Instant Images – One Click Image Uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels


Instantly upload photos from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay or Pexels to your website all without ever leaving WordPress!

Instant Images is the fastest and easiest way to upload high quality FREE photos from your favorite stock photo communities directly to your WordPress media library.

Supported Image Providers

The perfect tool for users who want to save time and frustration by uploading images directly inside their WordPress installation and for developers who want to prototype and develop using real world imagery.

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  • Image Search – The Instant Images search let’s you quickly find and upload images for any subject in a matter of seconds!
  • Image Orientation – Filter search results by landscape, portrait or square images.
  • Time Saver – Quickly upload amazing stock photos without leaving the comfort of your WordPress admin.
  • Theme/Plugin Developers – A great tool for developers who want to prototype and develop using real world imagery.
  • Gutenberg – Instant Images directly integrates with Gutenberg as a plugin sidebar.
  • Media Modal – Instant Images is available as a tab in the WordPress Media Modal.
  • Page Builders – Instant Images integrates with page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy and Divi.
  • Edit Image Metadata – Easily edit image filename, alt text and caption prior to uploading to your media library.
  • Accessibility – Automatically include a relevant alt description for screen readers, visually reduced users, and SEO.
  • Easy to Use – It couldn’t get much more simple, just click an image and it’s automatically uploaded to your media library for use on your site.
  • No Accounts Needed – An account on any service provider is not required for use of this plugin. Just activate and you’re ready to go.


Instant Images: Extended

Enhance the Instant Images experience with a suite of premium features and added functionality.

What’s Included:
– Instant Images Gutenberg Block
– WordPress CLI Imports
– Batch Image Imports
– Images Filters (Instagram)
– Search History & Suggestions
– And more…

Learn More

Proxy Server

Instant Images routes all API requests to service providers (Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, Openverse etc.) through our custom proxy server at

Maintaining a proxy server for Instant Images allows us to keep API keys hidden from public view and ensures image data returned from the providers is returned in a normalized format for display in WordPress.

Please take a moment and read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for when using our proxy service:

How Can You Contribute?

Pull requests can be submitted via GitHub.



  • Dashboard - Browse, search and upload images to your WordPress media library
  • Search - Find and upload images for any subject in a matter of seconds!
  • Image Metadata - Easily edit image filename, alt text and caption prior to uploading to your media library.
  • Gutenberg post edit screens. Add as featured image, insert into post or just upload photo.
  • Instant Images is available in the WordPress media modal as a custom tab. It is available in front end page builder like Elementor, Beaver Builder and Divi.


This plugin provides 1 block.

  • Instant Images One click photo uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels.


How to install Instant Images.

Using The WordPress Dashboard

  1. Navigate to the ‘Add New’ in the plugins dashboard
  2. Search for ‘Instant Images’
  3. Click ‘Install Now’
  4. Activate the plugin on the Plugin dashboard

Uploading in WordPress Dashboard

  1. Navigate to the ‘Add New’ in the plugins dashboard
  2. Navigate to the ‘Upload’ area
  3. Select from your computer
  4. Click ‘Install Now’
  5. Activate the plugin in the Plugin dashboard

Using FTP

  1. Download
  2. Extract the instant-images directory to your computer
  3. Upload the instant-images directory to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  4. Activate the plugin in the Plugin dashboard


Can I legally use these photos on my website?

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash/Pixabay.
Learn More

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Can I search for individual photos by ID?

Yes! You can enter id:{photo_id} into the search box to return a single result.
e.g. id:YiUi00uqKk8

I’m unable to download images, what is the cause of this?

Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why Instant Images may not work in your current hosting/server environment. Please read through the FAQ on our website to view some potential causes.

Can I update the filename or metadata prior to upload?

Yes, click the options (cog) icon in the bottom corner of the image to bring up an edit screen where you can modify the filename, title, alt and caption before the image is uploaded.

Are the images upload to the Media Library?

Yes, once clicked, the images are processed on the server then uploaded to the Media Library into the various sizes set in your theme.

Are raw uploads stored on the server?

No, once an image has be uploaded and resized the raw download will be removed from your server.

Are there server requirements?

