How To Create And Install A favicon.ico

What is a Favicon

Favicon is short for “Favourites Icon” (“Favorites Icon” for you
Americans ;). The name is derived from the bookmark list for Microsoft
Internet Explorer which is called Favorites/Favourites list.
When you add a site to your Favourites/Favorites list,
Internet Explorer (version 5 and above) asks the server if it has a file
called favicon.ico.
If present, this file will be used to provide an icon that is displayed
next to the bookmark text.

Other browsers such as Mozilla have also added support for favicons. Depending
on the browser, the favicon can appear in a variety of places, not just in the
bookmarks list (in fact, it may not even appear in the bookmark list at all).
It may be shown in the address bar or the title of a browser
tab, for instance.


How to create a Favicon

To create a favicon.ico simply create a 16×16 .PNG file and convert it
to an icon resource with png2ico. If you want, you can add more images to
the same icon resource to provide alternative resolutions. Most
browsers only use a 16×16 image but in a different context (e.g. when you drag
a URL from the address bar onto your desktop) a larger icon may be shown.
If the icon resource only contains a 16×16 image, this will be scaled to the
appropriate size, so technically there is never a need to add alternative
resolutions. However, doing so can increase the quality of the displayed icon.

Keep in mind that for a user with a slow modem a favicon.ico may increase
the page loading time by a few seconds if it is too large, so don’t
overdo it. Adding a 32×32 alternative should be enough to make sure the image
will look good even in contexts with larger icons.
Adding even more and larger alternatives is unnecessary bloat.
Try to keep the number of colors below 16 and create a 16-color icon using
the --colors 16 switch of png2ico (or even create a b/w icon
with the --colors 2 switch). This will result in a smaller
file that loads faster.

When you create the images to include in your favicon.ico, don’t forget
that the icon may be composed against various background colors so
you should use transparency rather than a solid background if you want
to avoid that your icon appears inside a box. Note, that icon resources
only support binary transparency, i.e. a pixel may be visible or invisible
but not something like 30% translucent.


Installing your Favicon

To add your new favicon.ico to a web page put it on the server into
the same directory as the web page it is for
(e.g. www.example.com/foo/favicon.ico for
www.example.com/foo/index.html). That is the first place a
browser will search. If it doesn’t find an icon there, it checks the
top-level directory of the server (www.example.com/favicon.ico
for the www.example.com server), so by putting it there you can have
a default favicon for all the pages in your domain. Depending on
browser and configuration, the favicon.ico is not always
rendered, even if it is in one of the above locations,
unless the web page explicitly declares its presence. To declare that
your web page has an icon, you add the following 2 lines into the
section of your page:



You can also create or convert images (jpg. gif, png etc) into favicon.ico online


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