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UnderStrap WordPress Theme Framework


Child Theme Project:


I’m a huge fan of Underscores, Bootstrap, and Sass. Why not combine these into a solid WordPress Theme Framework? That’s what UnderStrap is. You can use it as starter theme and build your own theme on top of it. Or you use it as parent theme and create your own child theme for UnderStrap.


UnderStrap WordPress Theme, Copyright 2013-2017 Holger Koenemann UnderStrap is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL version 2


See changelog

Basic Features

  • Combines Underscore’s PHP/JS files and Bootstrap’s HTML/CSS/JS.
  • Comes with Bootstrap (v4) Sass source files and additional .scss files. Nicely sorted and ready to add your own variables and customize the Bootstrap variables.
  • Uses a single and minified CSS file for all the basic stuff.
  • Font Awesome integration (v4.7.0)
  • Jetpack ready.
  • WooCommerce support.
  • Contact Form 7 support.
  • Child Theme ready.
  • Translation ready.

Starter Theme + HTML Framework = WordPress Theme Framework

The _s theme is a good starting point to develop a WordPress theme. But it is “just” a raw starter theme. That means it outputs all the WordPress stuff correctly but without any layout or design. Why not add a well known and supported layout framework to have a solid, clean and responsive foundation? That’s where Bootstrap comes in.

Confused by All the CSS and Sass Files?

Some basics about the Sass and CSS files that come with UnderStrap:

  • The theme itself uses the /style.cssfile just to identify the theme inside of WordPress. The file is not loaded by the theme and does not include any styles.

  • The /css/theme.css and its minified little brother /css/theme.min.css file(s) provides all styles. It is composed of five different SCSS sets and one variable file at /sass/theme.scss:

                - 1 "theme/theme_variables";  // <--------- Add your variables into this file. Also add variables to overwrite Bootstrap or UnderStrap variables here
                - 2 "../src/bootstrap-sass/assets/stylesheets/bootstrap";  // <--------- All the Bootstrap stuff - Don´t edit this!
                - 3 "understrap/understrap"; // <--------- Some basic WordPress stylings and needed styles to combine Boostrap and Underscores
                - 4 "../src/fontawesome/scss/font-awesome"; // <--------- Font Awesome Icon styles
                // Any additional imported files //
                - 5 "theme/theme";  // <--------- Add your styles into this file
  • Don’t edit the files no. 2-4 files/filesets or you won’t be able to update it without overwriting your own work!

  • Your design goes into: /sass/theme. Add your styles to the /sass/theme/_theme.scss file and your variables to the /sass/theme/_theme_variables.scss. Or add other .scss files into it and @import it into /sass/theme/_theme.scss.


Classic install

  • Download the understrap folder from GitHub or from
  • IMPORTANT: If you download it from GitHub make sure you rename the "" file just to "" or you might have problems using child themes !!
  • Upload it into your WordPress installation subfolder here: /wp-content/themes/
  • Login to your WordPress backend
  • Go to Appearance → Themes
  • Activate the UnderStrap theme

npm install

  • Open your terminal
  • Change to the directory where you want to add UnderStrap
  • Type npm install understrap install

  • Open your WordPress backend
  • Click on "Appearance -> Themes"
  • Hit the "Add new" button
  • Search for "UnderStrap"
  • Hit the "install" button
  • Activate the theme

Developing With npm, Gulp and SASS and [Browser Sync][1]

Installing Dependencies

  • Make sure you have installed Node.js and Browser-Sync* (* optional, if you wanna use it) on your computer globally
  • Then open your terminal and browse to the location of your UnderStrap copy
  • Run: $ npm install


To work and compile your Sass files on the fly start:

  • $ gulp watch

Or, to run with Browser-Sync:

  • First change the browser-sync options to reflect your environment in the file /gulpfile.js in the beginning of the file:
var browserSyncOptions = {
    proxy: "localhost/theme_test/", // <----- CHANGE HERE
    notify: false
  • then run: $ gulp watch-bs

How to Use the Build-In Widget Slider

The front-page slider is widget driven. Simply add more than one widget to widget position “Hero”.

  • Click on Appearance → Widgets.
  • Add two, or more, widgets of any kind to widget area “Hero”.
  • That’s it.

RTL styles?

Just add a new file to the themes root folder called rtl.css. Add all alignments to this file according to this description:

Page Templates

Blank Template

The blank.php template is useful when working with various page builders and can be used as a starting blank canvas.

Empty Template

The empty.php template displays a header and a footer only. A good starting point for landing pages.

Full Width Template

The fullwidthpage.php template has full width layout without a sidebar.

[1] Visit for more information on Browser Sync

Licenses & Credits