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Email signatures images blocked – Embedded vs hosted images in email

Lots of folks find themselves a bit puzzled when it comes to tasks like adding images to email signatures. And just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the whole debate between embedded and hosted images in email signatures can throw you for a loop.

Understanding the difference between embedded and hosted images might seem a bit tricky at first, but it’s not as complicated as it appears. Simply put, embedded images are the ones kept within the email, while hosted images are downloaded and stored on a web server. This not only streamlines the email but also makes it more compatible for mobile use.

Choosing between embedded and hosted images in email signatures boils down to what works best for your specific email client and preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

Embedded Images:

  • Microsoft 365 (Office 365): No
  • Google Workspace (G Suite): Yes
  • Exchange 2019: No
  • Exchange 2016: No
  • Exchange 2013 or earlier: No
  • Outlook 2019: Yes
  • Outlook 2016: Yes
  • Outlook 2013 or earlier: Yes
  • OWA (Outlook Web App): No
  • Gmail: Yes
  • Outlook.com: No

Hosted Images:

  • Microsoft 365 (Office 365): Yes
  • Google Workspace (G Suite): Yes
  • Exchange 2019: Yes
  • Exchange 2016: Yes
  • Exchange 2013 or earlier: Yes
  • Outlook 2019: Yes
  • Outlook 2016: Yes
  • Outlook 2013 or earlier: Yes
  • OWA (Outlook Web App): No (requires manual steps for linked images)
  • Gmail: Yes
  • Outlook.com: No (supports hosted images with HTML source via signature editor)

Ultimately, the decision depends on your email platform and the specific features it supports. Feel free to choose the method that aligns with your needs, and don’t hesitate to explore the features provided by your email client for a seamless experience.


When it comes to showcasing images in email signatures, you have two main options: embedding and hosting. Let’s explore both:

Embedding Images:

  • How it works: Attach an image file to the email and reference it using a Content-ID in HTML image tags.
  • Example Content-ID: <img src="cid:myimagecid" />
  • Pros: Images display automatically without requiring the recipient to click a ‘Download Images’ button.
  • Cons: Increased email size, potential for images to appear as separate attachments in some email clients, and known issues with image stripping on iOS devices.

Hosting Images:

  • How it works: Save and host images on a web server or use a free image hosting site like Imgur or Flickr. Reference images in the email using a web URL.
  • Example hosted image: <img src="https://cdn.exclaimer.com/Static2/exclaimer-logo_178x36.png" />
  • Pros: Images are not physically part of the email, reducing file size. Adding alt text is recommended for image understanding.
  • Cons: Recipients may need to manually click a ‘Download Images’ button for hosted images to display, which provides a layer of protection against viruses.

Choosing the Right Option:

  • Embedding: Recommended if many recipients use email clients like Outlook365.
  • Hosting: Ideal if you anticipate that many recipients will view your emails on mobile devices.

Consider the viewing preferences of your customers/clients to determine the best approach. Embedding is user-friendly for clients using Outlook365, while hosting works well for mobile viewers, albeit with the need for a manual ‘Download Images’ click. Tailor your choice based on your audience’s likely email client and device preferences.

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