Render icons on the server if you are generating or serving your pages with JavaScript and save the browser from downloading additional files or performing extra rendering.


Before You Get Started

Make sure you’ve:

Setting Things Up

For this example we're going to use a static site generator called Metalsmith (opens new window). Clone the project and use the static-site example. Also, remember to install dependencies right after that.

git clone \
  cd metalsmith/examples/static-site
npm install \
  npm i --save @fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core \
  npm i --save @fortawesome/free-solid-svg-icons
npm install \
  npm i --save @fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core \
  npm i --save @fortawesome/pro-solid-svg-icons \
  npm i --save @fortawesome/sharp-solid-svg-icons

Create a helper


Create a file in the static-site directory called helpers.js.

  var Handlebars  = require('handlebars');
  var library     = require('@fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core').library;
  var dom         = require('@fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core').dom;
  var icon        = require('@fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core').icon;
  var fas         = require('@fortawesome/free-solid-svg-icons').fas;

  // Adds Sharp Solid icons (Pro Subscription required)
  var fass         = require('@fortawesome/sharp-solid-svg-icons').fass;

  // Adds all the icons from the Solid style into our library for easy lookup
  // If adding Sharp Solid icons, you would need to include `fass` here as well

  Handlebars.registerHelper('fontawesome-css', function () {
    return new Handlebars.SafeString(

  Handlebars.registerHelper('fontawesome-icon', function (args) {
    return new Handlebars.SafeString(
      icon({ prefix: 'fas', iconName: args.hash.icon }).html

Font Awesome Sharp requires Pro and specific versions!

Make sure you have an active Pro-level plan or a Pro license with access to the specific versions that include Sharp's styles.

Add this to the Metalsmith file


Edit index.js and require the new helper file.

  var Metalsmith  = require('metalsmith');
  var markdown    = require('metalsmith-markdown');
  var layouts     = require('metalsmith-layouts');
  var permalinks  = require('metalsmith-permalinks');



Edit Layout and Reference an Icon

Edit layouts/layout.html and add this to the <head>. After that change the header.

      {{fontawesome-icon icon="home"}} <a href="/">Home</a>

Build the static content

$ node index.js

Open build/index.html to see the rendered icon.

Rendered home icon


Server side rendering introduces an interesting problem when we consider the CSS that is needed to render an icon effectively.

<svg class="svg-inline--fa fa-github fa-w-16 fa-lg" aria-hidden data-fa-i2svg data-prefix="fab" data-icon="github" role="img" viewBox="0 0 496 512">
  <path fill="currentColor" d=""></path>

The classes svg-inline--fa, fa-w-16, and fa-lg all have a critical role in controlling the size of the icon and the placement in the DOM. If the CSS is missing when this icon displays in the browser it will flash from a very large icon down to a properly sized one a moment later. Here's how to solve it...

As we saw in the example we can inline the CSS directly into the page.


This Handlebars helper is calling dom.css() which returns a String representing all the styles required for displaying icons at the correct size. You can link to the external CSS, which is specific to using SVG with JavaScript. It can be found in the svg-with-js/css/fa-svg-with-js.css folder.

Use it similar to this:

    <link href="" rel="stylesheet"></link>