As a webmaster with dozens of commercial WordPress sites and blogs I’m always looking for royalty free sources of high quality stock photos and images to use in my articles: also use them in my SEO theme as headers and thumbnail images which are used on thousands of sites: these have to be public domain images with no copyright restrictions at all.

I have a bunch of royalty free image websites bookmarked, but can never seem to find the right stock photo sites bookmark when I need it: I have too many bookmarks, too many bookmarks :-)

Royalty Free Stock Photographs
Royalty Free Stock Photographs

Royalty Free Image Websites

Here’s my personal list of the top 5 websites for royalty free images for commercial use, sites I’ve used for years. My top 5 are Pixabay, NegativeSpace, Pexels, Unsplash, and StockSnap

Note: I have no plans to add more free stock photo sites.

Pixabay Royalty Free Image Website

Pixabay Royalty Free Stock Photos

Pixabay – Over 1,000,000 Free Stock Photos
Free images and videos you can use anywhere. All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.

Pixabay is one of the first sites I visit for images, really easy to use and a good selection of stock images. For example was adding an article about CoderDojo Programming Clubs and needed a relevant free image, found some Arduino Circuit Board images which I used.

Example Pixabay Images

Example Pixabay Images
Example Pixabay Images

NegativeSpace Royalty Free Image Website

NegativeSpace Royalty Free High-Resolution Photos

NegativeSpace – Free High-Resolution Photos
All of our beautiful stock images have a CC0 license, so whether for personal or commercial projects, they are completely free to use!


Pexels Royalty Free Image Website

Pexels Hand Picked Royalty Free Stock Photos

Pexels – Over 30,000 Hand-Picked Free Stock Photos
All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use. You can modify, copy and distribute the photos.

All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So, attribution is not required.


Unsplash Royalty Free Image Website

Unsplash High Resolution Royalty Free Photos

Unsplash – Over 200,000 High-Resolution Photos
Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.


StockSnap Royalty Free Image Website

StockSnap Royalty Free Stock Photos

StockSnap – Beautiful Free Stock Photos
All photos on StockSnap fall under the Creative Commons CC0 license. That means you can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission!


Other Free Stock Photo Sites

To the plethora of website owners who keep emailing for a free backlink from this webpage to their stock photo websites.

I run an SEO services business and understand how important dofollow backlinks are. In 15+ years as an SEO consultant I’ve NEVER received an email asking for a free backlink (I’ve received thousands of emails asking for free links) which resulted in me editing an article to add a suggested link: you are wasting your time asking for a free link to your stock photo website.

I ONLY add links from articles when it either makes sense from an SEO perspective (like the dofollow Pixabay, NegativeSpace, Pexels, Unsplash and StockSnap links above) or there is some other direct benefit like it gains me backlinks in return or the owner of the site employed me as an SEO expert.

If I add a 6th free images for commercial use website to the list it will be because I’ve added to the list of free image sites I personally use.

David Law

David Law : Technical SEO Expert with 20+ years Online Business, SEO, Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing experience... Creator of multiple WordPress SEO Themes and SEO Plugins. Interests: wildlife, walking, environmental issues, politics, economics, journalism, consumer rights.

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