When it comes to building your website, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
Enter the Favicon.
A favicon is a small icon that appears beside your site URL in a user’s address bar or bookmarks list.
Although it’s not a necessary component of your website, it serves to create a deeper identity and make your website more memorable.
It also creates more credibility.
After all, only the most professional website designers know how to add one of those little icons!
Of course, you have to create one first.
But first, a bit of history…
The History of the Favicon
The favicon was first invented and revealed to the world all the way back in 1999 when Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5.
The then-popular browser displayed the little icons if a user added a website to their favorites bar.
Although an original side effect of the favicon was that it could be used as an indicator of the number of people who bookmarked a website, this is no longer possible as the favicon loads irrespective of whether a site is bookmarked.
All websites contain the favicon image in a special file called ‘favicon.ico’. This helps web browsers figure out which image to display next to your website name.
Favicons can be displayed as single images or even animated GIFs. Ironically, Microsoft, which was once at the forefront of favicon implementation, does not make a browser that supports animated GIF favicons.
Lately, favicons have become even more important with the advent of the smartphone. If your site employs a favicon, it will be used as the default image for a user-created shortcut created on a mobile home screen.
Because the icons used on mobile devices are larger than the standard 16×16 favicon size, you will have to make sure you specify larger size icons for iOS devices in your website’s code.
Who knew there was so much history behind such a small icon?
Now that you know, you’re ready to generate your own!
Listed below are our choices for…
The Top 5 Favicon Generators
If you are looking for a no-nonsense favicon generator, Favicon.cc is the right tool for the job.
Users can jump right in, with a homepage that puts the creator tool front and center; No need to sign up for anything.
You can select from a spectrum of colors to create your favicon pixel-by-pixel, or you can import an image and ensure that it scales properly.
If you want to be extra flashy, you can even use the tool to create an animated favicon.
A preview window enables you to see exactly how your creation will look when scaled down.
To top it all off, you can download your new mini artwork in ‘.ico’ format without ever having to register.
If you’d rather select from a library of different favicons, Favicon-Generator.org may be more your speed.
Users can search for their own favicons based on keywords, letters, or colors.
With thousands of options, there is sure to be something for your site.
Alternatively, you can upload your own image and generate a favicon icon for the web or Microsoft, Android, and iOS apps.
This simple tool is remarkably handy.
Every favicon generator on this list provides a unique service. Real Favicon Generator is no different.
Once you submit your image, you can demo how it will look.
You can also check out how your existing favicon looks to determine what could be improved.
Genfavicon is a multi-language favicon creator tool.
Using a three-step process, users can simply select an image to upload, cut it using an interactive cropping tool, and preview the result.
If you are happy with your favicon you can download it in ‘.ico’ or ‘.png’ format. If not, you can start over.
If you are looking for something a bit flashier, you may opt for Favic-O-Matic.
Dubbed “the ultimate favicon generator”, it certainly is the easiest, with a no-frills, upload-and-download platform.
The resulting ‘.zip’ files includes a ‘.ico’ file and a 16×16 and 32×32 ‘.png’ file.
Although the service is free, you may want to drop them a few dollars for creating such a helpful service.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for free favicon generators. Some offer more customizability than others, but all are great at what they do, even if what they do is seemingly small.
As you continue your website building journey, you will find that it truly is the small things that matter, and that, sometimes, it’s the simplest actions that promote the most powerful user responses.