favicon.ico - 404 error when analyzing access log files

Posted on August 6, 2005 in Tips and TricksHTML

One of the first things I noticed when analyzing the access log files for my site was a 404 Error stating that there was "no referrer" for favicon.ico. To some extent this particular message is not really an error, it’s more like a warning – in fact, it’s actually a good thing if you are actually getting this error. Hopefully I can show you how to take this good thing and make it even better.

The reason I says it’s a good thing is that it’s an indication people are adding you to their favourites, however, if you don’t have a favourites icon file defined on your web server then this error message will appear. Simply uploading an icon with the name favicon.ico to the root of your web server will ensure that the error message disappears and that the icon you have defined appears in your visitors bookmarks whenever they add you to their favourites. Obviously the icon that you have uploaded will be one that conforms to the "brand" or image you would like to portray on your web site. Once you have put the favourites icon in place and a visitor has added you to their favourites, whenever they click on the drop down box which displays the historical list of sites accessed, your icon will also appear next to your web site address in this listing. Following the successful upload of your favourites icon you can now establish how many people have added you to their favourites by checking the list of files downloaded using your log file analysis software. Without the icon file in place you have to rely on counting the number of times you obtained error 404 for favicon.ico to establish the number of times you have been added to people’s favourites. 

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You should also add the following snippet of code to the header section of your HTML page:

<link rel="icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">

The first line of this code relates to your favourites icon whilst the second line is for a shortcuts icon. i.e. if anyone creates a shortcut to your site and puts it on their desktop, it will use this icon. In my situation I’m using the same icon for both but you can actually use a different icon if you choose.

If any reader’s know of any other good sites which contain icon libraries or software which can help you in designing icons, please add your comments to this post.

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