About Web Safe Colors

What are Web Safe Colors?

People that use the internet are generally using either a PC or a MAC home computer. Even though the web interface is standardized, the hardware and software on the surfer’s home computer is not. In other words, they are truly all personal computers. Among the myriad of individual differences in home computers, the color palette is of prime concern to web developers.

The palette is the group of colors that may be displayed on a particular computer. One computer may be configured for millions of colors, another for only sixteen. To make matters worse, between MACs and PCs the color representations can be quite different. In order to be web safe, i.e. to know that a color coded on a webpage will display in a fairly consistent manner on different machines, the choice of colors in a webpage should come from the palette of color representations common to both types of machines.

‘Web safe’ means ‘web consistent’.

How do I check for Web Safe Colors?

Go to our Web Safe and Complementary Color Picker.
There are a total of 216 colors which are supported by PCs and MACs. This is the palette from which you should choose. The easiest way to recognize them is by their hexadecimal RGB code. Every color specification on the web is given in this way — #RRGGBB. The “#” indicates hexadecimal data. There are three pairs of hex digits which indicate the amount of red, green, and blue in the final color.

The colors which are web safe consist of pairs which have only repeated multiples of three in each position. In other words, {0,3,6,9,C,F} as a pair are the only safe amounts in each of the red, green, and blue components.

Examples of web safe colors would be #009933, #FFCC66, and #CC33FF.

Examples of non safe colors would be #109833, #FFC396, and #CC33F0.

Why use only Web Safe Colors?

If you, as a webpage developer choose colors which are not supported by all home computers than the colors you see are not the same colors that others may see. For instance if you specify color=”#FE0000″ because it looks like a great shade of red on your PC, someone on a MAC may see it as quite a different color than you intended.

This can at times be more than an aesthetic issue. It is entirely possible to hide content when the colors are unpredictable. Remember, unless you only use web safe colors what you see is not what others get. At least not necessarily. Why take that chance?