Instant Images is the fastest and easiest way to upload high quality, free photos from directly to your media library — all without ever leaving the comfort of WordPress!

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




The Instant Images dashboard allows you to quickly browse, search and upload images to your WordPress media library by simply clicking on an image in the listing.

Instant Images Dashboard

Note: When you upload an image to your media library it will automatically be resized into the custom image sizes specified within your theme.


The Instant Images search functionality let’s you quickly find and upload images for any subject in a matter of seconds!

Search with instant Images

🔥 You can join search terms by simply adding a ‘+’ between terms. e.g. Mountain + Snow

Searching Photos by ID

As of Instant Images 3.1, users can search for individual photos by Unsplash ID.

Simply prepend an image ID search with id:  and if found, Instant Images will return a single result. e.g. id:YiUi00uqKk8

Post/Page Edit Screen

You can upload images from while editing a post or page by clicking the Instant Images button located beside the Add Media button in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.



General Questions

Can I legally use these photos on my website?

Yes, all photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero.

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.

Learn more about Unsplash license terms.

Can I search for individual photos by ID?

Yes! In version 3.1 of Instant Images you can enter id:{photo_id} into the search box to return a single result.
e.g. id:YiUi00uqKk8

Are photos resized on upload?

Yes, when you upload an image to your media library with instant Images it will automatically be resized into the custom image sizes specified within your theme.

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.

Note: The /instant-images directory is created on plugin activation.

Are the images uploaded to the Media Library?

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

What WordPress user role is allowed access to use Instant Images?

By default, users with a minimum role of edit_theme_options are granted access. If you wish to modify the access restrictions to Instant Images the instant_images_user_role filter will allow you to update the role.


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.

  1. Permissions
    Instant Images downloads a temp image to the /instant-images directory inside the WP uploads directory. If this directory does not have at least 0755 permissions set, image uploading will likely fail.
  2. Max Upload Size
    If your Media Library has less than 16mb max upload size set, images may be prevented from uploading.
  3. HTTPS (CORS error)
    If your WP Admin runs under HTTPS and your front-end does not (or visa versa) you may run into Cross-Orgin Resource Sharing (CORS) issue.
    This is because Instant Images uses the WP REST API, which is front-end WordPress and your admin does not. The fix for this is to ensure both your WP Admin and public facing site use the same HTTP protocol.
  4. REST API Blocked
    Instant Images uses the WP REST API to process images and some security plugins offer the ability to block access. In this case, you should update the settings to allow access to the WP REST API.

I'm getting upload errors with Local by Flywheel, how do I solve this?

If you’re using Local you need to update the certificates otherwise there will be a cURL error.

From within Local:

  1. Right click the site name and goto Open Site SSH.
  2. Run apt-get update && apt-get install ca-certificates in the command prompt.
  3. Go back to Instant Images, refresh the page and try the upload again.

Local by Flywheel Admin

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