Anne van Kesteren

favicon not for IE

I really like favicons. I think that every site should have a favicon to make it more recognizable in your bookmarks, multiple tabs and address bar. Personally I am in the opinion that they are only useful in Firefox real browsers. Internet Explorer has only limited support and does not support complex PNG images for example. Besides, Internet Explorer only shows them when you bookmark the page. And how many pages are really bookmarked?

Personally I do not think the advantage of supporting Internet Explorer outweighs the disadvantage of lower quality and less options.


  1. Maybe I missed some useful feature/extension, but what does Firefox do with favicons which Mozilla or Opera (or probably Konqueror/Safari) do not? I agree with you on the rest.

    Posted by Frenzie at

  2. I like favicons too. My favourite RSS Reader FeedDemon has started using them as a part of the visual identifier for the feeds that you have subscribed too. I guess its high time I should get one for my blog too.

    Posted by Jeremy Hartley at

  3. I also love favicons, which is used perfectly in Opera. The problem with using PNG and not a proper icon format such as ICO, is that PNG's don't scale well, neither up or down, nor in color depth.

    ICO files are a combination of several images, all varying in resolution and color depth. This way, the application using the icon can choose the image version best suited for its viewing. The best would of course be to have SVG files as icons, but until we see native SVG support in browsers, I doubt that will happen any time soon.

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  4. The favicon support in Mozilla doesn't work well. Yet it is really useful because the favicons are shown on the tabs, but they also show up in strange ways in the address bar, and there aren't any with the bookmarks, which would be useful, for example when you bookmark an article, you could easily see on which site it is.

    Posted by docLegi at

  5. The favicon support in Bloglines just sucks. I recently wrote PHP5 favicon autodiscoverer that works too on all pages that have favicons (on my bloglines account that is). But as far as I know Bloglines isn't open source, so I can't contribute.

    Posted by Robbert Broersma at

  6. Problem about Firefox (the other Gecko's too?) is that it sometimes mixes up Favicons. Websites without Favicons take over Favs from sites with

    Posted by Christoph Wagner at

  7. the advantage of supporting Internet Explorer outweighs the disadvantage of lower quality and less options

    well, the burden of supporting IE is not that big. i usually create two favicons: a very simple, admittedly sub-optimal, .ico which is banged in the site root (which also keeps my 404 log down, as IE doesn't try in vain to get the darn file), and a proper PNG version, suitably referenced by a <link> in the document head.

    Posted by patrick h. lauke at

  8. I can never understand favicons. I create them properly, save them properly, and upload them to the proper directory. Yet sometimes my browser (not IE) displays them, and sometimes is doesn't. It depends on it's mood, I guess.

    And Bloglines – even if I change my favicon numerous times, it still pulls one that I used years ago – which is not even on my server anymore!

    Posted by Matthom at

  9. Exactly, I said the same thing recently in my Journal.

    Funny how an IE innovation gets improved upon by better browsers.

    Posted by Rijk at

  10. I'm with Matthom; sometimes I can make them and they work, sometimes they don't, and if they're working in any one browser, they're probably not working elsewhere.

    I suspect some degree of witchcraft is needed for complete cross-browser coverage.

    Posted by paul haine at

  11. Hello, first time poster. I'd like to point out a recent Wordpress plugin that uses the favicon to show a sort of avatars next to comments: Favatars

    Whether you like avatars or not, it is another use for the favicon.

    Posted by Joen at

  12. I like to note that currently, lots of people (including me) use IE-based browsers like Maxthon, Slimbrowser, Avant etc.

    These browsers have tabs where you always see the ICO, not only when bookmarked. PNG files don't work.

    Besides, the ICO works in all browsers that support some sort of favicon, so why break things?

    Posted by Kees at

  13. Favicons are very nice. But they are small, thus should be kept very simple.

    You can make one icon with several quality and size levels. And imo all browsers should understand them.

    Posted by Website at

  14. It doesn't do any harm to have a favicon.ico at the root of your server for IE anyway. There are many applications (including my own weblog) that will load a favicon from your server to enhance display. Most apps won't bother to load and parse your HTML to find the "real" icon.

    Posted by Dean Edwards at