1. There is no formal web safe colors standard 😮
a. The name "web safe colors" implies that there is some standardized set of colors accepted as "safe" for use on the web, but this is not true.
b. The 216 web safe colors presented on this website are more of an informal standard, selected because they were supported by the majority of popular web browsers and operating systems at the time when computer displays were limited to 256 colors.
c. Only 216 of the 256 colors available on early PCs were considered to have consistent enough support across platforms to become part of this informal standard.
2. It is no longer necessary to limit your palette to web safe colors 😅
a. As described above, web safe colors were concieved when the majority of computers only supported 256 colors.
b. Computers today support millions of colors. Monitors, operating systems, and software don't always display each of these colors in the exact same manner, but the color representations are similar enough for most situations. More specifically...
3. CSS and HTML allow for 16.777216 million colors. Use them! 🎉
a. Today, most web designers specify colors in rgb hexadecimal notation, conventionally called hex notation or rgb decimal notation, conventionally called rgb notation. The color black, for example, can be represented as #FFFFFF in hex notation or rgb(255,255,255) in rgb notation. Colors can also be specified with hsl notation (hue, saturation, lightness) but this is not used as frequently.
b. A web designer can specify 256 shades of red, 256 shades of green, and 256 shades of blue which, when combined, allow for 256^3 (16,777,216) colors. In most cases, there is no reason to limit yourself to the 216 web safe colors since modern systems support and render these approx. 16 million colors in a relativly similar manner (although not in exactly the same manner!).
You made it! What's next?
To learn even more, read our faq. To view a list of the 216 colors generally considered web safe, explore our color chart.