My 10 Favorite Image Placeholder Services and Why

Boring but Useful Image Placeholders

There’s all types of image placeholder sites. Think of image placeholders as lorem ipsum, but for images instead of text. Some popular image placeholder services are Dummy Image and Both of those sites let you specify your image dimensions in the URL and then they will spit out an image in the requested dimensions.

Both are good services, and I’ve used Dummy Image extensively, especially while working for the Ames Tribune. As a newspaper, we used the IAB standard ad sizes, which Dummy Image has built-in. So all we needed to do for a standard 300x250px IAB placeholder ad image is this:

Dummy Image

That’ll produce the image below.

Background color of the image is #222222 and the text color is set to #eeeeee.

The Problem and Solutions

That’s fine and dandy, but what if we need placeholder images that give more life to our mockups? Like actual people, objects, and other organic stuff you find in the meatspace. Having dull placeholder images can give a bad first impression when meeting with new clients. Why not spice it up a bit and add some placeholder images that are somewhat relevant to the project at hand?

Also, flat, plain images simply don’t fit with some designs. Thankfully, this is where sites like placekitten, and come in.

These sites will give you actual photos for placeholder images, not just plain boxes with the image dimensions inside. The image attached to this post is a placeholder image from Fill Murray. Here’s a smaller placeholder image from Fill Murray, accomplished with this

Placekitten 700x300px

My Absolute Favorite Image Placeholder Service I like zombies, my oldest daughter loves zombies. So, I decided to revived the now dead and got a new domain for it at The original domain expired and someone else picked it up, unfortunately. I maintain and use it everywhere, I could be a bit partial to it, I suppose. šŸ™‚ does color placeholder images and greyscale placeholder images.

Color Image Placeholder
Color Image Placeholder
Greyscale Image Placeholder
Greyscale Image Placeholder

Genre-Specific Image Placeholder Services


Only because I’ll be giving them a photo of me soon.

2. Placekitten

Kittens just bring a certain, I dunno, something to your early designs. They’re cute and usually quite fluffy.

3. Flickrholdr

There’s a ton of great photos on Flickr, so this isn’t really genre-specific, but it needs mentioned. Pull images based on tags to simplify finding images that are relevant to your current project.


I now maintain this site at This one is a must if you’re building a horror or zombie related site. Some of the images might even be useful as production pieces.

5. Placebear

Like bears? So do I. As with most of these services, you can get your images in full color or in greyscale, and Placebear is no exception.

See below for a Placezombie example.

Placezombie 700x250px

Novelty Image Placeholder Services

1. Placecage

Who doesn’t like Nick Cage? I particularly like this one.

2. Placesheen

Charlie Sheen was everywhere a few months ago, why not memorialize him with an image placeholder service?

3. Fill Murray

I really like Bill Murray, so I could actually see myself using this service for personal projects where I don’t necessarily care if the images are of a certain genre.

4. Nice Nice JPG!

Can you guess who’s featured in this image placeholder service? Unfortunately, yes, the always pleasant Vanilla Ice. Reminds me of the good old days.

5. Steven SeGALLERY

I would never use this for anything, ever. And neither should you. But, if you must, don’t come bitching when you start dreaming of Steven, with hair slicked back, pointing a gun at you due to overexposure to Mr. Segal.

6. Morgan Fillman

You can never have enough Morgan Freeman in your sites. Just specify any size as per the examples below and make your website Mogan Freeman-tastic.
I know Steven Segal has a pretty loyal following, but I think his followers even look at him as a joke, his acting career for sure. Since I’ve hated on Steven so much, here’s a placeholder image just for him, because I secretly watch his movies every chance I get.

Steven Segallery 650x300px

Use Images for Placeholders

Sellaphix mentioned in the comments an image placeholder service that’s driven by, called Pretty cool, definitely worth checking out. even has the code that drives the site available on GitHub! You could roll your own, basically.

There’s a TON of image placeholder services around, there’s probably a few new ones being built right now. Google “image placeholders” and you could probably spend a few hours looking at various image placeholder services.

The ones I’ve listed are extremely easy to use and don’t require you to download anything. Just format your img tag as explained at each service and you’ll be set.

A Quick Note

If you’re switching image placeholder services around, beware that some use different URL formats. For example, image URL’s at Placezombie are×250. While others, like Fill Murray are formatted with a slash, like so So make sure you know what format the service you’re using is expecting.


If you have any other image placeholder services that you use that weren’t mentioned, I’d love to hear what they are. You can comment below or start a discussion at Hacker News.


In the comments, Babak mentioned, and I love it! Check out


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10 thoughts on “My 10 Favorite Image Placeholder Services and Why

  1. A super-classy fav of mine is It draws from the lovely free stock archive

    But {placekitten} is my favorite old fav for sure. :3

    (Cool you worked for the Ames Trib – I’ve been in Ames since 2003. Sweet place!)

    1. Damn, small world. Only folks from central Iowa I ever see around here are past co-workers and a couple like-minded friends.

      I’ll add to the list, can’t get it to load right now for some reason. But I use frequently, love it.

      I’ve been in Story County my entire life. You into web development? I assume so, why else would you be here? heh.

  2. Hey! Great list. I noticed a few now don’t work – like nice nice jpg and placesheen.

    I was also wondering if you wouldn’t mind dropping one i’ve just made into the list šŸ˜‰ – Morgan Fillman –

    Sorry for the cheeky request!


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