April 1, 2023

What Is a Favicon?

Youve probably observed that websites have little icons that appear in your browser tabs. Theres in fact an unique term for these icons–” favicon.”.

Favicons and the Modern Web.

— these little icons serve a basic, but important function. Thats all thanks to the simple favicon

Youve probably observed that sites have little icons that appear in your browser tabs. These icons make it simple to aesthetically recognize a website. Theres actually a special term for these icons–” favicon.”.

In the past, website owners might estimate the number of people had actually bookmarked a page by the variety of demands for the favicon. Nowadays, thats not possible as the favicon is loaded for every single page, regardless of whether its bookmarked.

The term “favicon” is a blend of two words–” favorite” and “icon.” The name is derived from how these icons were initially used. Favicons first appeared in Internet Explorer 5 in 1999 and they were displayed in the “Favorites”– a.k.a. “bookmarks”– and the address bar.

Joe Fedewa

Favicons are still alive and well in web internet browsers today. They appear in tabs, favorites, bookmark bars, and you can find them in mobile browsers. It wasnt long after favicons were introduced in 1999 that they ended up being standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium.

Some other names for “favicon” include ” shortcut icon,” “site icon,” “tab icon,” “URL icon,” or “bookmark icon.” However, the initial term was “favicon” whichs the one many people still use today. Lets take a more detailed take a look at these little icons.

Whichever file was conserved as favicon.ico would appear as the favicon for the website.

Modern favicons are a lot more robust. Theyre not just restricted to ICO files. Websites can utilize PNG, GIF (some even animated), JPEG, SVG, and APNG. Its common for favicons to match the sites social media profile photos and mobile app icons. Theyre a crucial element of the brand names visual identity.


Preferred + Icon.

RELATED: How to Set Up Fancy Icons (Favicons) for Your Website.

Its common for favicons to match the websites social media profile pictures and mobile app icons.

Unlike a lot of terms that mix 2 words together, the term “favicon” wasnt created organically as shorthand. It was the actual name of the file that was discovered in the root directory of the website. Whichever file was conserved as favicon.ico would look like the favicon for the site.