How to Properly Cite a Website in an Essay

Since much of what can be found online isn’t easily attributed to an author, it is crucial that your essay provide context.

This article will outline the basics of citing website sources in your essay and creating an accurate Works Cited page, as well as some tips to enhance your writing ability.

Title of Website

When using websites as sources in an essay, it’s vital that they are correctly cited to avoid plagiarism and ensure accuracy of your essay. Rules vary slightly depending on which style (MLA, APA or Chicago), but here are some general guidelines that all styles follow.

At the end of your essay, you will typically include an entry for each website in your reference list (also called bibliography or Works Cited), noting its title, page numbers and date of access. When paraphrasing or quoting from it directly, use its title for parenthetical citation purposes.

Citing websites requires inserting its title italicized, followed by its date of publication or access and URL. If there are multiple authors listed for the site, their surnames should be listed first; otherwise if there are none listed you should provide a brief summary instead.

Citing websites containing only one work, such as articles or blog posts, requires providing the author’s name and date. If this work is part of an edited book or podcast episode, such as Smith J’s (2015) “The Secrets of the Supermarket”, such as blog post found at 2 June 2016, in your initial entry you should also provide details regarding any larger works associated with it such as their title/author. Unfortunately it can often be challenging identifying authors, so searching is necessary if possible to locate their author/contact information before beginning your research.


As part of a paper writing assignment, it is imperative that all sources you use are properly cited. Citing ensures you give credit where it’s due while also upholding academic integrity. While different fields have their own standards for citing sources used, most utilize some common elements which must be present – for instance APA style requires all citations have an indent of at least half an inch on every line following the initial one; this format is particularly helpful when citing websites.

To properly cite an author or their work, begin with their name and last name followed by their initials. If there are multiple authors involved in creating the work, use commas to separate each name before including an ampersand after the final author. Furthermore, you should list both publisher’s name if different from website publisher as well as publication date or posting date in your citations.

Noting the authorship of a website may involve either an individual or group. When writing about an individual author, use traditional formatting: last name/first name followed by period; for group authors you should abbreviate their names if possible and refer to the APA guidelines on abbreviations guidelines for group authors.

Citing websites requires including both the URL and any access credentials such as user name/password combo. Finally, include the date of access in order to help readers quickly locate sources that interest them – typically found either at the bottom or “About Us” pages of websites.


When citing websites in an essay, it’s crucial that the publisher is included. This allows your reader to locate and evaluate whether the source is trustworthy. When listing publishers after titles of works, their names should immediately follow. Immediately following this should come publication date and URL/permalink/DOI (if available). If the website belongs to more than one individual author/owner then add their screen names as authors as well.

Sites often lack the same level of trustworthiness as print sources, so it is vitally important that readers identify who wrote any piece of content found online. If unable to do so, begin with the title or article under quotation marks before listing its publisher name if applicable; additionally if not owned by anyone specific, also include sponsor information as part of your research.

E-books should include information about their publisher following author names; university/academic presses should use abbreviations such as U and P rather than company names (Co./Inc).

When listing websites in your reference list, it is crucial that they contain either their URL or permalink as these can provide more stability than simply listing a web address. If using the URL as a link to access it directly, however, be mindful that any parts that begin with “http” need to be removed before linking. Likewise for articles located online databases it may be preferable to include DOI numbers instead of URLs so they may still be referenced even after moving or deletion has taken place; additionally page numbers in parentheses if applicable.


Writing a paper requires using credible information and sources. When using websites as sources, make sure that they appear in your Works Cited or References list at the end of your essay so readers can locate and authenticate them easily. MLA and APA styles offer different rules regarding citing sources.

Citing a web page requires including information on its author and date if possible; otherwise you should assume the organization or corporation authored the page. On pages without titles, such as those lacking headings and paragraph numbers (if available) or a description (Handbook 119). If the website provides access dates (ideally the date on which you accessed the site), these should also be included as part of your citations; similarly permalink or DOI numbers can also be mentioned here.

Citing artist work online requires providing its name in italics along with its location and publisher details. When citing articles published in web magazines, provide the author’s name, article title in quotation marks, publication date, website URL address and author screen name (if available). When listing websites that can change over time it is also wise to include the date of access if available or use “n.d.” instead (no date). For additional guidelines on citing web sources please see The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers


As part of your essay writing experience, it is likely that you will cite several sources including websites. While each discipline has their own citation styles for different disciplines, all require including an entry for each source used on your Works Cited or reference list at the end of your paper to give credit to researchers and authors who inspired your own work while maintaining academic integrity.

Citing websites requires providing the author, title in quotation marks, URL address and date of access. When creating a citation for an unauthorized website you should provide a description as the author could also be an organization or corporation; be mindful of this!

If a website has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), instead of including its URL in your citations, use that instead as it can help readers easily locate its online version. Furthermore, avoid including http:// and https:// as these might not work on all devices.

MLA advises including the URL of any website cited in your Works Cited page or reference list to allow your readers to visit and view its original version of a work. If it requires password or username access, only provide its home page or log-in page URL instead. Similarly, articles found within databases can omit their URL entirely and use its DOI instead as their citation method.