach the console and open it in a separate window.open the page source console in a separate window
  6. If you want to see the code of a specific element on the page, right-click that element and select "Inspect Element." This will take you immediately to that selected element's code.Inspect Element

Firefox

  1. The easiest method for viewing the page source is to right-click and select “Page Source.”Page Source
  2. Alternatively, you can navigate to the “Tools” menu, select “Web Developer,” and click on “Page Source.” The keyboard shortcut is Command + U.Select “Web Developer"Firefox
  1. Type about:config in the address bar of the Firefox browser and press Enter.about:config
  2. Next,  click on “Accept the Risk and Continue” button to open Firefox’s hidden secret advanced configuration page i.e. about:config page.Accept the Risk and Continue
    • Now type view_source in the Search filter, double-click on the option, and set it to “false” if you want to the source code to open in a new window or “true” if you want it in a new tab.view_source

      Chrome: View Page Source

      1. First, click on “Navigate”
      2. Next, go to “View,” and click on “Developer.” 
      3. Finally, click on “View Source” and you should see the editor below:

      Note: Do not right-click on a photo

      You also can right-click and select “View Page Source.” The keyboard shortcut is Option+Command+U.

      What is Source Code exactly, and How Does it Influence my Website?

      Simply put, the set of instructions written by a programmer in a programming language, such as Java, PHP, Python, etc., to command a website to behave a certain way is the “source code.” Sometimes, coders may add notes or commentary along the code’s length to help the developers streamline the website creation process.

      Is Viewing Source Code legal?

      Source code is considered as much a copyrightable intellectual property of the creator as any piece of literary work. Although viewing the source code is not an offense per se, copying it entirely or as a whole is. However, since copyrighting demands transcribing the entire work in documentation, which can fall into the hands of malicious elements, developers use patent and trade law to protect the secrets of their code. Various other remedies exist for source code protection, including:

      • Registering your software copyright through an intellectual property deposit 
      • Registering the copyright via a specialist third-party
      • Write a detailed license agreement for your website
      • Regularly perform security checks according to your regional cybersecurity recommendations

      source code

      Suppose you, as a developer or a website owner, suspect plagiarism of your site’s source code. In that case, you can claim damages after proving that your site has been copied, used, translated, or exploited without your consent.

      Why is Viewing Source Code Important?

      Your website’s source code can impact its SEO performance, user experience, and security. Viewing source code can be a preliminary audit for any performance lags, supplemented with a tool to probe deeper.

      You can also “reverse engineer” your competitor’s source code to check and compare the features of their websites. If you’re unsure which features you can check, here are some starting points:

      Title Tags

      Title tags are HTML codes that enable you to give your web page a title. Since they play a decisive role in helping your website rank on search engines, not including them or creating them poorly could lead to SEO issues.

      Title Tags

      Your title tag and meta description would look something like this on Google Chrome:

      Sample of title tag and meta description

      Additionally, you can follow the steps for viewing source code on Chrome to analyze the title tag as shown below:

      Steps for viewing source code

      Your site's URL, hN tags, ALT attributes, title tags, meta descriptions, and inbound and outbound links contribute to its SERP performance.

      Meta Description

      Another SEO essential is a meta description within your HTML code's head section. Meta descriptions outline what your site visitors can expect upon clicking a link. Thus, meta-descriptions are the “deciding factors” on which your site’s page view sessions or bounce rates hinge. Make sure that all your web pages have a meta description, but they are not duplicated across the board. Some additional points to consider include:

      • Your meta description should be within your HTML code's <head> section.
      • Remove duplicate title tags and meta descriptions.
      • When using a content management system such as WordPress, recheck duplicity errors. 

      Search Engines Optimization mistakes to avoid

      When all’s well, your meta description should appear like this in Chrome’s source code.

      Page Security

      Click on “Dev Tools” and check the following elements on your website to ensure they are secure. 

      Click on “Dev Tools”

      • A secure certificate
      • A valid HTTPS
      • Encrypted and authenticated connection

      Certificate Viewer

      • Securely reserved resources

      Rendering of Main Elements

      You must know Document Object Model specifications for HTML and XML documents to confirm that your site’s elements look exactly how you want them to. DOM elements are a breakdown of the page’s source code from the user’s point of view. You can check the web page's source code to access the DOM tree and its subsequent DOM elements. 

      Rendering of Main Elements

      Document Object Model

      Elements

      If you note that a particular section does not render properly in the DOM, you can have it fixed.

