General Questions

Can I legally use these photos on my website?

Yes – view the photos terms and conditions below:


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.

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero.

Learn more about Unsplash license terms.



All content (e.g. images, videos, music) on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed”.

Learn more about the Pixabay license terms.



All photos and videos on Pexels can be downloaded and used for free… You can modify the photos and videos from Pexels. Be creative and edit them as you like.

Learn more about the Pexels 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

What is the Instant Images Proxy Server?

The Instant Images Proxy is a dedicated server that acts as an intermediary between the Instant Images WordPress plugin and the various service providers (Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay etc.)

As of Instant Images 5.0, all API requests to service providers are routed through the custom proxy server at

Maintaining a 3rd party proxy server for Instant Images allows us to keep default API keys hidden from public view and ensures the image data returned from the providers is returned in a normalized format for display within your WordPress dashboard.

For additional details, please take a moment and read through our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for when using our proxy service.

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.

Can I ensure only photos safe for work are returned in the photo listings?

Yes, by default Instant Images enables the highest level of content safety in all APIs however you can override for each using hooks.


Adjust the Unsplash Content Safety parameter using the following hook.


DIsable the Pixabay Safesearch filter using the following hook.

Can I add API keys via theme constant?

Yes, use the following constants in your wp-config or functions.php file.

Can I make a donation to the development of Instant Images?

Yes, please visit and you will be redirected to PayPal.


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 temporary image to the /instant-images folder inside the WordPress uploads directory. If this directory does not have at least 0755 permissions, image uploading may fail.
  2. allow_url_fopen
    Instant Images requires allow_url_fopen to be on to download images from the remote server to yours. Check your servers php.ini file and confirm it is set to on and not off.
  3. Max Upload Size
    If your Media Library has less than 16mb max upload size set, images may be prevented from uploading.
  4. 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.
  5. 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