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What exactly is the purpose of favicon.ico? For bookmarks only? Or not?[edit]

When I see that my web server has served the file "favicon.ico" to a remote machine, can I infer that the user of that remote machine has bookmarked my web-site or web-page, or is the serving of favicon.ico not a reliable indication of a book-marking on the part of the remote host? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 20 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

favicon.ico is generally served with all page requests, so no, you cannot infer that your visitor has bookmarked your page. My Ubuntu (talk) 02:19, 10 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

File Format Support[edit]

Why does this table, or actually, this entire section exist at all? (talk) 04:58, 2 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because you can see that there are differences in supporting different web browsers. Many developers are asking about animated favicons for example. mabdul 09:50, 2 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The section is fine, but I'm almost sure that less than 8-bit is also okay. Notably 1-bit (e.g., black & white) or 16 colors (4-bit) are relevant, for conversions from or to XPM 64 colors (6-bit) are also interesting. – (talk) 06:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coding the Favicon Into The Page[edit]

The question becomes one of how to make the browsers recognize the favicon. The text infers that if a favicon is placed in the root directory of the website in the .ICO format it will magically appear in the address bar, which is incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, that's exactly what happens. These browsers automatically look for .ico file in the root of the web site's document tree and use it if it is found. HTTPd log files will show the request for this file over and over again by each user-agent that visits and requests it. --RossO (talk) 19:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[example needed] what else should happen? which browser do you use? mabdul 00:43, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is up with the "Limitations and criticism" section?[edit]

These are some obscure complaints which aren't really about favicons at all. They boil down to "big files take a long time to download", "you can get viruses from webpages", "old browsers don't support everything", "some webhosts suck", "html-only features don't work in gopher", and "you have to put HTML on every page for it to be used on that page". How is any of this specific to favicons? Also, it's a bit of a stretch to call GData's Security Blog a "critic" - they were just highlighting a security issue they'd come across, they made no criticism of favicons in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 28 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This critic is a) well referenced and b) topic related. Of course that every big file needs longer to download than a small file, but that is something like a howto/advice not to create big favicon-files.
The fact that the favicon has to be linked on every page is a design flaw(similar to css) that is not better solved by puitting the favicon in any directory (also design flaw)...
that old browser doesn't support the favicon is a fact. That this fact may not be longer vailed is another thing.
gopher support may be also not longer a vailed argument since only a (few) hundreds sites exists, but the favicon is indeed only a www feature.
the gdata blog entry with the the drive-by-download problem may be removed although this is the best place to include such a problem: The user can't change the behaviour of the web browser not accepting any favicon. This belongs not to any particular web browser but more to all web browser and since big applications always have bugs and thus normally security problems also by the drive-by-download fact.
Overall you may be right: many disadvantages and limitations aren't directly connected with the favicon, but the problem is connected by the fact of the favicon is missing, to big or by the fundamental structur chosen by the W3C/MS. mabdul 13:10, 12 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
mabdul 13:10, 12 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed two of the statements. 1), the issue with "big files slowing page load" is quite unlikely, considering the favicon - being no more than 32x32 pixels in common situations - isn't likely to be larger than any other image on the page; curiously, the source plugs its own "optimiser" to solve this "problem". 2), the malware concern does not explicitly state what browser the issue afflicts, though it depicts Firefox 3 in a screenshot. Firefox 3, however, does not exhibit the stated issue- HTML content in a document that the browser expects to be an image is simply not parsed, and I am not aware of any other browser that does do so.
The concern about hosts not permitting ICO files is plausible- some free webhosts do restrict file types to a few arbitrary "common" extensions, meaning that IE, which accepts only ICO format icons, cannot be supported in this (arguably uncommon) case.--CoJaBo (talk) 01:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article contained the following statement at the end of the .ico "standard" paragraph: However, other image formats like PNG offer wide browser support and advanced features like compression and color profiles. I've removed this for now, just insert it again if you think it is okay.

While that statement is not wrong it sounds like a non-neutral POV, color profiles and compression are not typically important for 16×16 icons. And .ico offers optimized BMP images for various sizes, in fact it can consist of only one 16×16 BMP for the purposes of a favicon, which won't suffer from any automatically scaling down artefacts. Other formats including PNG have no "reverse transparency" (the opposite of the background color, XOR 0xFF), while ICO hashad no opacity (only transparency, like GIF).

