Let’s Explore The Key Differences Between Bootstrap 3 and 4

In case you are just starting on Bootstrap or wondering what it is, it is an open-source framework used in creating websites and apps. It is said to be the most popular CSS, HTML and JS framework for developing responsive sites. It was first introduced in 2011 August the 19th. Any website or application that can be designed by Bootstrap is compatible with Android as well as iOS. Before diving into the differences in Bootstrap 4 vs 3, let’s have a sneak-pick of what the two are about.

About Bootstrap 3

With the new release of Bootstrap 3, a few things almost beg to be noticed. For example, this made Bootstrap go mobile as it became a mobile-first framework and also responsive. What this means is that the Grid and the CSS layout focus on tinier screens like those of mobiles and Smartphone. On these screens, it is almost impossible to use more than one column. However, it arranges all the elements to be stacked on top of each other on the small screen. This one column layout scales up to become horizontal on larger screens.

bootstrap 3 vs 4

The grid system is also d, and now, it comes in a flat design. In the initial versions, one could either use a fluid grid or a standard fixed grid system. However, on bootstrap 3, the new grid system uses padding in place of margins and percentages in place of pixels.

About Bootstrap 4

In 29th October 2014, the creator of Bootstrap announced the fourth version of Bootstrap being in development. Bootstrap 4’s first ever Beta version was released on August 19, 2015, while the better version was released on August the 10th 2017. In 2018 January the 18, Bootstrap released what is considered its most stable version of Bootstrap 4. It can be seen that the company, getbootstrap.com is working tirelessly to improve and also improvise the interface to make it more appealing. This goes a long way helping a large variety of developers the world over.

Various Differences between the Two Versions

1.    Navigation

In the latest version, the navigation component is much simpler than in Bootstrap 3. In version 4, you are required to create a new list of elements by employing the new nav base class. Here you will notice a few additions such as nav-link class, navigation bar styles and the nav-item class.

2.    The Grid system

Bootstrap 4 insists more on customization, and therefore, its new grid tier system has up to 5 grid tiers. This is not the case with version 3 as mentioned earlier in its introduction. This clearly suggests that Bootstrap 4, with its advanced grid system, has a competitive edge over version 3’s grid system.

3.    The Looks

One might argue that there are not many changes in the appearance of both versions. However, there are a few changes like the altered font implementation size. The background color and primary context color are just some poignant changes. On top of that, the version 4 framework stopped shipping with Glyphicons; thus it is now lightweight and needs manual integration and some alternatives.

4.    Flexbox

Flexbox is a layout model that makes it easy for one to form complex layouts with ease. It is used when you want to scale elements or apply advanced alignment capabilities like vertical and horizontal. Flexbox, in Bootstrap 3 does not do away with the already existing page layout. This feature has been adapted in Bootstrap 4.

5.    Reboot

Bootstrap 3 used Normalize.css when rendering all HTML elements their consistent appearance. This has as well been adapted by Bootstrap 4; however, they have adopted a somewhat enhanced version of the Normalize.css which is Reboot.

6.    Sass and Less

In version 4, there is a CSS source file update from LESS to SAAS. This is yet another significant difference between Bootstrap 3 and 4. SAAS, in Bootstrap 4 is without more potent than LESS. It also comes with useful functionalities such as nested media queries, extend, em, re, loop, mixing, logical operators and much more. LESS, on the other hand, is simple to learn it, meaning that if you are starting in web designing and open-source framework; you will need less time to learn. The options for compiling SAAS to CSS are far and wide too.


From the comparison above, it is evident that when you compare Bootstrap 3 vs 4, it turns out that version 4 comes with more superior features. Even the few that it borrows from the earlier version it enhances them more to makes them handy. In short, there are many improvements in the typography, style, layouts and much more. At the Bootstrap’s official website, you will learn more about these differences and similarities to figure out which one suits your needs. 

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Donna Small

Passionate about science and knowledge, so I am always reading, looking for new information and learning. Since I was a little girl I was very curious, so I decided to become a writer, to discover and understand the world.

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