How to Use Bootstrap in WordPress: A Helpful Guide

The average smartphone user spends more than three hours a day online, and nearly half of all smartphone users check their phones before they even get out of bed. More people now access the Internet on mobile devices than on desktop or laptop computers for shopping, entertainment, as well as information – and to reach these users, websites need to be mobile friendly.

WordPress users can choose from an array of mobile responsive themes and plugins to ensure that web content displays correctly on screens of all sizes, but you can also create your own mobile responsive WordPress theme with Bootstrap, a free mobile-first framework that can be integrated into any WordPress installation. To learn more on how to use Bootstrap in WordPress, read our comprehensive guide below.

What Is Bootstrap WordPress?

Frameworks are basic structures that can serve as the foundation for building a custom website and theme to meet a variety of different needs, and they can make the development process faster and more accurate, since the entire site doesn’t have to be coded from scratch and can build on the quality code provided within the framework.

Bootstrap is a framework for developing mobile responsive websites quickly and easily. It’s a free, fully designed front-end framework that includes a set of HTML and CSS elements for creating custom features such as typography, navigation bars, and buttons, and it also works with a number of optional JavaScript plugins for more functionality with a responsive layout. Bootstrap and WordPress are both free to download and customize and are supported by a worldwide community of developers.

Beginning with Bootstrap 3, Bootstrap incorporates mobile responsiveness in its core code and is fully customizable. This makes it easy for users with a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS to build responsive sites natively, without the need for adding responsive functions from external sources, such as plugins.

Bootstrap can also be used to create mobile-responsive, custom WordPress themes. Although the Bootstrap framework was not designed for WordPress compatibility, it can be integrated into an existing WordPress site and its CSS styling elements can be applied to the WordPress core code. In this way, users with some knowledge of HTML can add both custom theme elements and mobile responsiveness to a WordPress site with this flexible and fast CSS styling framework.

How to Get Bootstrap

The latest version of Bootstrap is free to download from getbootstrap.com, and like WordPress, it can be used and modified in any way by any user. The basic Bootstrap setup comes with three main files – a CSS framework, a JavaScript/jQuery framework, and an icon font set called glyphicons.

To function fully as a site builder, Bootstrap needs jQuery, a popular JavaScript library that gives JavaScript cross-browser compatibility and supports its extensive library of plugins. But if you’re using Bootstrap to build a mobile responsive theme into a custom WordPress site, you can use the CSS framework alone without the need to add JavaScript elements.

Bootstrap’s home site also includes options for building your own custom version of Bootstrap by mixing and matching from a long list of CSS, Component, and JavaScript files that can be included in your version. Custom Bootstrap can also include numerous jQuery plugins that extend the functionality of Bootstrap with carousels, advanced buttons, and more. Once you’ve selected the features you want from the many available menus, simply download the result and you’re ready to add Bootstrap to your custom WordPress site. If you have an existing Bootstrap configuration, you can upload it to Bootstrap’s home site, add the features you want, and download the new version for use on your site.

Integrating Bootstrap Into WordPress

WordPress themes establish the appearance and layout of a WordPress site by adding a set of HTML and CSS style sheets onto the framework that is defined by the WordPress core code. Themes can be created by anyone with a knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP, the programming language used to develop the WordPress core code, and these are also needed to create a responsive theme using Bootstrap.

WordPress themes of all kinds include a file called style.css, which contains all the styling for the theme and its meta information. This file is supported by the main WordPress theme file, called index.php. To integrate Bootstrap files into the main WordPress files, you’ll need to navigate to wp-content  > themes and create a new folder for the Bootstrap theme. Give this new theme folder a name.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to duplicate all the required files for creating a WordPress theme of any kind and place them in the folder for your Bootstrap theme. Then, the Bootstrap code can be copied into those files and modified as needed to get the right elements and style into the theme. This way, it’s possible to override the existing styles in Bootstrap in favor of new versions, and there is no need to modify Bootstrap’s core code.

When all the files needed for building the Bootstrap theme have been added to the theme’s folders and installed in the site’s main theme folder, the theme can be activated like any other and managed through the website’s admin dashboard.

Bootstrap Plugins for WordPress

Like any other WordPress theme, Bootstrap works with a number of WordPress-friendly plugins that can be used to add a range of other functions for site-specific purposes. Bootstrap plugins can help users manage e-commerce issues, such as setting prices and showcasing products on the small screen. Other plugins allow users to create mobile-ready elements like menus and forms. Some SEO-friendly plugins can also be used to help boost and optimize blog posts or articles. Plugins can even help users manage the fully customizable components of Bootstrap itself.

Mobile use dominates the Internet, so making your WordPress site mobile responsive is a smart business move. With Bootstrap and a little knowledge of coding, any WordPress site can look its best, no matter what kind of device it’s on.

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