IMO this article isn't a good place to compare ICO with PNG, besides SVG would be more interesting. Unrelated, just because ICO is now "officially" registered this is no proper "standard", it's only a pointer to an old Windows 95 book explaining the oddities of the ICO format (at this time, the format was extended later as explained in ICO). – (talk) 07:31, 7 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Exactly the same POV appeared in the ICO article; I removed it there, too. Besides this article explains that the MS Vista or "better" operating systems now support PNG within ICO. – (talk) 04:21, 23 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should be noted that no released Firefox version does not support the Vista version of the ICO format. (Bugzilla entry) -- (talk) 23:26, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

W3C specification references[edit]

Please use direct links to relevant paragraphs in W3C specs which defines specific rel attribute value. As i currently see, spefications only defining means to extend HTML to support favicons, there is no specific definition of favicons there. Other references are for K. Dubost's non-normative articles on favicons and these pages are linking this Wikipedia article back! Thus it is not evident what this is really standardized behaviour. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added a "Failed verification" to that now. Should probably remove the whole claim that W3C standardized favicons in the HTML 4.01 time frame, but I don't know how else to begin that section. JöG (talk) 19:34, 13 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

new addition[edit]

I reverted a few minutes ago this edit because of mutliple reasons:

  • 'Compatibility - All browsers, including IE 5.0 support .ico format.' - this is already mentioned in the table
  • 'Avoid 404 server errors - All modern browsers (tested with Chrome 4, Firefox 3.5, IE8, Opera 10 and Safari 4) will always request a favicon.ico so it's best to always have a favicon.ico file, to avoid a "404 not found" errors.' is simply wrong: you don't get a 404 if the link rel tag is used.
  • '.ico file can hold more than one icon, no need to have multiply files for 16x16 and 48x48 icons' although this is correct, it doesn't matter! only one is displayed.
  • If you also scroll up at this talkpage, you will notice that png has also some advantages and thus this isn't clearly written from a NPOV. mabdul 11:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Creating a new top-level section for "Site Icons as Program Launchers" (as in iOS home screen icons)[edit]

I agree with IlliterateSage in his/her statement that apple-touch-icon ≠ favicon. But, having said that, the overarching method of using link rel="icon" (or rel="shortcut icon" for both confuses the issue, and I think if we squirrel the discussion of apple-touch-icon away into a different article you lose valuable context, and this would also hurt discoverability.

What I would like to do is just move the "Devices" subsection to a new (top-level) section called something like "Mobile Device Support," perhaps even "Site Icons as Program Launchers" or similar. With Google Chrome's support for adding "application shortcuts" to a user's desktop, as with Fluid on OS X and now Fogger for Linux, the topic deserves some discussion of these "web app" launcher icons. They are not-the-same-as but also not-so-distinctly-different from "favicons," so I believe this discussion should stay in this (Favicon) article. Also, the HTML5 proposal deserves an expanded mention, perhaps with code samples.

My concern is regarding the etiquette of renaming sections in an article. This could break incoming links (not in an "error 404" way) though, if for some reasons someone comes in via a subsection target link. Should I be worried about that over improving the clarity of the article? --Ernstkm (talk) 01:17, 15 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jus a “Thank you” for this article![edit]

Criticism is frequent on Wikipedia Talk pages, so, to make an exception, let me say:

Thank you all for this comprehensive article! It is the best and handiest source for information about the Favicon issue which I have ever found on the web! --Roman Eisele (talk) 14:12, 31 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First reference is a broken link[edit]

The reference "Creating a multi-resolution favicon including transparency with the GIMP" is broken. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:55, 21 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blocking animated favicons?[edit]

Does anyone know a good way to block animated favicons? I've tried adding scripts in AdBlockPlus (for a favicon.ico file), but no luck. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:40, 29 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Should we update the picture? George8211 // Give a trout a home! 16:22, 15 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is the purpose of favicons again?[edit]

Since the side effect of estimating the number of visitors who have bookmarked the page no longer works, why is so much effort devoted to them? And in my IE 10 w/ Win7, favicons are in my cookie/Temp Internet Files, but unlike cookies, they cant be deleted. This is troubling. Do they work like cookies as a tracking device, etc? (talk) 17:36, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply], favicon files are stored in the browser cache much like ordinary images. When you clear the cache the favicon files are deleted too. Favicon images can't be used for "tracking" other than if someone were to gain possession of your machine they will be able to see the date/time and source web site for the cached content, including the favicon files. Most of the tracking is done by third party companies such as doubleclick, Google, Facebook, etc. None of them can use Favicon for this.
The reason favicon gets so much attention is that it's a visual logo. If you have a bunch of browser tabs open and see one with a "g" in a blue background and another with a "W" in a white background you know which tab is likely for Google and which is likely for Wikipedia. While you'd think favicon files would be a standard part of reinforcing a company's brand identity not everyone uses them. For example, does not have one. I assume they felt they could not get a proper yellow "m" with the red background within 16x16 pixels. --Marc Kupper|talk 01:40, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was cleaning up my watchlist and see that now has a favicon. Their favicon.ico file is dated 11/10/2015 though I don't know if that's when they added it or if that is the most recent revision or upload to their web server. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have written a Favicon/Apple-touch-icon creator and would like editors to consider adding a link to it in this article.[edit]

