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What’s a Favicon, and can I get one?

Monday, November 22nd, 2004 by | Filed Under: Web Design
 
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What’s a Favicon, and can I get one?

This one goes out to all you webmasters out there! (Yes, you are a webmaster even if all you have is a one-page site that lists your favorite food, your pet’s name, and the greatest place you ever went on vacation!)

Have you ever bookmarked a site and then tried to find it again later in the sea of bookmarks that spills down from your Favorites menu?

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If you’ve ever bookmarked Yahoo or Google or ESPN and you’re using Internet Explorer 5 or above, you got a special, custom icon in your favorites menu! Nifty, huh?

THE COOL PART

The cool part of this all is that you don’t have to be Yahoo! or Google to set one of these custom icons up! They’re called “favicons” – it stands for FAVorites ICONS, get it? And they’re really simple to install. If you’ve got a web site, you can install a favicon and be the envy of your peers. (If your peers are kind of geeky, anyway.)

HOW TO DO IT

  1. Get on the Internet and look up ‘favicons’ in your favorite search engine. A quick search turned up http://www.iconarchive.com/, which has tons of possible icons. There are lots of related sites out there, so find an icon you like. (Or you can grab one of the freeware programs that will let you make your own!)
  2. Once you’ve chosen and saved your icon, right-click on it in Windows Explorer and select ‘rename’ from the menu that pops-up. Rename it “favicon.ico”.
  3. Upload the newly renamed file to whatever directory is home to your web site. This usually requires you to use FTP, unless you have a web-based file transfer system, like in Geocities. Make sure the file is sent as a ‘binary’ file, not ASCII, if you have the choice.
  4. Bookmark your site! You can bookmark any file that is in the same directory as your favicon, and your browser will find the file and use it in your favorites menu.

THAT’S IT?

Yup. Simple, hey?

Certain browsers may occasionally stop showing the icon for a while, and then one day it will just randomly reappear – just one of the quirks of the Internet. If you want to show a friend and the icon happens to be ‘missing’ at that moment, you can make them reappear by re-bookmarking the site.

Have fun!

– Tom Dalton

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