Yes, this plugin is required to write temporary images into an /instant-images directory within your WordPress uploads directory for image processing prior to being uploaded to the media library.

Some hosts lock down their servers and you may be required to update your php.ini or .htaccess in order to use this plugin.

Do I need an account at Unsplash?

No, there is no need to sign up from an Unsplash account to access the photos server via Instant Images.

Do I need an account at Pixabay?

No, we provide an API for you to use, however you can get your own by signing up for a free account at Pixabay.

Do I need an account at Pexels?

No, we provide an API for you to use, however you can get your own by signing up for a free account at Pexels.

Do I need an account at Openverse?

No, an Openverse account is not required.


September 10, 2023
Instant Images is truly an outstanding plugin that has become an indispensable part of my web development toolkit. I incorporate it into every new website I create without hesitation. However, I'd like to share a couple of enhancement suggestions that, in my opinion, would take it to the next level: Universal Platform Compatibility: One notable improvement would be to ensure that the search functionality seamlessly works across all platforms. This would eliminate the need to switch between platforms, providing users with a more streamlined and efficient experience. Fullscreen Preview Feature: It would be immensely beneficial to incorporate a feature that allows users to view images in fullscreen mode before deciding to download them. This added functionality would enhance the overall user experience and assist in making more informed choices when selecting images. These enhancements would further elevate Instant Images, making it an even more essential tool for web developers like myself.
July 15, 2023 2 replies
I also wrote for support how to translate automatic captions " Photo by" "on" but didnt get answer. It helps us with some work but adds additional work with manual caption translation each author has to do. Hope for the update in future.
June 26, 2023 1 reply
Exceptionally designed. Super functional. Does what it says it would. This plugin deserves a 10-star rating. Great job!
May 26, 2023 1 reply
I have finished the Korean translation.I just want to say thank you for developing such a good plugin.And I hope it will be translated into more languages so that many WordPress users can use it conveniently. Instant Images – One Click Image Uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels 한국어 번역을 모두 마쳤습니다.좋은 플러그인을 개발해 주어서 고맙다는 인사를 전하고 싶습니다.그리고 보다 많은 언어로 번역되어 많은 워드프레스 사용자들이 편리하게 사용할 수 있기를 바랍니다.
March 30, 2023 1 reply
I am so excited about this plugin! It does exactly what you would want it to do and it's fun and easy! I'm teaching to all my WordPress students and using it on all my sites. Thanks so much for creating a fun, intuitive, easy to use plugin -Christina
Read all 48 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Instant Images – One Click Image Uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


“Instant Images – One Click Image Uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels” has been translated into 6 locales. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “Instant Images – One Click Image Uploads from Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay and Pexels” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.


6.0.0 – June 19, 2023

  • NEW: Added support and functionality requirements for Instant Images: Extended add-on.
  • UPDATE: Improved infinite scroll loading and animations.
  • UPDATE: Improved error handling for API keys with session data.
  • UPDATE: UX and UI updates throughout the app.
  • UPDATE: Code cleanup and various refactoring.
  • UPDATE: Various accessibility updates throughout the app.
  • FIX: Fixed issue with Instant Images header CSS conflicting with GeneratePress.

5.3.1 – May 12, 2023

  • UPDATE: Updated default user role to manage_options on the Instant Images settings page.
  • NEW: Added new instant_images_settings_user_role hook to adjust the user role for the Instant Images settings page.
  • FIX: Adding fix for error on Site Editor screen when using a FSE theme.

5.3.0 – May 8, 2023

  • NEW: Added new standalone Instant Images settings page and added new settings fields.
  • NEW: Added initial support for upcoming Instant Images Pro plugin.
  • FIX: Fixed issue with missing createRoot function in WP < 6.2 that would cause Instant Images to fail to load.
  • UPDATE: General styling and UI updates throughout app.

5.2.1 – April 20, 2023

  • UPDATE: Adds sessionStorage for storing API results in browser session to reduce proxy usage and API requests. Session data is stored for 1 hour.
  • UPDATE: Cleans up Openverse sources to include WordPress, Flickr, Nasa, SpaceX and Wikimedia only.
  • UPDATE: Updates security check to match on expected URLs before an upload is processed.
  • FIX: Removes StockSnap from Openverse as images are being blocked on upload to the media library.
  • UPDATE: Various code cleanup and tweaks. – March 28, 2023

  • HOTFIX: Fix for fatal compatibility error with Elementor Pro. – March 20, 2023

  • HOTFIX: Quick fix for potential fatal error on the frontend for Beaver Builder users. Fixed by wrapping function check in is_admin().

