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Updated on September 27, 2012

With almost 30.000 images, has quickly grown into the largest resource for quality public domain images. This website consistently provides creative works - photos and clip arts - with all copyrights waived in agreement with Creative Commons deed CC0. Thus, images may be modified and no attribution or source link is required even for commercial applications. Furthermore, Pixabay's manual review process of uploaded images ensures both, a high quality standard and legal suitability concerning the public domain area.

Pixabay home, April 2012
Pixabay home, April 2012 | Source

Founded in January 2011 as a spin-off company of the writer networks and, Pixabay has already become a mature community and source of images, supporting 20 languages and attracting professional bloggers, journalists, web-designers and any kind of creative worker from all over the world. In particular with the introduction of the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) and other copyright-related bills (PIPA, ACTA), Pixabay received a remarkable boost of traffic, emphasizing the demand of free images on the web.

"Pixabay was originally developed to prevent legal disputes about copyright issues of images on our communities and", so Hans Braxmeier, co-founder of Pixabay. After the successful implementation, Pixabay was consulted by third party webmasters asking for an API to access and search the image database from outside Pixabay and thus, to enable usage of those images directly on partner websites, as seen on

As an additional means of communication for Pixabay's users, a multi-national forum was integrated in March 2012. Also, to reward particularly great photos, the Editor's Choice Award was introduced, resulting in a list of hand-picked, awe-inspiring photos, qualified for professional applications or - just as well - to serve as amazing desktop backgrounds.

One of Pixabay's stunning free images
One of Pixabay's stunning free images

The Future of Pixabay

"Pixabay intends to become the Wikipedia for great public domain images; the first website you visit to find images, when you need them", Simon Steinberger (Co-founder of Pixabay). And Pixabay is on the right track: a Google Pagerank of five and a constantly rising global Alexa Traffic Rank of currently 40k reflects the rapidly growing popularity of this image database.


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    • ssteinberger profile image

      ssteinberger 4 years ago

      Actually each image on Pixabay is checked manually before being publicly available, so that's the first "line of protection". Secondly, the uploader is responsible that contributed images fulfill all legal requirements.

      Pixabay offers today about 170.000 CC0 images - and in over three years, not a single copyright issue came up. While this is of course no guarantee, it's still something :-)

    • profile image

      Cylex 4 years ago

      pixabay is NOT reliable without caveat in my opinion.

      "with all copyrights waived in agreement with Creative Commons deed CC0." This is true and not, because everyone can upload pictures and declare them with CCo. A huge amount is uploaded against pixabays own rules, that the uploader has to be the copyright owner. You can´t appeal to pixabay in cases of copyright infringements. Always ask the uploader whether he owns it or from where he got it.

      If the uploader is the owner you can do whatever you want. But be careful with pictures showing people, possible rights on own face-pictures and model-contracts must be taken into considerations.

    • ssteinberger profile image

      ssteinberger 4 years ago

      As mentioned in the introduction: the images may be modified and no attribution or source link is required even for commercial applications. So: yes!

    • profile image

      renz 4 years ago

      i would like to ask if i undrestood it right, everything here is free ..but can the images be used for commercial purpose/use/distribution /print like notebook?

    • ssteinberger profile image

      ssteinberger 6 years ago

      Thanks zeke - Help us spread the word :)

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 6 years ago

      I thank you for sharing about Pixabay. I checked it out and think it is an awesome site.