WordPress.com Partners with Pexels to Offer Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library

image credit: Christina Morillo from Pexels

WordPress.com has partnered with Pexels, a popular stock photo library, to offer convenient access to stock photos inside the post editor. Hundreds of high quality free stock photo sites have cropped up on the web over the past few years, but Pexels is differentiating itself with a commitment to hosting diversity-focused images and videos that represent a wide range of experiences. WordPress.com is working with them and other partners to make more diverse images available to users:

Stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, and often excluded photos of people of color, people with disabilities, or non-binary individuals. Pexels is working to change that, and since partnering with them we’ve helped incorporate diversity-focused libraries to their collection. Ultimately, we believe it’s on us to help find a solution to this problem, and avoid generic stock images that often perpetuate stereotypes.

WordPress.com users can access the images via the Add Media button. Self-hosted site owners with Jetpack-enabled sites can also access the library when composing new posts on WordPress.com. Automattic happiness engineer Anne McCarthy posted a demo of where to find the new images:


More than 1,000 developers and companies are using the Pexels API. The site regularly hosts diversity-focused photo challenges with prizes for the best submissions. Photographers who are inspired to contribute can submit their work to the library but should be aware of its open license.

“I like the idea, and, as a photoblogger, I’m open to sharing my images,” one reader commented on the announcement. “But I [think] the license rules are too open (for me). I’m happy to share, attribution would be nice (not necessary), but editing of my photos seems a step too far.”

Feedback on the library has been overwhelmingly positive so far and WordPress.com users have already downloaded more than 1 million images since the free stock image library was introduced.

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  1. How do you enable this if you’re self-hosted? I can’t seem to find it.


    1. Maybe soon in Jetpack, but those sites are CC0 so there are many plugins that allow you to do that already.


    2. At the moment you would need to manage and compose content for the Jetpack enabled site through wordpress.com to be able to use the Automatics implementation of the Pexels API.


  2. Are the photos downloaded into the media library? Or are they only linked from a CDN? Important in terms of GDPR…


  3. How do I get pexels to work with Gutenberg? I can’t find it anywhere.


    1. There is an Unsplash plugin for Gutenberg called Drop It. It was mentioned in WP Tavern a few weeks back. Automatic’s Pexels API implementation only works on wordpress.com and is currently only available to sites that use Jetpack when those sites are being managed via wordpress.com i.e. you need to login to wordpress.com to add content to your self-hosted site.


  4. That’s a great news for WordPress.com users. Pexels is a great stock photo site and they have large database of images. Its really a time saver.


  5. This is great news! Making more diverse images available to publishers is not a luxury as the quality of stock-image libraries is not that great in my opinion, primarily because they don’t offer a wide range of experiences (as pointed out in your post). Thanks for the insights!


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