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How to Share Photos With Pixelfed — Free Instagram Alternative

Ah Instagram, we hardly knew you. Alternative photo-sharing platforms are on the rise, aiming to be the antidote to any one or more of Instagram’s less than favorable features. And one of those alternatives, which we recently profiled, is Pixelfed.

Pixelfed: Free Instagram Alternative

Billed as “an ethical alternative to centralized platforms,” Pixelfed was built for the open web. Instagram, in contrast, is an example of a centralized platform, which is controlled entirely by the Meta company. Pixelfed runs on open-source code instead, which anyone can obtain and use. That means that Pixelfed users with technical know-how can run their own Pixelfed server. You can also simply join servers that have already been created by other Pixelfed users.

There is a lot to say about the open web—why it was created and its advantages—but the important take away is that the Pixelfed feed is not controlled by higher-ups at a company. It is controlled by its users, who can procure the source code publicly and do what they see fit with it.

Main Features of Pixelfed

  • Is free to use
  • Contains no advertisements
  • Has a chronological feed (no algorithms)
  • Is privacy-focused (no third-party analytics or tracking)
  • Offers media descriptions for the visually impaired
  • Provides photo filters to add special visual touches to pictures
  • Has the option to assign a license to an image
  • Allows you to select your audience: public, non-listed, or followers only
  • Does not have a mobile app, but can be accessed using a mobile web browser

Now that you know a little bit about this platform, let’s see it in action. First up: How to upload and share images.

1. Create New Post

Go to https://pixelfed.social and log in or register for an account. This tutorial also applies to other Pixelfed hosts. Click on Create New Post.

2. Click on New Post

You also have the option for New Story and New Collection. We'll skip those for now.

Choose a picture to upload from your phone or desktop and click Upload. Accepted media types:

  • Jpeg
  • Gif
  • PNG
  • Webp

3. Apply a Photo Filter (Optional)

Click on the gray arrow above your image. 

Select a filter. Then click Next.

4. Write a Caption

Captions are limited to 2,000 characters.

5. Check Other Options

  • Designate your post as “Contains NSFW Media” if relevant.
  • Tag people (maximum of five profiles per comment or post).
  • Add it to a collection of other photos or start a new collection, if desired.
  • Add a license, if applicable. The default is All Rights Reserved.
    • all rights reserved
    • public domain work
    • public domain dedication (CCO)
    • attribution
    • attribution-sharealike
    • attribution-noncommercial
    • attribution-noncommercial-sharealike
    • attribution-nodervis
    • attribution-noncommercial-nodervis
  • Add a location, should you want to.
  • Choose your audience.
    • Public: visible by everyone on a public timeline
    • Unlisted: visible on a public profile but only followers see it in their timeline.
    • Followers Only: visible only to followers, including on your profile
  • Select Advanced settings to:
    • Turn off commenting (if applicable) under
    • Create a media description for the visually impaired

6. Post

And voilá! Your picture has now been posted.

Enable or Disable Comments

You might want to enable or disable comments for your post. Click on the three small gray vertical circles. Then click on Enable Comments or Disable Comments.

Post Management

Share, archive, or delete your post at any point in the future.

Click on your account settings in the upper right hand corner, and select Profile from the dropdown menu. Find the post and click on it, click on the three small gray vertical circles, then on the relevant option:

  • Click Share to share the post to followers, to copy the link, or embed it somewhere else by obtaining the embed code.
  • Click Archive to prevent others from interacting with it or viewing it. Archived posts cannot be deleted or otherwise interacted with. To unarchive a post, navigate to your profile and click Archives at the top. Scroll to the post you want to unarchive. Click on the three small gray vertical circles and click Unarchive, followed by OK.
  • Click Delete to remove the post entirely.

Liberate Yourself From Instagram

If Instagram’s features keep you from producing images and sharing them with your followers, then it’s time to consider other options—and they do exist. You are not tethered to using Instagram, as much as it might feel you are or need to be. Yes, it will take you a moment to build up a new community of followers and persuade others to migrate to your chosen alternative platform, but time is a-wasting if you are unhappy with Instagram. Stop contributing to a platform that is not in sync with your desires and needs, and start contributing to one that does. Not only will it be better for you, but it also means you will be supporting a platform (and its employees, albeit not monetarily) that you truly believe in.

Discover More Photo-Sharing Resources

About This Page

About the Authors

Duncan Clark wrote this. Jackson Couse edited and published it.

Share Your Craft on the Envato Forums

Have you tried Pixelfed? Tell us about your experience on Envato forums. It's always good to hear from you and find out what you've been up to!

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