Your Web Property is your presence on the world wide web, and fonts are a very important part of that presence. Fonts can reflect one's personality, and because of that, many of our Clients requests to use fancy fonts on their website. We created this article to explain to you why it is best to use web-safe fonts instead of fancy fonts on your website. Please keep in mind that at the end of the day, it is your decision of which font to use. Wikipedia defines Web-safe fonts as being "fonts likely to be present on a wide range of computer systems, and used by Web content authors to increase the likelihood that content displays in their chosen font. If a visitor to a Web Property does not have the specified font, their browser tries to select a similar alternative, based on the author-specified fallback fonts and generic families or it uses font substitution defined in the visitor's operating system."
There are not many web-safe fonts available, and to explain why, we need to explain what happens during the process when a web page loads. When the page loads and the browser fails at finding the font on your computer to display the content you are requesting, the browser won't be able to display the font, and the website will not show any text!
There are mainly 2 widely popular operating systems used today that comes pre-installed with certain fonts. These two systems are called Windows and Mac OS X and are designed to display the installed fonts. Depending on the font used on your Site, each system has to render the font that is available, and fancy fonts can cause a problem when using non-web-safe fonts. The OS will work to display your contents, but may have an issue doing so, for instance, If you use Calibri on your web page, Mac users won't see it; if you use Andale, Windows users won't see it; but if you use a web-safe font such as Georgia, users of both systems will be able to see it.
There are only five fonts that are considered universal, but a few more made the "safe" list:
Arial Cosmic SansCourier News Georgia Impact Palatino Linotype Tahoma Times New Roman Trebuched Ms Verdana
Calibri Cambria Candara Corbel Fixed Sys Franklin Gabriola Modern Roman Segoe System
Ayuthaya Baskerville Capitals Chalkduster Copperplate Futuro Gill Sans Helvetica Lithos Pro Papyrus Silom Trajan Pro