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Favorite Icon (Favicon)

Definition - What does Favorite Icon (Favicon) mean?

A favorite icon (favicon) is a shortcut icon that represents an associated Web page or website. It is usually displayed on a compliant browser’s address bar before the URL and bookmarks folder. It may also be displayed on the desktop as the bookmarked website. A favicon is used to differentiate or identify a website and helps it stand out in the cluttered list of bookmarks and favorites. The favicon picture files are stored in a special format, .ico, that is loaded along with the website or webpage. The favicon feature is supported in IE 5+, Firefox and Opera browsers and most other graphical Web browsers.

Favicons are also known as bookmark icons or tab icons.

Techopedia explains Favorite Icon (Favicon)

Favicons were first introduced by Internet Explorer 5 in which a favicon.ico file was placed in the root directory of the website. It was used as an icon reminder next to the URL address of the website in the favorites or bookmarks folder of the browser. The favicon file is usually stored in the browser’s cache memory or any other temporary file location.

The initial implementations of favicon had a side effect in which website owners could count the number of page views with the help of the information on how many times a load request was made for the favicon file.

The favicon was standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and since then the standard implementation of the favicon uses the link element in the rel attribute in the head section of the HTML document.

The favicon files are stored in the .ico format. Any picture can be easily converted to the .ico format using online services like FavIcon from Pics. Some websites even use animated favicons. The favicon feature does not support any other file format like .jpeg or .png.

There are 2 methods by which you can display the favicon in a website:

  • Upload the icon file to the main directory of the site.
  • If access to the root directory is not available or if a different icon has to be displayed for different pages, the favicon can be added to the head section of the HTML document using the link tag and rel attribute.

Favicons are also supported by Apple devices with iOS 1.1.3 or later versions, and some Android systems.

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