How Popular is Bootstrap in 2018?

| Web Design

Back in mid-2013, I wrote a post called, "The Bootstrap Boom is Just Getting Started". Looking at the statistics, it was clear that Bootstrap was on its way to becoming very popular indeed.

3 years later, we looked again and saw that Bootstrap was growing even faster than we predicted.

Now in 2018, I decided to take another look. If you believe the official Bootstrap website, things are still going great:

  • "The world's most popular front-end component library"
  • "The most popular HTML, CSS, and JS library in the world"

Are those claims correct? Is Bootstrap still as dominant as they claim? Let's look at the numbers ...

How many websites are using Bootstrap?

Let's start with a caveat: you can't always trust 3rd party statistics when it comes to software use. But, they are the best data we'll get and we probably can trust their year-on-year trends.

Although historical numbers aren't available on the BuiltWith site, we recorded them in our previous posts:

  • In 2013, Bootstrap ran 1.6% of the top million sites.
  • In 2016, Bootstrap ran 15.7%.
  • In 2018, Bootstrap now runs 18%.

Overall, BuiltWith shows around 18 million websites using Bootstrap. If you believe BuiltWith's numbers, Bootstrap is still growing, although not as quickly as in previous years. 

built with

BuiltWith gives Bootstrap a 72% share of the framework market. Wappalyzer shows Bootstrap with a 52% share amongst web frameworks. 

wappalyzer frameworks


What explains Bootstrap's popularity?

First and foremost, Bootstrap has great developer adoption. It is the most starred repo on Github.

github bootstrap

However, it's clear that a large portion of Bootstrap's growth has come thanks to integration with other software.

For example, Bootstrap is baked into the Joomla 3 core and will be in Joomla 4 as well. However, Bootstrap also dominates when it is not the default choice. You'll also find numerous Bootstrap themes for Magento, eZ Publish, Typo3 and more. Even platforms like Shopify now have hundreds of Bootstrap designs available.

Let's take a look at Bootstrap usage in WordPress and Drupal:


Bootstrap's popularity in WordPress

In the WordPress world, I've been counting the number of Bootstrap-based themes on WordPress.org:

  • January 2013: 4 themes
  • Mid-2013: 30 themes
  • 2016: 250 themes
  • 2018: 420 themes

That is substantial growth in the WordPress world. There are even over 950 plugins that claim to use Bootstrap, although I suspect many more use it with explicitly saying so.

On the commercial side of WordPress, Bootstrap is also growing quickly. Back in 2016, ThemeForest had 2,500 Bootstrap themes for WordPress. That number is now over 6,600.


Bootstrap's popularity in Drupal

The most popular Drupal 8 theme is Bootstrap. It has over 160,000 installs, about twice as much as the second most popular theme. However, I think that vastly underestimates how popular the Bootstrap theme is now. Take a look at the growth of the Bootstrap theme. Using Drupal.org's stats, you can see that the theme now has over 45,000 Drupal 8 installs.

bootstrap usage drupal

In contrast, look at the other popular themes on Drupal.org. All of them are seeing declining usage. This image below shows the usage Adaptive Theme, the second most popular Drupal 8 theme. Adaptive Theme has only 4,000 Drupal 8 installs, compared to 50,000 for Bootstrap.

adaptive usage drupal

In fact, no other Drupal 8 theme has more than 4,000 installs. Bootstrap is literally 10 times more popular than any other Drupal 8 theme. Here are the install numbers for the top ten Drupal 8 themes:

  1. Bootstrap: 45,000
  2. Adaptive: 4,000
  3. Zymphonies: 4,000
  4. Zurb: 4,000
  5. Nexus: 2,900
  6. Mayo: 2,000
  7. Business: 1,800
  8. Bootstrap Business ... based on Bootstrap, of course.
  9. Parallax: 1,700
  10. Bario ... a Bootstrap subtheme.

After spending an afternoon looking at all this Drupal.org data, I'm going to make a big claim ... I would not be surprised if Bootstrap is more popular than all the other Drupal 8 themes combined.

All-in-all, there are around 200,000 Drupal 8 websites, and at least 20% of them use Bootstrap. 

In my experience, a majority of Drupal 8 sites use a custom theme or a headless setup. So even at 20% of all Drupal 8 sites, Bootstrap can power the majority of sites using off-the-shelf themes.

Finally, as with WordPress, it's not only themes that rely on Bootstrap. There are also over 300 Drupal modules providing Bootstrap-related features.


Conclusion

You'll notice that I didn't talk at all about Bootstrap's pros and cons. That's a topic for another post. 

But I think it's clear that Bootstrap remains the most popular design framework on the web today. It's been that way for several years now and it really has no close competitors:

  • 18% of all websites.
  • Between 52% and 72% market share amongst frameworks.
  • The most popular code repo in Github.
  • Used on all Joomla sites.
  • Used on 20% of Drupal 8 sites.

You can file Bootstrap alongside other giants of the web such as PHP and WordPress. Many people love them and many people love to hate them. But they are massively popular and are foundational pillars of the web.

If you want to learn Bootrap 4, check out this video class in the OSTraining library.


About the author

Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.