LiveCanvas FAQ

LiveCanvas saves plain HTML inside the post_content field.

This results in zero customer lock-in, and in extreme speed when the page is served.

LiveCanvas will help you build clean and lean  Bootstrap  – based markup.

As a WordPress theme,  our own picostrap theme is heavily recommended for best results.

Picostrap, simply said, is the best way to experience Bootstrap and WordPress together: it allows you use WordPress Customizer to create your very own, fully  customized version of Bootstrap – set your own project colors, typography, styles…and generates a single minified CSS file.

It also removes loads of built in bloat from WordPress – and has an easy way to add SASS if you want to your CSS workflow.

Visit the picostrap theme’s website to know more about it.

It’s free and open source, and it was born forking the UnderStrap theme and melting it with CustomStrap, our former theme. Stripping out a LOT and  trying to keep things as DRY as possible. And some more decent starter templates.
It’s the reliable theme choice for your top performance WordPress-based stack.

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Many page builders can run out of the box on any given WordPress Theme.

From a technical point of view, this is very easy to achieve – as simply the page builder plugin will typically load it’s CSS library ON TOP of your Theme’s CSS – another source of bloat, duplication, disorder, and poor performance.

LiveCanvas has a different approach, for the sake of DRYness.

The LiveCanvas plugin assumes you are using a theme which is based on Bootstrap (v4 or v5) – and does NOT load ANY extra CSS or JS file.

So bloat is minimized – but there’s another interesting related fact.

If for some reason you want to switch off the page builder plugin, the site will still be there with LiveCanvas.

Not with any other page builder out there.

Recommended Themes

These are the  recommended themes that we suggest for having a powerful yet lightweight core:

1. Our micro starter theme, picostrap. Batteries included

Picostrap is a  fully free and  LiveCanvas-friendly minimal Bootstrap starter theme.

Released in early Nov 2020, we are actually at the third iteration of our theme, and it’s lighter and faster than ever.

It has some unique power tools for frontend developers, like a built-in SASS pipeline, and a “live reloading” tool – all without requiring to install command line tools.

It comes with a specific blank child theme so you have a safe place for your hacking.

It focuses on speed – delivering a lightweight yet fully featured integration of Bootstrap and WordPress. It will help you achieve good PageSpeed results without getting crazy – just keeping your pages reasonable, will be enough.

If you were used to CustomStrap, you’ll immediately feel at home with picostrap.

Why did we end up rewriting a theme for scratch?
Well times have changed; time to drop jQuery and embrace vanilla JS. Time to drop also FontAwesome and other icon fonts.

We recommend using picostrap on all your new projects. Read the picostrap introduction blog post or  check out the picostrap.com microsite.

Picostrap recently got WooCommerce compatibility so it’s a no-brainer choice.

Please consider that picostrap was born merging the best of Understrap and CustomStrap, which are the other Themes listed below, and adding some polish.

It’s current iteration, picostrap5, now comes with Bootstrap 5.

So you may consider the reading below on a different perspective.

2. UnderStrap: a vanilla starter theme

UnderStrap is a very solid and efficient open source WordPress starter Theme based on Bootstrap 4.

It’s the GitHub project that received most positive votes from worldwide developers in his league: WordPress and Bootstrap 4.

It’s Woocommerce-compatible, SASS command-line friendly, and includes a very basic and unopinionated styling – so you can “bend” it easily adding your own code if you want.

It lacks customization options, and it’s quite “geek” oriented – that’s why we created a child theme to add some sugar to it, CustomStrap.

It’s SASS pipeline is based on command-line tools that you should install to take profit of Bootstrap.

3. CustomStrap [legacy]

CustomStrap is our own former solution, and it comes as an UnderStrap child theme.

It’s free and open source as well. And it rocks.

While adding NO BLOAT to your pages (in fact removing some), it allows to customize the Bootstrap colors and variables without using the command line tools – thanks to its built-in SCSS compiler, directly via the WordPress Theme Customizer.

It adds some really nice options to UnderStrap – plus adding compatibility with the Custom Header & Custom Footer feature of LiveCanvas.

It does all this while keeping things lean and clean.

You can use it like it is or use it as a starter theme to build your perfect site with LiveCanvas.


4. Your own 100% custom theme

If you want to run LiveCanvas with your own custom WordPress Theme, you’re absolutely welcome to do it.

