How to find and embed Creative Commons licensed images in WordPress

Want to use Creative Commons licensed stock photos and images on your website?

It’s important to make sure you have permission to use images in your blog posts. Fortunately, there are millions of Creative Commons licensed images that you can use royalty-free.

In this article, we’ll show you how to find and install Creative Commons licensed images in WordPress.

Why Use Creative Commons Licensed Images in WordPress?

Using high-quality images on your WordPress blog can boost your engagement with your users. However, buying images from a stock library like Shutterstock can be expensive.

Fortunately, many photographers and artists release their images under a Creative Commons license. Images under this type of license can be used legally without paying for them.

There are several Creative Commons licenses and the CC0 No Rights Reserved license is the best for bloggers. You may use the image under this license without any restrictions. You don’t need to ask for permission or give credit.

Other Creative Commons licenses will still allow you to use the images for free, but will have conditions or restrictions, such as a requirement to credit the creator when using the image.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to find and install Creative Commons images in WordPress. Here’s what we’ll cover in this tutorial.

  • Adding Creative Commons CC0 licensed images with the plugin
  • Adding Creative Commons CC0 licensed images with the page builder
  • Manually adding Creative Commons licensed images

Adding Creative Commons CC0 licensed images with the plugin

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Instant Images app. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

This plugin offers a one-click search for images contained in Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels stock image libraries. Fortunately, the images in these libraries can be used freely, as each of them is released under the Creative Commons CC0 license.

After activation, the plugin starts working automatically. Now when you add an image to a post from your Media, there will be a Snapshots tab at the top of the page.

Searching for Creative Commons licensed images using snapshots

Alternatively, you can add images directly to your Media Library by navigating to Media » Snapshots.

You can now click on one of the stock library names at the top of the page. After that, just search for the type of image you want to add to WordPress. You can sort or filter images using the drop-down menus.

In the example above, we searched Unsplash for “tomato” and found 2,213 images.

To add an image to your Media Library, simply click on it. The image will be added along with a caption and some default alt text provided by the photographer.

You can now add an image to your posts as usual.

Getting a Pexels API Key

The first time you click the Pexels button, you see a pop-up asking you to enter an API key. Get started by clicking the Get API Key link to sign up for a free Pexels account.

To find images on Pexels using Instant Images, you'll need an API key

After registering, you need to click on the user icon at the top of the screen.

Then you need to select “Image & Video API” from the drop-down menu.


Next, you need to click the “Your API Key” button. This will take you to a form where you can tell Pexels how you will use their images.

You must also check the box to agree to the terms of service and API guidelines.

Let Pexels know how you plan to use the images

Finally, your API key will be displayed.

You should copy the key to the clipboard and then return to your site.

Copy the API key and paste it into a field on your WordPress site

You should see the same pop-up as before. Just paste the API key in the field and click the Verify button.

To find images on Pexels using Instant Images, you'll need an API key

You will now be able to post Creative Commons licensed images from Pexels.

Adding Creative Commons CC0 licensed images with the page builder

SeedProd is the best WordPress page builder for businesses, bloggers and website owners. It allows you to easily add commonly used design elements such as images.

The Plus plan and above includes a library of 2 million stock images for use on your website. These images are royalty-free and optimized for the web.

To learn how to install and use SeedProd step-by-step, check out our guides on how to create a landing page and how to easily create a custom WordPress theme.

When using SeedProd’s visual editor, simply drag the image block onto the page.

Adding an image block using SeedProd

When you click on an image block, its settings will be displayed in the left panel.

Under “Choose a new image” you’ll see two buttons, one to add your own image and one to add a stock image.

You need to click on the “Use stock image” button.

Click the Use Stock Image button in SeedProd

This will open a search form for the SeedProd stock image library.

Simply enter your search term to find the image you need, then click the “Search” button.

You can now search the SeedProd Stock Image library

You will now see a preview of each matching image.

Just click on the image you want to add to the page.

Matching images will be displayed

You can now use SeedProd’s image settings to add alt text, change the size and alignment of the image, or add a link.

Adjust the Alt tag, size and alignment of the image

You can change the image style by clicking the Templates tab and selecting a style.

These templates change the borders and spaces of your image.

SeedProd Image Style Templates

You’ll find more options under the Advanced tab.

Manually adding Creative Commons licensed images

If you prefer not to use an app, you can manually find Creative Commons licensed images. To get started, you need to visit the stock image library website. Once you find an image you want to use, you can download it and then upload it to your website.

For free stock image sources, see our guide to free public domain sources and CC0 licensed images.

Once you’ve downloaded the royalty free stock images you need, you’ll need to upload them to your Media Library or blog post.

The easiest way to do this is to add an “Image” block to the WordPress editor, click the “Upload” button, and then find the Creative Commons image on your computer.

Adding attribution to Creative Commons licensed images

Some Creative Commons licenses require that you add an image credit and provide proper attribution to the original work.

For example, the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) license requires attribution. The license says: “You must provide appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate whether changes have been made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in such a manner as to suggest that Licensor endorses you or your use.

Some Creative Commons licenses require attribution

It is important that you provide proper image credit to comply with copyright laws and avoid infringing on someone’s rights.

It can protect you from legal issues and liabilities, as well as a way to show respect for the work and creativity of others.

If you are unsure whether to attribute, you should carefully check the wording of the Creative Commons license for the image.

It’s also very easy to credit the creator. In the image below, you can see that the Creative Commons attribution is simply included in the image caption. For more information, see our guide on how to add image credits in WordPress.

An example of correct image attribution

Creative Commons recommends including:

  • image caption
  • the author’s name with a link to their profile page
  • image source with link to original photo
  • the license used by reference to the license deed

We hope this tutorial helps you learn how to find and embed Creative Commons licensed images in WordPress. You can also learn how to create a custom Instagram feed, or check out our list of tips on how to increase your blog traffic.

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The post How to Find and Install Creative Commons Licensed Images in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

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