ARCHIVE / What is favicon.ico?

The favicon.ico file is a small graphical icon that was originally used by Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser to maintain a distinct graphic for bookmarked web sites.  Originally the name and location of the file were fixed, with the name always being favicon.ico and the location always being the root of the web server.  Because so many web sites started to provide the file, the graphic was later used by other browsers and in other contexts such as within the address bar or in front of the page title when using browser tabs.  Subsequently, the favicon.ico file, which originally stood for "favorites icon", became subsumed by a new standard for "shortcut icons".  Newer web browsers can thus read definitions for shortcut icons with other file names and in locations outside of the root of the web server.  Additionally, shortcut icons can use other standard graphic file formats instead of the old .ico format.

last updated 2007.10.23

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