I have a program that takes an uploaded master image and creates all of the correctly sized apple-touch-icons and favicons and compresses them into a zip for downloading.

I am aware that it is frowned upon to promote your own work so I would like fellow editors to consider adding a link to the apple-touch-icon generator as I feel it would be as helpful to other visitors as it has been to me.

CookipediaChef (talk) 18:08, 12 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A favicon /ˈf[unsupported input]vjkɒn/ ???[edit]

Published page starts with apparent pronunciation error, "A favicon /ˈf[unsupported input]vjkɒn/", while editing box displays "A favicon /ˈf[unsupported input]vjkɒn/"— Preceding unsigned comment added by RRawpower (talkcontribs) 19:01, 7 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply] was responsible for that 6 May 2014 change (diff). Changes reverted by this 01:12, 9 May 2014 edit. – wbm1058 (talk) 18:43, 8 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Updated photo[edit]

Hi everyone! It would be great if someone could screenshot a new photo for this page. The current one is getting quite outdated. Thanks, Daylen (talk) 18:46, 6 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Animated icon not displaying vs. showing first frame[edit]

Should the tables clarify whether or not the browser does not show the image at all or only shows its first frame for animated GIFs and APNGs? A set of test pages would make this easier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sollyucko (talkcontribs) 01:14, 28 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How is it not a standard .ico icon?[edit]

I see several comments above asking What is it? Me too.

I've been making .ico icons for over 10 years, and after reading the Lede and several sections, still have no idea what a favicon is. I've also D/L hundreds of so-called favicons, they seem to be images, period, unlike your description. To me they are just plain icons. Is my terminology or impressions wrong, or what? (I even wonder if "favicon" is an obsolete (politely: legacy) term.)

In Windows, I make an icon by creating a 32 x 32 or 64 x 64 .gif (or other) 256-color image, then change the extension to .ico. (Windows displays them all as 32 x 32 in folders and can be associated to folders, shortcuts etc.) Done. Those images I save as .ico in image editors like Irfanview are identical to a changed-extension file.   I think clarifying this is fundamental to understanding, and belongs in the lede section. Also: MOS:LEDE
--2602:306:CFCE:1EE0:B590:65F:FA3D:A071 (talk) 15:43, 14 November 2019 (UTC)Just SayingReply[reply]

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Animated favicons[edit]

The Browser implementation section says that Microsoft Edge doesn't support them but when I look at on edge, I see the animation.

Also, should we mention that chrome and IE display the favicon but without animation? --Guy Macon (talk) 03:18, 10 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article should answer the following questions:

In the link rel should the URL be or

When answering the above question, does it matter whether link rel canonical is www or non www?

Should the link rel include type="image/x-icon"?

Different examples on the net do it differently. What do the standards say to do? 12:54, 2 January 2021 (UTC)2600:1700:D0A0:21B0:484E:8274:3583:EFF3 (talk)

'History' section update[edit]

This side effect no longer works, as all modern browsers load the favicon file to display in their web address bar, regardless of whether the site is bookmarked.

Do any of the big browsers still do this? Should probably be removed —rjt (talk) 08:04, 15 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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The "Examples of Favicons" section[edit]

@SagoShader: First of all, please stop breaking the article's structure. You placed this top level section right in the middle of the § History, reparenting the § Standardization and § Legacy under the Examples which makes absolutely no sense. Please don't do this. Secondly, can you explain what purpose this section is supposed to serve in the context of the article? What point are you trying to illustrate with all these images? Please review WP:IG and explain why do you think it is needed before reinserting it. Note that there is already a Commons Category box in the § External links. Please also note that many of these images are not suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia at all. – MwGamera (talk) 11:01, 26 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've moved those sections back. Not sure they're listening to anyone, if their talk page is anything to go by. It's one unacknowledged warning after another after another. Sumanuil. 07:42, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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