How to Fix Dead Images in HTML

Tired of broken images on your website? This quick guide will help you bring them back to life in no time.

Josh Hartman
Josh Hartman
Last updated: May 16, 2024
Table of Contents

Have you ever stumbled upon a webpage where some images just refuse to load? Don't sweat it—we've got your back. Let's break down this mystery and figure out why it happens.

Picture this: you're cruising through a website (maybe even your own), and bam! Some images are MIA. It happens to the best of us. But no worries — I'm here to share some tricks of the trade that'll have those images back on track in no time.

As someone who's been tinkering with web development for a while now, I've had my fair share of encounters with broken images (even on this website). They can be a real headache, messing with the vibe of your site and leaving users scratching their heads.

In this guide, we'll troubleshoot dead images in HTML. We'll talk about why they might be ghosting us (no pun intended), how to spot the issue, and—most importantly—how to fix it. Think of it as your crash course in image CPR for the web.

We'll cover all the essentials, from deciphering HTML attributes like src and alt to dodging common pitfalls like the plague. By the time we're done, you'll be armed with the know-how to bring those dead images back to life and keep your website looking slick.

Let’s dive in!

Using Absolute vs. Relative Paths

When embedding images in HTML, you have two primary options for specifying their location: absolute paths and relative paths.

Absolute Paths

These paths point directly to the image's location on the web server. They typically start with "http://" or "https://" and include the full URL of the image file.

<img src="" alt="Example Image">

In this example:

  • The src attribute specifies the absolute path to the image file (
  • The alt attribute provides alternative text for the image, which is displayed if the image fails to load or for accessibility purposes.

While absolute paths ensure that images are always accessible, they can become problematic if the website's domain changes or if the image is moved to a different server.

Relative Paths

Relative paths, on the other hand, specify the image's location relative to the HTML document's location.

<img src="example-image.jpg" alt="Example Image">

In this example:

  • The src attribute specifies the relative path to the image file (example-image.jpg).
  • Since the image is in the same directory as the HTML file, only the filename needs to be specified in the path.

They are more flexible and easier to manage, especially when working on local development environments or moving websites between servers. Relative paths can be either "relative to the current document" or "relative to the website root."

Image Location

It's crucial to understand where the image file is located in relation to the HTML document. If the image exists in the same folder as the HTML file, a simple filename reference will suffice. However, if the image is in a different directory, you'll need to adjust the path accordingly using relative or absolute referencing.

<img src="../images/example-image.jpg" alt="Example Image">

In this example:

  • The src attribute specifies the relative path to the image file (../images/example-image.jpg).
  • The .. notation indicates moving up one directory level from the location of the HTML file, and then accessing the images directory where the image file is located.

Adjustments to the relative path may vary depending on the directory structure of your project.

Checking Image Existence

If none of the above work, you'll need to verify that the image file actually exists in the specified location. Double-check the file name, extension, and directory structure to ensure everything is in order. If the image is missing or has been renamed, it won't display on the webpage.


Ensure that the HTML syntax for embedding images is correct. The <img> tag should include the src attribute, specifying the path to the image file. Additionally, consider adding the alt attribute to provide alternative text for screen readers and improve accessibility.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Browser Developer Tools: Use browser developer tools to inspect the HTML and check for any errors related to image loading.
  • Server Configuration: Verify that the web server is configured correctly to serve image files and that there are no restrictions or permissions issues.
  • File Permissions: Check the file permissions on the server to ensure that the images are accessible to web users.
  • Cache Issues: Clear the browser cache to ensure that you're viewing the most up-to-date version of the webpage and images.

By paying attention to these details and following best practices, you'll be better equipped to troubleshoot and fix these broken images effectively. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key when it comes to resolving these annoying issues.

Final Thoughts

Troubleshooting dead images in HTML involves a systematic approach encompassing various factors. Whether you're using absolute or relative paths, ensuring the image exists in the correct folder, verifying its existence, maintaining correct syntax, or exploring additional troubleshooting avenues, attention to detail is important. By understanding these principles and implementing best practices, you can effectively revive those images, enhancing the user experience of your website.

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Josh Hartman

Josh Hartman

I'm Josh, the founder of HTML Tables and eklipse Development, a Webflow Professional Partner. I've always loved seamless web experiences and take pride in merging code with creative design. Aside from this website, I'm currently building How Much Concrete, a state-of-the-art concrete calculator. Beyond the digital realm, I love the outdoors & fitness. Find me on a trail or in the gym!