Using Free Images On a Website – What You Need to Know

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The importance of including images within website posts has rapidly been expanding in recent times. It’s not all that long ago the insertion of one image near the top of a post was sufficient.

If you’ve been involved in creating websites for at least a year or two, you will be aware of the rapid changes in meeting the requirements of the search engines. It is important to observe that, without paying attention to search engine optimization it is unlikely a website will be ranked in Google.

Images certainly add attraction to a website. In some cases, an image will tell a story better than the spoken word. But, if that’s not the case, at least a well chosen image will add to the interest of a website post or page.

Where Can Images Be Obtained and At What Cost

Something that often arises with the mention of including images on a website is the cost. For example, to include 4 to 6 images on 1 article per week could be quite costly. At a minimum of publishing 1 post per week, each post including 4 images at five US dollars each image, at the end of a month a total of $80 has been added to the financial cost of growing a website.

An established and successful webmaster would, no doubt, be happy to pay $80 or more, monthly. But, for beginners to internet marketing, the cost of purchasing images is often out of the question.
There are several websites where free images are offered.  Various conditions apply to the majority of these websites.  However, a few websites offer free images with no legal requirements attached.

Using Free Images on a Website May Be An Option

My reason for saying ‘may be an option’ is that not all images are completely free of charge. Before using any image, other than your own photos or designs, it is vitally important to check the license specific to that image.

For instance, images that are licensed Royalty Free are not free of cost. There is a purchase price to be paid before downloading a Royalty Free image.

Royalty Free means that once the purchase of a Royalty Free image is made, the purchaser can use the image as often as they want, free of additional charge.

Some popular websites providing Royalty-free images are:


There are many more Royalty Free websites which can be found by browsing the internet.

Websites Offering Free of Cost Images

Free of Cost ImagesMy two favorite websites offering Free of Cost images are:

  • Unsplashcom offers a large variety of Free of Cost images.

However, when choosing images from make sure you do not attempt to download images on the Pixabay website that are located in the top row of each page. These are what are called ‘Sponsored images’ and are images, not to be downloaded free of cost.

In fact, I recommend not downloading any Shutterstock images from Pixabay. If you wish to purchase images I suggest going to the Shutterstock website. also offers a vast number of free images.

As with, Unsplash has at the top of their page, a Menu to help you choose required images.

Although does not insist on including attribution with use of an image downloaded from the site, they suggest paying courtesy to the owner of the image. A nice gesture by you and me, the users.

Other websites offering Free of Cost images are:

  • offers more than 65,000 high quality stock photos to do whatever you want with them. All photos on are under the Creative Commons Zero license, and are able to be freely without asking permission. is a free photo exchange created for the use of professionals. Attribution has not been required in the past. As at March 2018 there is no request for attribution stated in their Terms.

As with all websites offering Free to Use images, I recommend checking regularly for updates to the Licensing Terms, prior to selecting and downloading images. Images Copyright Protected

copyright protection of imagesDo not assume images on are free to be used on your website.

Although displays thousands of quality images on their website, the greater percentage of these images are protected by Copyright.

Information online for a number of years has shown that on by selecting Advanced Search –> Usage Rights ‘not filtered by license’, users were free to download any image appearing and upload to their own website free of cost or attribution.

Of more recent times, it is apparent that information is not entirely correct.

Before using any image on, the License Terms must viewed and all conditions agreed to, and applied. With many images found on, attribution may need to be applied in accordance with the License of the image in question.

Heavy penalties may be applied for non-legal of use of images on

Best Places for Inserting Images on Your Website

As the intention now is to use more images on a website post or page, it is important that the placing of images needs to be given careful thought. It does not add to the appearance of a website to have images placed just anywhere within the content.

Carefully selecting an image for a particular section of a post or page takes time. If a suitable and relevant image cannot be found for a section, it is better to move on to the next section of the page.

By using the word ‘section’ I am referring to content appearing under a sub-title. Right now, in this post, 5 sub-titles appear before this sentence. It is reasonable to expect that not every section on this page will include an image.

The greater the number of paragraphs within a section of a page or post, the easier it will be to include and image. What makes it easier is, space plus relevancy of words and images.

It is preferable that images are placed on the right-hand side of a page. The reason being that English is read from left to right, therefore inserting images on the right-hand side can interfere with reading important content.

