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Embedded vs Hosted Images in Email Signatures

To add imagery to an HTML email signature, you have two options available to you. You can either embed an image directly into the email signature or host it externally and link to it.

The vast majority of email clients display images in email signatures without any major issues. However, there are benefits to choosing one method over the other.

Embed images in email signatures

If you want an image to appear without having to click a ‘Download Images’ button, we recommend embedding it within the email signature itself. This is when an image is attached to an email and referenced using a Content-ID (HTML image tags).

Choose how to present images in email signatures

A standard Content-ID will look like this:

<img src="cid:myimagecid" />

When an email client refers to these images, they will all be displayed automatically. This is because they are referenced in the source of the message.

However, when you embed an image in an email signature, the size of your messages increase. This means there is a slight risk that images will appear as separate attachments in some email clients. There are also known issues with images being stripped out of emails and increasing in size on iOS devices e.g. iPhone and iPad.

Hosted/linked images

If you don't want email signature images to appear as attachments, we recommend saving and hosting them on a web server. They will then be referenced in the email using a web URL. This is known as hosting or linking images:

A hosted/linked image would typically look like this:

<img src="https://a8b03ffbc00ed4da54a1-0c6684360696717b63d89dbc0edb802c.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/exclaimer-logo_178x36.png" />

By doing this, your images are never a physical part of the email. Instead, they are essentially downloaded into the message every time it is viewed, making the email file size smaller.

In some cases, a recipient may need to manually click a 'Download Images' button for the email signature image to display. This is a way of protecting the recipient against possible viruses.

Which option should I choose?

You need to consider how your customers/clients view the emails you send them. If a large percentage use email clients like Outlook, then embedding images in email signatures is recommended. If, however, you know that a lot of recipients will be viewing your emails on mobile devices, you should use hosted imagery.



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