      Check Scripts

      Although you may want to add scripts to your web page to boost its functionality, you must know that adding too many of them can slow your page’s loading time, thus increasing your bounce rate. Ensure the following parameters  when it comes to scripts on your website:

      • They should be at the bottom of the page, near the <body> tag of the HTML code
      • Have all scripts in a single .js (JavaScript) file linked to the HTML at the bottom of your page
      • Ensure that your tracking code (from Facebook or Google tag) is properly installed
      • Check if your HTML is hacked by identifying strange scripts on your page source

      This is how your HTML’s script looks on the web page source

      HTML’s script looks on the web page source

      Check Hidden Files

      Check your HTML’s “display: none” property to see files that should not be hidden but still are. Usually, these files are combined with Javascript or SEO specialists to boost your site’s ranking and functionality. Sometimes, content gets mistakenly hidden. However, hidden content can emanate from plugins installed by dishonest agents to enable your site to manipulate search engines for ranking better. Also, CSS can be manipulated via:

      • Content outside the viewable area
      • White font on a white background
      • Masked divs
      • Invisible text

      How can you check these hidden files to ascertain whether or not they are malicious? Simple, view your source code and then press the following:

      1. Cmd+Opt+F (Mac)
      2. Ctrl+F (Linux)
      3. Ctrl+shift+F (Windows)

      Check Hidden Files

      Enter "hidden" or "display: none" in the search bar to reveal all hidden files. If this function/style is unwanted, consult your developer to reverse it.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      1. Can I view the Android source code?

      Yes indeed! You only have to access the Android Open Source Project(AOSP) repository, where the Android source code is on Git. On the other hand, however, it can be examined online or downloaded onto any individual personal computer to view it more clearly and even achieve some modifications if necessary. It is a limitless path for anybody interested in creating new content on the site. This can be interpreted in several ways, as there are diverse opinions regarding how this technology can be used.

      2. How do you open source code in Android?

      AOSP grants various methods for finding the source code, including using Git instructions on their portal. First, one duplicates the store to a nearby drive, after which they can select what they wish from it before downloading this repository. Otherwise, you may surf this database at their online portal site at developers.android.com/open-source.

      In addition, Android Studio, the official integrated development environment for Android application development, possesses features for viewing and navigating the source code of Android applications. Thus, you can analyze the source code of Android apps with Android Studio, look at various files, and understand the project structure and how the app was created.

      3. How do you view source code on an iPhone?

      Apple’s closed ecosystem policies make it difficult to access the source code on an iPhone. Unlike Android, viewing the iOS source code directly is impossible. Nevertheless, reverse engineering tools such as class-dump or Hopper Disassembler may be used for third-party iOS application analysis. By doing so, developers will get an in-depth understanding of how these apps are built, thus revealing the code structure or functionality (inside). Note that reverse engineering must be done legally.

      4. How do I open source code in Google?

      To see the source code that Google uses in its products, you can use public open-source repositories that Google maintains on sites like GitHub or its public repositories. For example, Github hosts numerous Google-released projects, including highly demanded ones like TensorFlow and Chromium. Examining these repositories allows you to understand the code base, work with more programmers, and improve any project.

      5. How do you open source code from APK?

      Decompiling an APK (Android application package) extracts the source code. Specialized tools such as JADX or Apktool convert the compiled bytecode into code humans can read. By doing this, developers can examine the Android app's underlying source code, giving them a better understanding of how it works and how it’s organized.

      6. How do you get the source code for a mobile app?

      Getting the source code of a mobile application usually means finding the various procedures of contacting the application maker to ask for access or checking if it is available under some free software license (open-source). When the app falls into the open source category, you may find all required codes on GitHub or GitLab, among other platforms usually available to the general public. On the other hand, someone may employ very sophisticated methods of extracting these codes through reverse engineering processes in cases where the app was closed off during its creation, specifying only basic functionalities or containing some bugs/errors.

      7. Can I use open-source code in my app?

      You may use open-source software in your application as the open-source license outlines. Since some (licenses) contain specific requirements for assignment/distribution/alteration, it is necessary to carefully read and truly understand each item contained within your favorite type of license file.

      Conclusion: Leverage your Website’s Source Code to Boost Performance

      Now that you clearly understand the source code, how to view it, and its legal ramifications, you can routinely use its access to improve your site’s performance. With Chrome’s DevTools, you can leverage endless possibilities to redesign and refine your site for maximum performance. Viewing your page source code at a glance can help you perform a preliminary SEO, UX, cybersecurity, and other types of audit. However, you need to contact an agency specializing in these services for a more comprehensive deep dive of an audit into your site.

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