5.2.0 – March 20, 2023

  • NEW: Added new setting to automatically add image attribution as captions.
  • NEW: Adding mime type checking based on current allowed uploads.
  • UPDATE: Updated instant_images_after_upload hook to pass additional image data.
  • UPDATE: Added sizes filter to openverse search.
  • UPDATE: Added Wikimedia filter to openverse sources.
  • UPDATE: Code refactoring and build process updates. – March 8, 2023

  • HOTFIX: Security fix to prevent SSRF/misuse of download functionality. – February 2, 2023

  • HOTFIX: Fixed issue with mime type check not always working correctly. Reverted change for now.
  • UPDATE: Pexels is using the Proxy server again after fixing the caching issues.

5.1.0 – February 2, 2023

  • NEW: Added Openverse support.
  • NEW: Added Description field to save data into the Post Content WP field.
  • NEW: Added mime type checker to make sure the file type is allowed before uploading.
  • UPDATE: Better attribution handling.
  • UPDATE: Various admin UI/UX tweaks and updated.

5.0.1 – January 10, 2023

  • HOTFIX: Adding a temporary hotfix to patch issues with the Pexels API and the Instant Images Proxy server.
    Note: This fix is still not perfect but the integration is working again when a valid API is present.

5.0 – December 19, 2022

  • NEW: All API requests to Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay are now routed through our custom proxy server ( Read our terms of service and privacy policy for more information.
  • UPDATE: Improved error handling and reporting.
  • UPDATE: Removal of hard coded API Keys from plugin.
  • UPDATE: Fixed issue where search filters wouldn’t reset after a new search.

4.6.3 – November 04, 2022

  • UPDATE: Improved load handling of default provider.
  • FIX: Security fix for issue for authenticated users.
  • FIX: Fixed issue default Pexels API key.
  • FIX: Fixed issue with photo attribution text and localization.

4.6.2 – June 24, 2022

  • UPDATE: Updated all packages for security updates.
  • FIX: Fixed issue with Unsplash API variable declaration.

4.6.1 – January 14, 2022

  • NEW: Added default API keys for all API providers 🎉 . Default API keys can still be overwritten in the plugin settings shouls you want to use your own key.
  • NEW: Added rate-limit checker to determine the status of the API and display an alert warning if the limit has been exceeded. – January 3, 2022

  • HOTFIX: Hotfix for accidentaly delete_options function left in whilst testing. Sorry about that!

4.6.0 – January 2, 2022

  • NEW: Added Pexels integration. This requires a valid API key.
  • FIX: Fixed issue with filtering Unsplash search results by ‘all’.
  • FIX: Various admin UI/UX updates and tweaks to improve the look and feel.

4.5.1 – December 27, 2021

  • NEW: Added Pixabay photo filters (Type, Category, Colors and Orientation).
  • NEW: Added Unsplash search filters for Color, Orientation and Order.
  • NEW: Added new instant_images_pixabay_safesearch & instant_images_unsplash_content_filter filters that allow for modifying the flags the indicate the types of suitable images that should be returned. Get more information in our FAQ.
  • NEW: Added Pixabay API constant that allows for setting Pixabay API key via site constant. e.g. define( 'INSTANT_IMAGES_PIXABAY_KEY', 'YOUR-KEY-HERE' );
  • UPDATE: Revamped filtering menus and orientation options.
  • UPDATE: Other UI/UX updates to make the plugin more visually appealing.
  • UPDATE: Improved plugin accessibility across various sections.

