Using Thumbnails on Your Website: Good or Bad?

Article last updated on:
April 19, 2024

This guide argues whether you can:

  • Use somebody else’s thumbnails on your website;
  • Use your own images;
  • And why.

Which thumbnails can you use?

1. Your own: Yes

Can I use a YouTube Thumbnail on My Website?

You can only use your own thumbnails. Generally, you cannot use someone else’s YouTube thumbnail on your website without permission.

2. Somebody else’s: No

“Can I use somebody else’s thumbnail?”

Not really. Legally speaking, can only use somebody else’s YouTube thumbnails only if you ask for permission.

Thumbnails are considered copyrighted content, and using them without permission could lead to copyright infringement issues.

Only your own thumbnails can be used freely.

How to Use Any Thumbnail on Your Website

  1. Reach out for permission: Contact the YouTube channel owner and ask for permission to use their thumbnail.
  2. Create your own thumbnail: This is the best option. It allows you to customize the look and feel to perfectly match your website’s content.
  3. Use copyright-free images: There are many websites offering free images you can use for your website thumbnail.

Unfortunately, due to copyright laws, these are your only options.

Important Reads

To fully understand why thumbnails are copyrighted and why you can’t really use anybody else’s images even just for display in all situations, here’s where you can start (beyond this guide):

  1. List: What’s not allowed in thumbnails;
  2. Myth Busting: Copyright in thumbnails;
  3. Google’s Official Guides: Thumbnails Policy, Community Guidelines.

Thank you for reading this,

About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.