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Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework for rapid UI development. It provides a set of pre-built CSS classes that make it easy to create responsive designs and custom components. In this guide, we will walk you through adding Tailwind CSS to your WordPress project and show you how to use it effectively.

Overview of Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS has gained popularity in recent years for its utility-first design approach, which allows developers to create custom designs quickly and with minimal code. It is a highly customizable framework that provides a solid foundation for building responsive websites and applications. You can learn more about Tailwind CSS here.

Benefits of using Tailwind CSS in WordPress projects

Using Tailwind CSS in your WordPress projects can provide several benefits, including:

  1. Speed up development time by leveraging pre-built utility classes.
  2. Create a consistent look and feel across your website.
  3. Easily maintain and update your styles.

Tailwind CSS and utility-first design approach

The utility-first design approach is a core principle of Tailwind CSS. It involves using small, reusable utility classes to build your styles, rather than writing custom CSS for each element. This approach encourages consistency, reduces code bloat, and makes it easier to maintain and update your styles.

Installing Tailwind CSS

Setting Up a WordPress Environment

Before you can start adding Tailwind CSS to your WordPress project, you'll need to set up a local development environment. Some popular options for setting up a local WordPress environment include:

  1. Local by Flywheel - A user-friendly, cross-platform tool for creating local WordPress installations.
  2. MAMP - A macOS and Windows application for setting up a local web server.
  3. WAMP - A Windows-based tool for creating local web servers.

Choose the tool that works best for you and follow the installation instructions provided by the respective documentation.

Installing Node.js and npm

Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager) are essential tools for managing project dependencies like Tailwind CSS. To install Node.js and npm, follow the instructions on the official Node.js website.

Installing Tailwind CSS via npm

To install Tailwind CSS, follow these steps:

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt and navigate to your WordPress project's root directory.
  2. Run npm init -y to create a new package.json file in your project directory.
  3. Install Tailwind CSS by running npm install tailwindcss.

Configuring Tailwind CSS in WordPress

Creating a Custom Theme

To use Tailwind CSS in your WordPress project, you'll need to create a custom theme. Follow these steps to set up a basic custom theme:

  1. In your WordPress installation's wp-content/themes/ directory, create a new folder named my-tailwind-theme.
  2. Inside the my-tailwind-theme folder, create three essential theme files: style.css, index.php, and functions.php.

Setting Up PostCSS

PostCSS is a powerful tool that allows you to process your CSS using JavaScript plugins. To set up PostCSS for your project, follow these steps:

  1. Install PostCSS and its required plugins by running npm install postcss postcss-cli autoprefixer.
  2. In your project's root directory, create a new file called postcss.config.js.
  3. Add the following configuration to the postcss.config.js file:
module.exports = {
  plugins: {
    tailwindcss: {},
    autoprefixer: {},

Setting Up Tailwind CSS Configuration

To customize Tailwind CSS for your project, you'll need to create a configuration file. Follow these steps:

  1. In your project's root directory, run npx tailwindcss init to generate a tailwind.config.js file.
  2. Open the tailwind.config.js file and customize the configuration as needed. For example:
module.exports = {
  purge: [],
  darkMode: false,
  theme: {
    extend: {
      colors: {
        // Custom colors go here
      fontFamily: {
        // Custom fonts go here
      spacing: {
        // Custom spacing values go here
  variants: {},
  plugins: [],

Enqueuing the Compiled CSS File

To use your Tailwind CSS styles in WordPress, you'll need to compile your CSS and enqueue it in your theme. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a new file called src/tailwind.css in your project's root directory.
  2. Add the following imports to src/tailwind.css:
@import 'tailwindcss/base';
@import 'tailwindcss/components';
@import 'tailwindcss/utilities';
  1. Compile your Tailwind CSS by running npx postcss src/tailwind.css -o dist/tailwind.css.
  2. Open your functions.php file and enqueue the compiled CSS file by adding the following code:
function my_tailwind_theme_styles() {
  wp_enqueue_style('tailwind', get_template_directory_uri() . '/dist/tailwind.css');
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_tailwind_theme_styles');