It is natural that exceptions sometimes apply. When the insertion of an image on the left-hand side would improve appearance there is no known reason why that should not occur.

Correct Sizing of Images to be Included in a Post or Page

Correct Size for ImageThe first image on a post or page, when inserted on the right-hand side, should be approximately 375 px in width. This allows equal area for text and image, and gives a balanced appearance. However, this measurement would vary according to the width of a website.

Using thumbnail images for the remainder of insertions in a post may be sufficient. I recommend using your own judgment with regard to appearance.

However, it is wise to be conscious of the effect of images on the speed of a website. If not correctly optimized, large images can cause slow site speed.

There are different ways to optimize images. I recommend using which I find extremely helpful to the performance of my website.

I trust this information is helpful as you progress through building your own website.

Learn More About Creating Your Own Website

To learn more about creating a website whether for business or pleasure, I invite you to read my review of the Wealthy Affiliate program.

The review will provide you with insights about how you can create your own website for Free, along with gaining some great knowledge about building your own online business.

Yes, it is possible for you to build your own online business working from home if that is something that interests you.

Alternatively, building a website for pleasure can be easily learned and enjoyed.

I thank you for visiting this post and invite you to leave your comments or questions below.


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8 thoughts on “Using Free Images On a Website – What You Need to Know”

  1. Thanks Valerie.
    My website are still in the “development phase” of the business cycle and as such spending $80 per month x12 months is a big number for me. I am simply not prepared to do that.

    You made a great point that not all images are “royalty free”. Many photographers can ethically take their photo and upload it onto website #1 and then someone comes along and just “takes” it and places it on website #2 without paying any money and then it ends up on different distribution places saying that it is a FREE photo, but alas this is not true.

    The original content producer has the right to ask for monetary payment on their original content.

    The website if full of lots of pot holes. New players need advice from places like this to keep them moving forward in the right direction. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Glenys,

      Thank you for leaving your comment. It’s true what you say about images being illegally taken for free use. There’s much to consider before deciding on which images to use on a website. It’s the same for people such as myself, who are not professional photographers but take our own photos and place them on our websites. They are supposedly protected, but people copy these photos if they feel that way inclined, simply because there is no written law about images such as those we take ourselves.

      All the best.

  2. Hi Valerie,

    I found a lot of value in reading you post about free images.

    I have been looking for images to use for certain projects in online marketing and after hearing about some people that have been fined for misuse of copyrighted imaginary, it’s quite worrying.

    There are a lot of sites that sell images, have you ever paid for images and why would you do this rather than use free images? Is there any advantages or differences in the two?

    Thanks again

    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you very much for leaving your comment on this post.

      We do need to be very careful about the misuse of copyright law.  There are so many free-to-use images without taking a risk of law breaking.

      To answer your question about whether I’ve paid for images.  Yes, I have paid many times to get the image I need.  I find Fotolia has some great images.  I purchase a number of credits from Fotolia.  So that’s where I go when I stuck for an image.

      All the best.


  3. Hi Valerie; I have read through your post and it is really interesting.

    The information that you have given is certainly helpful. not everyone take the time out to search deeply once the word free download or free pictures appears that’s it.

    I do not really like to use stock pictures because they are at free to everyone.

    Would you not say that everybody uses them?


    • Hi Dorcas,

      Thanks very much for reading my post and leaving a comment.

      I’m pleased you found the information to be of help.  I do hope that everyone obtaining images online abides by the terms and conditions that apply to each image.  

      I would say that thousands of people use stock images.  Having to purchase a required number of images for a website can be financially impossible for most website owners, other than those owing a secure and profitable business.

      Best wishes


  4. Hi Valerie,

    I will use some of your recommended sites to find free images.

    Sometimes it’s not easy to find some good ones. I have already used many times Pixabay. It has thousands of available images, but still, in some topics, I can’t find something good.

    Thanks for the information!

    • Hi Ilias,

      Thank you for your response to my latest post.

      Pixabay is definitely a great image provider but, I agree it’s not always easy to find the correct image for a particular topic.  Of course, that applies to all of the image sources but it is good to have options, no matter what we’re doing.

      Best wishes to you with finding appropriate images for your website/


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