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the favicon

At just 16x16 pixels the favicon is the biggest friend a webmaster could have!

if you have access to your serverlogs you have probably seen the 'favicon.ico not found' error message

the 'favicon.ico not found' error is caused by Internet Explorer 5.0 whenever a user bookmarks a webpage IE searches for a favicon file.

If you use Internet Explorer yourself you have probably already noticed that some of your favorites have a custom logo, this is the favicon, your 16 x 16 pixel friend. Not only does the favicon appear in the users favorites list, it also appears in the browsers address bar. The favicon can also be dragged to the taskbar or desktop and used as a shortcut.

upload a favicon to your server and you get a custom logo that really stands out from the default logo on your visitors browser, well the ones that use Internet Explorer 5.0 anyway, and you will also so stop seeing the 'favicon.ico not found' error

creating a 16x16 favicon
If you would like to create your own favicon you will either have to use a capaple graphics program such as icon forge (free trial version available at most download sites) or you could make one at where you will find an online icon generator

just click the link that says icon generator and once the next page has loaded a java window will open allowing you to create and edit your own icon, the default setting is 16 x 16 pixels and 16 colors, there is also a 'transparent' option, any square in the 16x16 pixel grid that contains a gray/white chequer is transparent, the eraser tool will also cause transparent areas in the favicon.

It is childs play to create a 16x16 pixel icon using this tool and when your done you can email the finished result to yourself and you have the option of adding your masterpiece to the favicon library.

Once you have decided on a design you will need to make sure that it is called 'favicon.ico' (without the quotes) then upload it to you server into you root directory, the same directory as your index.html, that's it!! you should also upload it to any other folders or directorys that contain your web pages, if you dont want a favicon in each folder the you will have to use the 'link' tag in the head of each document

<LINK REL="SHORTCUT ICON" href="favicon.ico">

the trouble with favicons

Your new custom bookmark should lead to many more direct requests for your url and keep visitors returning and will give your site an edge against those puny default icons, who would have thought that something as simple to create and install as a favicon could have so much impact, however...

well.. there are a couple of slight problems, our little 16x16 pixel buddy does not work on some freeservers like geocities unless a link tag is used to a favicon on another server that does support them


another problem is it may work for everyone else, but not work for you

if you can't get the icon to show up try deleteing your site from 'favorites' clearing your 'history' and your 'cache' (temporary internet files) folders then visit your site and add it to favorites again

you may even have to shut down your computer once you have visited your site and you are sure that the favicon is in your computers cache

If all fails at least you can check your website on a friends/work/library computer and be reassured that it does work on other peoples computers

after all, thats why you use the favicon

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