4.5.0 – October 28, 2021

  • NEW: 🎉 Pixabay! We’ve added support for Pixabay images. This requires a valid API key.
  • NEW: Added button to auto-generate Photo attribution in image caption.
  • NEW: Added uninstaller script to remove plugin settings.
  • UPDATE: Updated styling and functionality of photo detail editor.
  • UPDATE: Various UI/UX updates. – July 30, 2021

  • Fix: WP 5.8 issue resolved – added fix for Instant Images causing the Widget Block Editor to fail due to JS error.
  • Update: Code clean up. – June 7, 2021

  • Fix: Added fix for CSS conflict causing issues in the WordPress menus section.
  • Fix: Removed browser console error with regards activeFrame.querySelector is not a function that could appear when creating a gallery.
  • Updated: Improved coding standard and overall code quality. – May 3, 2021

  • UPDATE – Updated Instant Images settings page to sanitize inputs before saving.

4.4.0 – March 26, 2021

  • UPDATE – 🎉 Massive improvement to image download speeds by dynamically resizing the initial download before sending image to media library.
    • Intitial testing revealed up to 4x faster download speeds than previous version of Instant Images 🤯.
  • NEW – Added instant_images_after_upload hook that is dispatch after a successful upload allowing users to hook into the attachment and run custom functionality.
  • UPDATE – Upgraded Axios JS libray to 0.21.1.

4.3.5 – August 14, 2020

  • FIX – Fixed issue with WP 5.5 and REST API warning messages when WP_DEBUG is true.
  • FIX – Fixed issue with undefined $suffix variable when WP_DEBUG is true.

4.3.4 – August 11, 2020

  • FIX – Fixed issue with Yoast SEO meta boxes not appearing in Classic Editor.
  • UPDATE – Code cleanup and some refactoring of media enqueue scripts.

4.3.3 – August 10, 2020

  • NEW – Adding Instant Images tab to Media Modal windows everywhere, including page builders and taxonomy terms pages.
  • NEW – Added new plugin setting to hide the Instant Images tab in the Media Modals

4.3.2 – May 28, 2020

  • UPDATE – Switched REST API methods to POST requests from PUT. This will hopefully reduce issues users are having with PUT being disabled on their servers.
  • UPDATE – Added Instant Images media button back to Classic Editor post screen.

4.3.1 – April 13, 2020

  • FIX – Fixed issue with Instant Images causing Yoast SEO metabox to not show correctly in the classic WordPress editor. Not really sure why, but the Instant Images JS dependencies seemed to interfere with Yoast.
  • FIX – Added user privileges checks to the new Media Modal functionality.

4.3.0 – April 9, 2020

  • NEW – Adding Instant Images tab to the WordPress Media Modal.
  • NEW – When images are uploaded directly to a post the current Post ID is attached to the upload as the parent post.
  • NEW – Adding default alt text directly from Unsplash API.
  • UPDATE – Updated image uploader API to hopefully improve stability of the upload and resize process. The new process uses core WordPress functions for the upload.
  • UPDATE – Switching tab navigation from <a/> to` for better accessibility.
  • FIX – Added a fix for JS error regarding PluginSidebar registration on non-gutenberg editor pages.

4.2.0 – December 14, 2019

  • NEW – Added image orientation search filter
  • FIX – Fixed issue with instant images being rendered in Gutenberg editor for users without permissions.
  • UPDATE – Updated WordPress role requirement from edit_theme_options to upload_files.

4.1.0 – July 23, 2019

  • NEW – Added support for updating image title prior to upload.
  • NEW – Added link to edit image after upload process completes.
  • UPDATE – Updated functionality to trigger photo upload immediately after triggering a Save when editing image metadata.

4.0.1 – April 18, 2019

  • FIX – Fixed issue where Instant Images sidebar plugin would not appear in Gutenberg if removed as a pinned item.

4.0.0 – February 12, 2019

  • 4.0 adds Gutenberg support. You can now access instant images directly from inside the block editor.
  • NEW – Added Instant Images to Gutenberg as a Plugin Sidebar.
  • NEW – Added Gutenberg featured image support.
  • NEW – Added Gutenberg Create Image Block support.

  • UPDATE – Improved a11y (accessibility) of photo listing items.

  • UPDATE – Updated REST API methods to prefix function names.
  • UPDATE – Various other UI/UX enhancements.

3.0 – September 21, 2017

** NEW – Instant Images has been completely re-built using React and the WordPress REST API.

2.0 – January 12, 2017

  • Initial Commit
  • Updating plugin from UnsplashWP to Instant Images