Why don’t pictures show when I visit websites?
Website pictures show as red X’s? Or perhaps the images are garbled? Or maybe they look stretched and out of proportion?
There are a number of things that can affect how pictures show up in your browser. Some you control, but many problems are also caused by the websites themselves.
Let’s look at a few things that can happen.
If you get a red x like this: , that’s the browser’s indication that it tried to download a picture but was unable to. If instead you get this little icon: that’s what the browser uses to indicate that it’s still downloading the picture, but hasn’t gotten around to trying (because it’s busy download other items on the page) or at least hasn’t yet given up. Be patient, and you’ll soon either see the image or the red x.
What if ALL you get is red X’s for all pictures on all sites?
Most browsers allow you to turn off downloading pictures completely as a way to download only the text of a website faster. The first step would be to check to make sure that’s configured properly. In Internet Explorer, that’s in Tools, Internet Options, Advanced, and then in the Multimedia section of the list, there’s an item Show Pictures.
If that’s set properly to show pictures, then you might check to see if you have any ad-blocking or content filtering software installed. Sometimes they can erroneously start blocking everything that isn’t text.
If you’re seeing red X’s on only some sites, then it’s more typically either a problem downloading or a web site design issue.
I’ve seen eBay simply be too overloaded to reliably deliver its pages, and typically what happens is that images will fail. This can happen on other sites as well, and the thing to do is simply try again later.
eBay also lets you host photos of your auction items elsewhere, and sometimes people just get it wrong. They enter the location or name of their picture incorrectly, and hence the picture simply can’t work. This also happens frequently on discussion boards where people try to post links to pictures that end up being incorrect.
Another common mistake is for a website to reference a picture by a path local to the designer’s machine, say “c:picturesimage.jpg”, rather than via a proper URL, such as “http://example.com/image.jpg”. To the designer it works, because there is a “c:picturesimage.jpg” that their browser picks up when displaying the page for them. To the rest of us, it’s another red X.
If a picture is garbled even after having been downloaded more than once (by hitting refresh), then it’s probably a problem with the picture itself. There’s nothing you can do but perhaps notify the website owner.
If a picture looks out of proportion, perhaps appearing squashed horizontally or vertically, that too it typically a website problem. HTML, the language used to make web pages, allows the designer to say “the picture is this big: x by y”. If the picture is NOT that big, then the browser makes it that big by shrinking or stretching it. If I have a 200 by 200 pixel picture, and I tell the browser to display it as 100 by 200, then it’s going to squish it together to make it fit (and it’ll probably look horrible).
Finally, in the Advanced Options we looked at earlier, there’s a setting labeled “Enable Automatic Image Resizing”. That’s not related to HTML sizing we just talked about, but rather it allows Internet Explorer to resize pictures to fit your window if they’re too big. Resizing a picture can cause distortion and other problems so that’s an option I typically turn off.