How to make a favicon

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How to make a fav-icon?

September 20th 2005, updated on January 30th 2009

This guide explains the term favicon, gives you hints how to make your own favicons, and tells you how to modify your internet pages to display favicon in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.

This guide is intended for people with basic knowledge about icons and HTML.

Favicon gives a web site identity

Favicon is a small image displayed by an internet browser:

  • in the address box,
  • in the Favorites (Bookmarks) pane and menu,
  • modern browsers also display them in tabs,
  • and there is also an extension for Firefox, which displays favicons on Google search pages.

rsrc/favicon-in-browser.png image
Favicon in the address bar and in a bookmarks panel of a web browser

Favicons are supported by all major web browsers. They are not a mandatory part of a web page. Web browsers will use a default icon if page lacks its own favicon, but a nice favicon gives a website identity and makes it easier to recognize and remember.

What's new in IE9 and Widnows 7

rsrc/ie9fav.png imageInternet Explorer 9 pushed the limit again and requires larger fav-icons when a site is pinned to the taskbar in Windows 7.

Creating a favicon

Favicon is just an ordinary icon with 16x16 pixels images. For best compatibility, there should be an image with 16 colors or 256 colors. Browsers are also able to use the smooth 32bit image with alpha channel. Images with larger sizes are not necessary (unless you want to target users running in high-DPI modes, but the support of that in browsers is very inconsistent) and would only make the icon file larger -> it will take longer to download, so leave them out.

You can create a favicon in any icon editor. Use either RealWorld Icon Editor, or pick up one of the other icon editors (there is a list of icon editors in our directory). If you want to create favicon without installing anything, use an online icon maker. It supports 256 colors with transparency and it can also convert pictures to icons. Once you have the icon, rename it to favicon.ico and upload it on your web server.

Assigning favicon to a page

To activate your favicon, you must modify the source of your web page. Add this line to the <head> section of your page:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

Following example shows complete html of a very simple page with favicon:

<html>
<head>
<title>Title of my page</title>
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
</head>
<body>
My page is not empty. See?
</body>
</html>

Browser specific notes

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer supports favicons since version 5.0. It is actually quite hard to make IE5 or IE6 show the favicon. If the icon is not showing, try one of the following:

  • Add the page to your favorites. If you already have the page in your favorites folder, remove it and add it again.
  • Make sure, the icon file is called favicon.ico and it is placed in the root folder of your web server.
  • Make sure, the path to the favicon in the header of your page is absolute, not relative.
  • Delete your temporary internet files. If the folder with temporary files has reached its maximum, the favicon may not be used.
  • If your favicon is still not showing, leave us a comment below.

Later versions of Internet Explorer improve support for favicons and it is not necessary anymore to add a page to your favorites to see the icon.

Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome

These browsers support favicons flawlessly. You do not need to add a page to your bookmarks, the icon is automatically displayed in address bar and eventually in a tab heading. They will accept any file name, not just favicon.ico, hence you may assign different icon to each page on your web.

Animated favicons

Firefox allows you to use any pictures as favicons, including .gif animations. Opera can do this as well, but it does not animate the picture. If you want an animated favicon, simply create favicon.gif and use the same html code as above. If you add two lines to yout <head> section, animated favicon will be used by Firefox and the normal one by the other browsers.

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.gif" />

Warning: animation effect may distract users. Adding an animated favicon to your page only to demonstrate that you can do it, is not always the right idea. Some users may be irritated by it.

Frequent problems and solutions

These are the typical problems and solutions related to favicons. This list is based on comments accumulated during the existence of this page. Please read them carefully before adding a new comment.

  • If you have changed the icon on your web you see an old icon (or no icon) in your browser, refresh the page or clear the cache. If you do not know how to clear the cache and you still see the old icon, try testing your web from another computer. You can ask your pals on your favorite discussion board if they see your new favicon.
  • Do not rename .bmp to .ico. I really mean it. You need to convert picture to icon using one of the methods described above. While Firefox will accept this fake .ico, others may not.
  • Once more: if you can, have the favicon available on url www.yourserver.com/favicon.ico with correct headers. It will save you a lot of troubles. Test if your favicon is accessible by putting its url in the address box. It should either be displayed in the browser as picture or the download dialog should appear. If you see gibberish text instead, your web browser is not configured properly to handle .ico files.
  • Icons (.ico files) may contain multiple images with different sizes and different color depths. If your favicon contains multiple images and you only change one of them, you may not see the change in your browser, because it shows you a different image from the .ico file.
  • Favicons do not work in some browsers if you test them locally by opening a .html file (without a web server).

Recent comments

- show all comments
user icon Anonymous on November 12th 2013

it is working only in firefox. what about ie and crom

user icon Anonymous on November 14th 2013

:-( mine is working only with google chrome :-( it is not respoding in firefox or internet explorer 8 |-)

user icon Anonymous on December 30th 2013

Thank you so much :-)

user icon Anonymous on January 12th

I need help on mine. The original code reads,
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.gif" />
and i'm not sure where I should edit my personal information for the Favicon. ;-)

user icon Anonymous on February 8th

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="foldername_You_put_the_icons/favicon.icons" />

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" />
Same Folder as your Index folder! See the diferance!

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="foldername_You_put_the_icons/favicon.icon" />

hehehe sorry didn't see the "s,n" Favicon.ico

user icon Anonymous on March 4th

Here is an example --> <link rel="shortcut icon" href="/media/storage/pics/pie.ico" />

user icon Anonymous on April 1st

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="foldername_You_put_the_icons/favicon.icons" />

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" />
Same Folder as your Index folder! See the diferance!

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="foldername_You_put_the_icons/favicon.icon" />

hehehe sorry didn't see the "s,n" Favicon.ico

user icon Anonymous on April 6th

very bad

user icon Anonymous on June 12th

I'm Iranian.
Tank you ;-)

user icon Anonymous on September 6th

con somenone expaine this to me :-(
i am being able to di it

user icon Anonymous
Vista & Win 7 icons
I wish there were...