How to Find Free, High-Quality Images for Your Website

Camera on a table at the beach.

Images play a key role in enhancing the appeal of any website. Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or creative professional, using high-quality images on your website can elevate it and increase engagement among your readers.

Finding quality images without breaking the bank was once a challenge. However, today there are many platforms offering free images that you can easily use to boost your content and save money in the process.

Here we’ll profile some of the best resources for free images that won’t require you to compromise on quality. We’ll also briefly profile each platform’s licensing requirements so that you can be confident you’re using the images you download in a legal manner.

We found that plenty of free images are available with no strings attached. You won’t be required to credit the artist and you’ll be allowed to modify the images and use them commercially if you’d like.

One downside to using free images, however, is that they’ll appear on a lot of other websites. You can plug an image into Google’s Search by Image feature to find out where it appears on the web. Click on the camera in the search field and you’ll be given two choices. You can either search by pasting an image URL into the search field or uploading an image from your computer.

You’ll notice that free images appear on many websites at once, but every website is unique. If you focus on creating great content and include images that complement what you have to say, you’re likely to stand out in the crowd.

We particularly love Pixabay and Pexels for free images. These platforms place few restrictions on use and offer tons of beautiful photographs. We’ve profiled other great resources that we found below as well.


Pixabay is a great source for free, high-quality images, illustrations, and even videos. The site is composed of a community of creative people who share their work. (You can easily join the community and share your own images if you’d like.)

You can explore a wide variety of subjects and styles on Pixabay, making it suitable for any type of website.

All content on Pixabay is released under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which permits free and unrestricted use. Pixabay’s license can be found here.

All Pixabay images can be used for personal or commercial purposes, on a website and on social media. You don’t have to ask permission from the artist or give credit to them. In other words, no attribution is required.

Attribution is always welcome, however, and Pixabay encourages it. When you download an image, you’ll see a short line of text you can post on your website that links to the artist and Pixabay. You can also make a donation to the artist using PayPal.

If you want to download full-size images, Pixabay will usually ask you to register for a free account. It’s easy to do and requires very little information from you. An added benefit of registering for an account is you’ll no longer have to respond to the captcha that appears when you download an image, which asks you to confirm you’re not a robot.

At the bottom of any image download screen, you’ll see the original size of the image, date it was added to Pixabay, number of views, and number of downloads. You’ll also see a button for comments. If you created a free account, you can log in to see the comments people left about the image and leave a comment yourself.

All images uploaded by artists to Pixabay are rated by the community, and images need a good rating to appear on Pixabay. If you create a free account, you can participate in the rating process. Click on “Quality Rating” under your profile picture and images will load that you can rate. You can also click on “Recently Declined” to see images that were declined by the community.

Take a look at Pixabay’s image quality guidelines if you’re interested in sharing your images on Pixabay or want to learn more about what constitutes a high-quality image.

When you download a free image, you must download the image to your computer and then upload it to a server to use it. You can’t link directly to a Pixabay image from your website. That’s called “hotlinking” and it’s not allowed.

There are some restrictions on the use of Pixabay’s free images.

You can’t redistribute or sell an image as a digital stock photo or digital wallpaper. You also can’t redistribute or sell an unaltered copy of an image as a physical product. To redistribute or sell an image as a physical product, you must add value to it by adding additional elements or making other significant changes.

If there are people in the photos, you can’t portray them in a bad light or in an offensive manner. If an image contains an identifiable brand, you can’t create a misleading association with it.

Pixabay warns that while its images are free to modify and use commercially, any people and brands depicted in them might be subject to additional copyright, property rights, privacy rights, and trademarks. Consent of a third party might be needed or a license might be required to use the image commercially. Pixabay does not provide a guarantee that such consents or licenses have been obtained.

You can find more details on Pixabay’s license here.


Similar to Pixabay, Pexels offers a diverse selection of free images that it aggregates from a community of artists who contribute to the platform.

