Pexels photos disappearing

I’ve been using for my background photos in my pens on Codepen, and every couple of weeks the links stop working and whatever photo I was using disappears from the pexels site. So far, I’ve had to change my portfolio photo twice. Am I supposed to store these photos on some other image hosting site?

So if you search for the photo again on, you can not find it or do you mean the link to the photo no longer displays the photo (you get a 404 error or something)?

If it is the latter, it could be they change the url names often, to prevent others from just linking to their images. I did not read their Terms of Service, but you are probably supposed to download the images and store them somewhere else instead of hot linking directly to their images.


I personally use an image hosting service such as cloudinary (google it ;)) to store the pictures I use in my pens, works well for me. Not sure but it seems that dropbox is an other good option…

When I follow the link, this shows:

"This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below."

Access Denied


Also, when I search for the photo again at, I cannot find it.
I might just try storing them somewhere if I can’t figure out the issue.

You might try reaching out to Pexels and describe what you are seeing. I googled around but could not find anything indicated what would cause you to see this “Access Denied” message.

Many sites, especially photo sites, have something in place to keep people from directly liinking to their images, otherwise known as hot linking The more people who hot link to images on their server, the more it burns through their bandwidth which adds up and costs them money. At least Pexels only kills the link…some sites change it to another image with a warning not to use their bandwidth, and others replace the image with rude or gross images.

Best way to go about it is to download the photo and use it from your own webhost…if you dont have one, you can use a free image hosting site. A good one I recommend is

Oh that makes sense. I’ll download and host for myself from now on. Thanks for the help.

Yup, thought it would help you to know exactly why its happening. Back in the day I learned that lesson the hard way when a nice pic turned into a not so nice pic…my sister called me in a panic when she showed someone my website. Embarrassing!!! LOL

Glad to have helped :slight_smile: