How to use External images in WordPress without Import

Today I will show you how you can use external images on your WordPress site without import. 

NOTE: Skip to “Adding external image” if you already have your image link and just want to add it to your WordPress site.

Don’t skip if you want to know how you can host your website images.

Why offload images –

Images are One of the most important parts of a blog because without images our blog won’t look beautiful and won’t attract users. Which will lower engagement on our site and also lower our rankings.

That’s why adding at least three images to a blog post is recommended.

Now when it comes to images the problem with images is that images are bulky and take up a lot of bandwidth and storage. Which is something that can cost you a lot of money and also increase the loading time of your website.

That is something that nobody wants. Now to fix that problem what we can do is offload the images, meaning that serving the images from a external server instead of where our website is hosted.

Hosting our images in a different place will save us a lot of bandwidth and will also make our website faster and decrease the image loading speed.

Where to host website images for offloading –

To offload the images of our site we will have to first choose a reliable place to host our images. There are lots of different image hosting services out there that you can use. 

But those will cost us a lot of money to use. Now If your website is very big then you will have to use paid image hosting.

But if it’s not and uses less than 20 GB of bandwidth per day then you can use Dropbox for hosting your images. Dropbox gives us 2GB of storage space on a free account which you can increase by buying their paid plan which is very cheap.

Now let us see how we can add these images hosted externally to our WordPress site without importing them.

Hosting image on external server and getting the link –

You can use any image hosting for this, the only thing we need is the image link to be able to use it on our WordPress site externally without import.

Create a dropbox account –

To begin, first, we will have to make a dropbox account and upload an image in it and get the image link. If you already have a dropbox account then you can skip to the next step “image uploading” by clicking here.

1. First go to and there click on “Sign Up for Free”.

2. Now here you can sign up using your email or you can just sign up using a Google account. I chose “Sign Up with Google” because it’s faster. You can select anything that you feel more comfortable with.

3. After selecting the google account you will get a popup that will ask “Dropbox wants access to your Dropbox account” click on allow to continue.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - sign up for dropbox

4. Now, here add your first name and surname. Click on I agree and then click on “create and continue”.

5. Here select the plan that you need or click on “Continue with 2 GB Dropbox Basic plan” if you don’t want to buy any plan.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - select dropbox plan.

6. Now after selecting your plan or continuing without a plan will ask you to download dropbox on your PC. You can download this software or you can use dropbox from your web browser.

Your dropbox account is now ready to host images for your WordPress site.

Uploading and getting image link –

To upload a new image to your dropbox account first go to and sign in with your account if not signed in already.

1. Here click on the “Create” button and then select Folder. Name it anything you want and then click on create.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - create new dropbox folder

2. Once the folder is created click on the “Upload” button and select files. Upload the image that you want.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - upload new image

3. Once the image is uploaded, select the image and click on the three dots on the right side. Here click on the “Share” option.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - share image

4. Now click on “Create Link” and after creating the link click on “Copy link”. 

The link will look something like this “”.

Change the dropbox url from “” to “” to be able to use it in your website.

Now that we have created the link to our image hosted on an external server, let’s see how we can use that external image in our WordPress site without importing it.

Adding external image without Import on wordpress-

As you know, WordPress doesn’t allow you to add external images on your WordPress site without importing them by default.

Now to be able to add external images to your WordPress site without import you will have to use a WordPress plugin called “External Media without Import”

It’s a very helpful plugin made by Zhixiang Zhu which allows you to add external media without import on your WordPress site. 

Download it from here. Or search for it. It has not been updated in a long time but it still works fine without any problem. Make sure to create a site backup before installing the plugin, just to be on the safe side.

1. Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and then go to Plugins>Add New. Search for “External Media without Import”. Install the plugin and then activate it.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - install external media without import plugin

2. To access the plugin. Go to Media> Add External media. 

How to use external images in wordpress without import - go to external media without import settings

3. Now, here add the URLs of the images that you would like to add to your website. One URL per line. And then click on “Add

How to use external images in wordpress without import - add image urls

4. The image will be now added to your WordPress Media Library. The image won’t be imported to your site, it will be served through the external URL and not your site URL.

How to use external images in wordpress without import - image is loaded externally without import

You can now use these external images on anything like featured images, logos, posts, etc.

And that’s how you can add external images to your WordPress site without import. This will help you a lot in saving the bandwidth and resources of your WordPress site. 

Now, one of the cons of using external images on your WordPress site instead of hosting them directly from your server is that the external images won’t be indexed on google.

This means that you will lose out on traffic and ranking from google images. To fix that you will have to host the images on your own server. You can still offload the images on your site if you have them hosted on your own server by using an image cdn.

Using an image cdn will work the same as using an external image, saving you resources and bandwidth. But the only difference will be that your images will get indexed on google if you use image cdn.

Your image will be served from URLs like “”

Check out these tutorials on how you can use image cdn on your WordPress site to offload your images –

How to use Jetpack Image CDN without Jetpack plugin

How to use Statically CDN on a WordPress blog


Is it safe to use this WordPress plugin?

Yes, this plugin is safe to use on your WordPress site. It might be a little old but it still works without any problem. I have been using this plugin for more than 6 months on one of my sites and it’s still working fine without any problem.

Does offloading or using external images on wordpress website helps in making the website faster.

Yes, Offloading the images on our wordpress website to a external server helps in making our wordpress website faster. Because it reduces the server load of our own website and also the external image are served through cloud servers that are very fast.

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