Using Tailwind CSS in Your WordPress Theme

Applying Tailwind CSS Styles to Theme Elements

Now that you've configured Tailwind CSS, you can use its utility classes to style your theme elements, such as headers, navigation, sidebars, content areas, and footers. For example, you can style a header using the following markup:

<header class="bg-blue-500 text-white p-4">
  <h1 class="text-4xl font-bold">My WordPress Site</h1>

Responsive Design with Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS provides built-in support for responsive design using breakpoints. You can use these breakpoints to create responsive designs for various devices. For example, to apply different font sizes based on screen width, use the following markup:

<h1 class="text-sm sm:text-base md:text-lg lg:text-xl xl:text-2xl">Responsive Heading</h1>

Custom Components with Tailwind CSS

By combining utility classes, you can create reusable components, such as buttons, cards, and forms. For example, to create a custom button component, use the following markup:

<button class="bg-blue-500 text-white px-4 py-2 rounded hover:bg-blue-700">My Custom Button</button>

Advanced Tailwind CSS Techniques in WordPress

Using Tailwind CSS with Gutenberg Blocks

You can apply Tailwind CSS styles to Gutenberg blocks by adding custom CSS classes in the block editor. To create custom block styles with Tailwind CSS, follow WordPress's official guide.

Creating Custom WordPress Plugins with Tailwind CSS

To create custom WordPress plugins with Tailwind CSS, follow these steps:

  1. Set up a custom WordPress plugin following the official plugin development guide.
  2. Follow the steps in this guide to integrate Tailwind CSS into your plugin, adjusting the file paths as needed for your plugin's structure.
  3. Apply Tailwind CSS styles to both frontend and backend plugin components using utility classes.

Purging Unused CSS for Performance

To improve site performance, it's essential to remove unused CSS from your compiled file. PurgeCSS can help you achieve this by scanning your files and removing any unused classes. Follow these steps to configure PurgeCSS with WordPress and Tailwind CSS:

  1. Install PurgeCSS by running npm install @fullhuman/postcss-purgecss.
  2. Update your postcss.config.js file to include the PurgeCSS plugin:
const purgecss = require('@fullhuman/postcss-purgecss');
module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    process.env.NODE_ENV === 'production' &&
        content: ['./**/*.php'],
        defaultExtractor: (content) => content.match(/[\\w-/:]+(?<!:)/g) || [],
        safelist: {
          standard: [/^wp-/],
  1. Re-compile your Tailwind CSS file using npx postcss src/tailwind.css -o dist/tailwind.css.


In this guide, we've covered how to add Tailwind CSS to a WordPress project, configure it, and use it to style your theme and plugins. By following this guide, you can leverage the benefits of using Tailwind CSS for your WordPress development, such as speeding up development time, creating consistent designs, and improving maintainability. We encourage you to continue exploring Tailwind CSS and the utility-first design approach to create custom and responsive WordPress websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Tailwind with WordPress?

Yes, you can use Tailwind CSS with WordPress by adding it to your custom theme or using a theme or plugin that supports Tailwind CSS out of the box.

Why not use Tailwind?

Some developers may prefer not to use Tailwind CSS because they might find it challenging to learn, feel it creates cluttered HTML, or prefer to use other CSS frameworks they are already familiar with. However, many developers appreciate Tailwind CSS for its utility-first approach, customizable design system, and its ability to boost productivity.

Is Tailwind really free?

Yes, Tailwind CSS is an open-source project, and it is free to use. You can find the source code on GitHub and contribute to its development if you wish.

Is Tailwind CSS actually good?

Tailwind CSS has gained popularity and a positive reputation among developers for several reasons. It encourages a utility-first approach, which can lead to faster development and less CSS code. It also provides a highly customizable design system, making it suitable for various projects. However, whether Tailwind CSS is suitable for you depends on your preferences and requirements as a developer.

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