Favicons – Your Favourites Have a Face


See that little icon at the left side of your URL bar? What you’re looking at is a favicon.

The word ‘favicon’ is short for ‘favorites icon’. Favicons were originally introduced with Internet Explorer 5. To install a favicon, developers could place an image file in the root of their web server with a specific name. This image file would then be used as the favicon for the website, and would be displayed in the user’s ‘favorites’ toolbar alongside the domain of the website.

But why?, I hear you ask.

There are many reasons why you may want to upload a favicon for your website. Firstly, if your site will be aggregated by content providers, or if your sites main feature is RSS, the favicon you upload will be displayed by your RSS feed, making it easy for users to identify your website quickly. It’s also the same case in a user’s favorites list, where there are many sites. You to stand out in that list and provide a quick graphical reminder of your sites.

Also, people DO notice favicons. For example, when Google recently changed there favicon, the blogosphere picked up and all of a sudden there were hundreds upon thousands of posts about the switch.

Your next question will most likely be: How do I create a favicon?

One of the best ways to create a favicon is to visit a website such as Favicon.cc. Favicon.cc provides you with a large square, comprising of 256 smaller squares. On the right hand side of the page there is a Color Picker box, which allows you to choose a color for the box you are about to fill in.
Then, once a color is selected, hover over a box and click it to fill it with that color. You can fill all the boxes with colors of your choice, and when you are finished, click the ‘Download Favicon’ button at the bottom of the page. This will download a file named “favicon.ico” to your computer.

Now, all you have to do is upload this file in to the root of your site’s web server. Once you have done this, the favicon will be available in the URL bar, beside the web address of the site.

Favicon.cc also has a gallery of the top rated user created favicons. The gallery can be viewed here.