How these websites earn money?

I just curious how those websites like can gain revenue every month by just providing free design files for users to download and use.

Does anyone can provide me the answer?
Thank you.

From the ads, maybe?

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There are plenty of ways of monetizing traffic. Many times, if they get you to subscribe to their mailing list, they will promote their own services and earn money this way, possibly promote affiliate products. Simply put, there are plenty of ways to monetize.

Freepik specifically - I can see they have an iStock promo code, so they are definitely affiliated to iStock.

They also have a section, premium photos from ShutterStock, which is once again a good way to push people towards buying photos for which they get a small affiliate amount.


But how about those websites such as:

I haven’t seen any of their pages comes with ads.
So I just curious how they can survive and still need to pay for hosting, travel, website fees.

Thank you.

Essentially, many of them want you to get on their email lis - and then always be “in your mind” when you need good photos.

The thing is this, once you get a “name” and a reputation, it is more than likely that when you need good photography which you are willing to pay for, you go to these guys.

Once they have enough of a good reputation, they can turn that into asking for services. Once you get enough of traffic, there is quite a lot of ways to actually monetize that traffic really and truly. Even through emails, they can push courses, or recommended products or other affiliations. In my opinion it’s mostly a matter of getting their name out there. The more popular they get, the more likely they are to be able to get more services, and increase their prices :smile:

Incidentally, we have compiled a very long list of these types of sites for anybody who needs them.

We’ve named all of the sites mentioned here, but besides these, we’ve also got another 70 or so (we keep adding sites as we find them :slight_smile:

Pixabay showing shutterstock affiliated images in top of each search result. If someone purchased a image using this links they get a percentage of amount.

Yes, that’s one of the ways which Pixabay generates revenue.

Besides, any other method Pixabay get to earn every month?
I don’t think by only affiliate programs they can earn and still can afford to pay compulsory expenses like workers, hosting …

Extended licenses.

At first glance it looks promising, but I’m not sure in the future people will worry about licenses, because they can not be controlled. But now this model is certainly capable to shake classic stocks. More precisely, to destroy.

Thanks for the sharing.

They all are earning in very similar ways. Yes, they are not selling directly but FreePik is selling graphics and photographs.

FreePik - Earning by selling images. They also provide free download but need to give credit and purchasing license will give you right to use as you want.
Adsense and sales.

Pixabay - It is totally free and does not need to give credit for photo/video. Also, it does not seem to make money through this site but they are generating revenue with the affiliate.
The donation is not a good answer but yes there is a button. I never received any donation for my uploads, possible I do not have quality images.
Affiliate and donation

Unsplash - Here same. No credit is required to use the photo/video from them.
They use adsense and affiliate program.
Affiliate and adsense

Gratisography - It is also free to use and I did not see adsense ads there but affiliate link and discount coupon can be seen on the top side to make a purchase. Even the picture detail page shows affiliate image links on the right side and you will see Adobe affiliate link just next to download button.

PixLoger - Another free photo only for almost the project work. Adsense ad and the affiliate links are easily visible while browsing through the pages.
Affiliate and adsense

So, most of the free content providers earn money with Adsense program and affiliate program apart from this. Affiliate program is second by choice for all content makers after Adsense/sale/advertising.