Why do I see errors about missing files named "robots.txt", "favicon.ico" or "sitemap.xml"?

It's normal for your website logs and statistics to show “error messages” about requests for missing files named robots.txt, favicon.ico or sitemap.xml.

Search engines look for a file named robots.txt on your site to see if there are any parts of your website that you don't want included in search engines.

Web browsers look for a file named favicon.ico on your site to see if you've specified a custom icon that should be used in the address bar or favorites list (this page explains more about favicon files). Apple devices (such as iPhones and iPads) often request custom icons with names like apple-touch-icon.png, apple-touch-icon-precomposed.png, apple-touch-icon-120x120.png, or apple-touch-icon-120x120-precomposed.png.

Google may look for a file named sitemap.xml on your site, which is a specially-named file that lists all of the pages on your website.

If you haven't created these files, it's perfectly normal and harmless to see entries in your logs and statistics saying that these files were requested but not found.

If you'd like more information about these files, you can use your favorite search engine to search for “robots.txt”, “favicon.ico” or “sitemap.xml”.