There are very few steps required:

  1. [mandatory] Your Theme must include the Bootstrap 4 or 5 CSS file – this should sound obvious.
  2. If you’re using Bootstrap version 5, please add to your functions.php file this code:
     function lc_theme_bootstrap_version() { return 5;}
  3. [recommended] Your Theme must include the Bootstrap JS files – if you need to have BS elements that need js support like carousels.
  4. [mandatory] Your Theme must have an “empty.php” empty page template called “empty” – this template should only call header and footer and the loop. No strange things. Should take a second to do, butchering your own page.php for example. Here is a sample code:
    /* Template Name: Empty */
    defined( 'ABSPATH' ) || exit;
    while ( have_posts() ) :
  5. [mandatory] The file above shall be placed in a directory of your theme called “page-templates” (so, mimicking the UnderStrap structure, eventual theme switches will be flawless without hacks)
  6. [not more necessary as from LC 1.6 now uses inline SVG icons] Your Theme must include FontAwesome 4.7 
  7. [mandatory] Your Theme must include the following line in the functions.php file to get rid of the annoying dialog recommending Picostrap:
 function lc_theme_is_livecanvas_friendly(){} 

As you see it’s really easy to make your theme work with LiveCanvas.

If you are a theme developer and feel like dropping a question, get in touch. We like having educated email chats with theme developers.



On another side

Upon first launch, the LiveCanvas plugin will check if one of the themes listed above is used, and show a message if this is not the case.

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No PHP code is allowed directly into LiveCanvas pages, but you can insert ordinary WordPress shortcodes – and there’s a nice helper to make the process smoother and “live”.
This way you can have dynamic elements inside  LiveCanvas pages – which to begin with are mostly a chunk of static HTML (albeit they can contain some inline JS and CSS if you wish).

How to insert Shortcodes in a LiveCanvas page

In the LiveCanvas Blocks browser open the  WordPress Integration panel > then choose the Shortcode element.
This way you can use any kind of WordPress plugin which leverages shortcodes – like most WP plugins do – and to instantly preview their output without saving the page.

A special shortcode: Get Posts

In the WordPress Integration panel there is also a tool to pull data from your site/ blog: Get Posts.

Implemented by a shortcode which is directly defined by LiveCanvas, this tool will basically display a posts loop in a neat and configurable way. It has a visual interface to build custom posts queries with all the parameters offered by WordPress. You can of course pull data from custom post types, filter posts by category, author, post_id, custom fields.

The outputted post listing  can be displayed as Bootstrap cards or within a plain HTML structure with configurable headings and class names, or with your own custom php callback function.

This feature has been introduced in version 1.24 and you can read more about in this post.

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LiveCanvas is basically a HTML editor under the hood –  running in your browser, and enriched with some “point-and-click” interface to help build HTML scaffolds.

LiveCanvas is using WordPress as a backend – to save the full HTML data of your page – and it does it into the standard post_content field.

On some WordPress installs, due to strict security settings of the environment, LiveCanvas can have problems while saving the HTML.

In these cases, upon clicking the saving button in the editor, you will see a ‘Saving Error’ pop-up.

Depending on the actual content of the page, you could see more or less this message. Embedding some image URLs, or JS code is a typical trigger.

This issue has been traced many times at:

  • Security [at application level] plugins like WordFence
  • Security [at server level] settings / tools  like Imunify 360

What’s happening behind the scenes?

Basically when you hit the save button, all the page’s <main> HTML is sent via $_POST to your WordPress backend.

This can trigger some false positives in security software.

What to do?

Try tweaking settings / disabling your security plugins, or in case of server level tools / settings, contact your host and ask them to tweak settings / disable the offending tool.

How to fix issues with  WordFence

Some users are reporting problems with this famous security plugin, but it’s easy to get around it.

If you do see that turning off WordFence fixes your saving problem with LiveCanvas, just look at the live traffic and when the request from LiveCanvas comes through, add it to a whitelist:

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Some times it’s useful to have a special page in your site which just works better without the header and footer – just the content at full display.

To achieve this, just go the WordPress page editing screen and select the template: Blank Page Template.

This way you can create immersive landing pages, informational pages, or whatever. As you see it’s very easy and you can revert your choice switching back to the Empty Page template.

Of course this information is relevant only if you’re using the UnderStrap theme,  or any child theme of it – like our own CustomStrap.

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