Pexels provides images under the CC0 license, so you can use them for any purpose without attribution.

Pexels has hundreds of thousands of free images you can use for any project, including websites, apps, e-books, e-commerce shops, and other commercial endeavors. The images can also be used on social media.

Free images from Pexels can be modified and used in the creation of print products, such as flyers, invitations, and books. The images can also be used in product promotion, such as creating ads and marketing campaigns.

Giving credit to the artist is not required, but it’s appreciated. When you download an image, you’ll be given the option of saying thanks to the artist. You can show your appreciation by donating to them using PayPal. The full amount of any donation you give goes directly to the artist.

You can also give credit to the artist when featuring their images on your website. When you download an image, a line of text is given that you can display beneath the photo on your website. The text links back to the artist on Pexels.

Pexels allows you to upload your own photos and become part of the community. By creating a free Pexels account, you’ll be able to contribute your photos to the community.

There are certain restrictions on the use of free images from Pexels, similar to the restrictions on Pixabay. The Pexels license contains the following restrictions on use:

  • You can’t portray identifiable people in a bad light or an offensive way.
  • You can’t redistribute or sell Pexels images on other stock photo or wallpaper platforms.
  • You can only sell Pexels photos if you have significantly edited, modified, or otherwise added value to them. You can’t just add a filter to the image, crop it, change the color, or enhance it in a simple manner and then sell it. You have to significantly alter it. Pexels gives these examples of how to appropriately alter an image:
    • Add artistic typography or graphic elements to the image.
    • Use an element of the image in a collage.
    • Use an element of the image as background for your own content.
  • You can’t imply that the people, brands, trademark, or copyright holder of an image endorses your product or service. Pexels says (as does Pixabay) that depicted content like trademarks, logos, and brands might be protected by privacy, copyright, or trademark rights. To use the content, you might need permission from the depicted third parties.


Unsplash is another go-to platform for accessing a huge collection of free stunning images.

The platform has a simple search feature. You can explore a wide range of categories, from nature to technology to food.

All images on Unsplash are covered by the Unsplash license, which allows you to use, modify, and distribute the images for free, even for commercial purposes, without permission. As with other platforms, attribution is appreciated.

On Unsplash, you cannot sell any photos you download without significantly modifying them. Photos also cannot be compiled for use in a service that replicates or competes with Unsplash.

Burst by Shopify

For e-commerce enthusiasts, Burst by Shopify provides a collection of free images tailored to business-related visuals.

While some Burst images are subject to the CC0 license, others fall under Shopify’s own licensing terms, which still, however, allows free use for most purposes. You can read Burst’s terms of service here.


Flickr offers a massive collection of user-contributed images.

While not all Flickr images are available for free, you can filter your search using their drop-down menu to display only creative commons photos, only photos that can be used for commercial use, or all photos with no restrictions at all. In this way, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you’re using Flickr’s images properly.

Flickr’s terms of use is a long read and can be accessed here.


If you’re looking for more whimsical images to add a unique touch to your website, Gratisography might be the place for you.

Gratisography offers a collection of free quirky and unconventional images, such as a flamingo riding a skateboard (how did that flamingo learn to ride?).

All Gratisography images are captured by photographer Ryan McGuire and can be used freely for personal and commercial projects.

The Gratisography license is very brief and can be found here.


Reshot offers free icons and illustrations that you’re free to use in creating your own designs. Reshot emphasizes authenticity and diversity in its collection.

All images on Reshot are free to use under the Reshot license, which is one of the most permissive licenses we’ve seen.

Final Thoughts

When selecting images for your website, try to make sure they align with your brand, message, and intended audience.

While the platforms we’ve profiled here all offer free images, consider reviewing the licenses to ensure you’re using the images properly and to avoid any legal complications.

With these image resources at your disposal, we hope you’ll be able to enhance your website’s visual appeal without breaking the bank!

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