The quick answer to the question of Bootstrap vs WordPress is, in terms of sheer numbers, WordPress is used on more websites than Bootstrap, so WordPress wins, if that’s the kind of answer you want. However, the problem with this comparison is we’re asking the wrong question.
Apples vs Oranges
I love Bootstrap and I love WordPress. Bootstrap and WordPress serve two different functions and either one can stand fine on its own, but they also work well together. Bootstrap vs WordPress isn’t a good question because you can build a site with both, either one singly, or neither. For example, this blog, salferrarello.com, uses both WordPress and Bootstrap.
Note: If this section title makes no sense to you, you have my apologies. It is a reference to an idiom in English, comparing apples and oranges, which refers to comparing two items that are illogical to compare.
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). It allows you to create new pages, upload images, adjust which items appear in your menu, and do a host of other tasks related to the content of your website.
WordPress without Bootstrap
WordPress manages the content on your website and uses a theme to determine how that content is displayed. The Theme is the presentation layer of your website. The Theme controls things like how the content is arranged, the colors of your text, what buttons look like, and how your site changes when viewed on a mobile device (eg: three columns collapse to one column, your big menu changes to a little icon, etc). You’ll notice these are the same types of responsibilities addressed by Bootstrap. You don’t need Bootstrap as part of your theme. You can use another front-end framework or instead create all the rules and behaviors yourself. There are lots of WordPress themes that do a terrific job without using Bootstrap, including default themes (Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Fourteen, etc).
Bootstrap without WordPress
WordPress is not your only option for Content Management Systems (CMS) and, if you want to edit all the HTML yourself, you don’t even need a CMS. If using an alternate CMS or no CMS at all, you can still use the Bootstrap front-end framework.
How to Use WordPress and Bootstrap Together
There are lots of ways to use WordPress and Bootstrap together. I use my Bootstrap Genesis starter theme on this site, which requires the WordPress Genesis Theme. This setup gives me a great starting point for building custom themes for clients.
For a turnkey solution, you can download a free Bootstrap theme from WordPress.org or you can purchase a Bootstrap WordPress theme from your vendor of choice.
If you’re planning to build a theme and trying to decide if Bootstrap is the right choice for you, you might want to read about Why I Build WordPress Themes with Bootstrap.
Why I Wrote this Post
While reviewing Google Webmaster tools I noticed a lot of searches for “Bootstrap vs WordPress”. As I’ve discussed, the “vs” isn’t so appropriate and I wanted to address this. I’d love to hear about your views on WordPress, Bootstrap, and the two of them together.