Using an invisible favicon.ico

... to avoid unnecessary 404s in your server log

'File not found' (404) for /favicon.ico in web server access and error logs - - [12/Nov/2006:00:20:55 +0100] "GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1" 404 1503 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; de; rv: Gecko/20061025 Firefox/"

This is a typical server log entry from a small site of mine, for which I had not bothered to make a favicon. This clutters up the error log and also causes unnecessary traffic, as the 1503 bytes of the error page are longer than a minimal favicon would be.

A minimal solution

I have made a transparent favicon.ico file using IconEdit 32

This icon is

You won't see this favicon (That's the point.) If you want a visible favicon for display in your browser's bookmarks, tab titles, etc, then you need to read up on favicons starting with the Wikipedia article linked below.

Download and installation

Download the file from the following link (in most browsers: right-click and "Save Target As" or something to that effect).

favicon.ico file favicon.ico file (198 byte) for download

Store this file in the web server's root directory (where your site's home page is located too). Note: the name must be favicon.ico (all lowercase), not Favicon.ico, FAVICON.ICO, etc.

With normal (visible) favicons you would also want to include a <link rel="... line in the HTML page's header to make sure that your browser knows where the favicon resides. However, with this invisible favicon that you only use to avoid error log entries, you don't need this - if the web browser requests a favicon.ico file without having been told there is one, it will assume the favicon is at the default location at the root.

Some web servers are misconfigured to serve favicons with a wrong MIME type (e.g. text/plain). To check on this the easiest way is to use the Web Sniffer to request our favicon URL (e.g. The answer to your request should have one of the correct types (see the Wikipedia article referenced below for details).

Further resources

Wikipedia article on favicons  ·  Open Directory category on favicon editors

Legal information

Responsible for this site: Tomas Schild, Lange Furche 31, 72072 Tübingen, Germany, <>.
If something mentioned here should happen to be trademarked, I certainly do not claim to own that trademark.
© this site Tomas Schild 2006 (this goes for the text of course, not for the favicon - it would be pretty silly to claim copyright for a 16 x 16 pixel transparent image.)