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Open License List: 4 Places to Find Royalty Free Background Images

A well-designed website is one of the best ways to attract new customers. The best sites use a mixture of text and engaging photos to draw people in and educate them.

However, it’s unlikely that you’ve got high-quality images lying around that you can use for your website background. That’s why you should consider buying royalty free background images to design your site. Read on to see what royalty-free images are, and where you can buy them.


What Does Royalty Free Mean?

When talking about images, royalty-free does not mean that the images themselves are free.

Instead, you pay a flat rate so that you can use the image however you want, without attribution or further payment. It is “free from royalties,” and you can do whatever you want to that image without fear of penalty.

Where to Find a Royalty Free Background

There are several sites online that offer huge databases of royalty-free images to search through. You should be able to find the perfect image for your website on any one of the following:


Burst is a royalty-free image site that is run by Shopify. Images are either Creative Commons CC0, which means that they are completely royalty-free and don’t need to be paid for up-front for you to use. Others will have a traditional royalty-free license, which means you will have to pay to use them.


Shutterstock is one of the largest stock photo sites on the internet and has a huge amount of photographs for you to comb through. Shutterstock also has a number of illustrations and vectors that you can use as background images if you don’t want real photographs on your website.

Adobe Stock

Adobe’s royalty-free image service is integrated into its Creative Cloud software suite. This makes it super simple for you to use if your business is already a Creative Cloud subscriber. You’ll have to buy a subscription plan, but will then be able to download a certain number of royalty-free images each month.


iStock is another large website that offers a massive selection of stock photos for you to search through. You can either purchase a subscription, like Adobe’s platform, giving you a specific number of downloads each month, or buy credits which you can use a la carte.

Getting the Image to Fit

Finding the right royalty-free background image is only half the battle, of course. You want to make sure that your perfect image is able to fit your website, and it can be annoying to find one that is the right look but not the right size. Fortunately, you can use this free tool to resize image to fit properly.

One Site is Often Enough

While each royalty-free stock image site has a different collection of images for you to buy, when looking for a royalty free background a single database is often enough.

While subscription plans are great if you have a constant need to publish documentation or for social media, you can get away with only buying a few photos when you are designing your website.

For more information about web design, check out the technology section of our blog.

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