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I don't have a favicon.ico. I noticed that many visitors repeatedly request it. Should I just put a blank GIF or ICO file?

Thanks for the input. But I have one question that no one answered: should I use an animated favicon?

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11 Answers 11

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Why don't you just create a small icon that suits your web site and use that? It's trivial to do. Most modern browsers look for this file. I haven't tried it myself, but Googling, I found the website favicon.ico Generator that presents a simple image editor interface.

You don't, of course, need to do this. It just gives a web site a little bit more personality and recognizability. I suppose you could do as you suggest and put up a blank icon file, but if you'll go to that much trouble, you should just put up a real one.

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I like to do it just to not see all the 404's it generates in the log files, or the web stats. –  Bratch Jun 9 '09 at 18:31
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smashing magazine (online) has several articles on favicons:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/tag/favicons/

While not required, favicons will often be requested by modern browsers
to add some eye-candy to the location bar, table labels, and bookmarks.

Once you are inspired by the examples from the link above,
you can try using an online generator to build your own:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006/11/09/online-generators/
(look down the page for favicon generators).

I found the following one pretty nice:
http://www.degraeve.com/favicon/

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While not required, having a favicon.ico will improve the user's experience on your webpage. Most modern browers request one, and not having one requires your server to generate a 404 error and send this back to the browser. 404 errors can degrade the user performance because of how slow they are.

http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

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I suggest yes, make a favicon using your logo - it dresses up the URL in the address bar and for bookmarks and gives visitors another visual reminder of your site

this is a marketing answer, not a programming answer ;-)

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The more pertinent question is "why not"?

In these days of tabbed browsing, the favicon is more important to me than ever - I wouldn't consider running a site without one.

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I don't think you absolutely need one. Most modern browsers will request one and display it if you have it.

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"All browsers" isn't entirely true. –  Justin Scott Jun 9 '09 at 4:21
    
<joke> so that explains: elinks www.google.com :) </joke> –  Wayne Jun 9 '09 at 4:30
    
My apologies, not all browsers will request the favicon. Answer edited. –  Mike Mazur Jun 9 '09 at 6:06
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Sometimes they're more trouble than they're worth. IE is well known for corrupting its icon cache and displaying the wrong favicon for the wrong websites.

That said, given that most browsers will request a favicon it gets rid of all those 404's from the logs.

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Indeed all browsers now request one - PITA if you don't have one! –  Jon Rhoades Jun 9 '09 at 3:38
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I had this clogging up the Apache logs and wanted to clear it out. For one of my websites, I created a valid favicon.ico. For the rest of my virtual hosts, I simply "touch favicon.ico" and created an empty one [Note: Apache running on Linux]. No more errors in the error logs.

I thought about the waste of resources, but only for a short time. If I provided a real favicon.ico, then I would be transferring a lot of bytes very frequently. If I provided nothing, I would be sending back a 404 response. Sending back a zero length file appears to me to be the least waste of resources and bandwidth. And my error logs are clear of a spurious problem, so I can focus on real problems with my webserver.

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Waste of resources? A favicon is a tiny file that should be cached on any browser, thus, fetched rarely. If you're really worried about bandwidth, then set your favicon to be in the cache for a year with mod_expires. –  Eddie Jun 9 '09 at 4:01
    
Every time some browser requests a favicon, there is a socket connection, a text based send/receive transaction, and all for a tiny file with a useless bit of graphics. That's a waste of resources. There are more resources involved than disk space. –  codebunny Jul 19 '10 at 13:25
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Most sites have a favicon to leave an impression on visitors. It's not needed, but helps distinguish from other sites (say in your bookmarks or something similar). Here's another site for favicon generation: http://www.favicongenerator.com/

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I would add favicon. At least it will get rid of 404 errors in access logs, because most of the browsers request it.

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Like many I agree to include a favicon file; if not necessarily for the presentation do it so it doesn't fill up the web logs with that favicon missing nonsense -V

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