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How to Cite a Website


While each of the major citation styles include detailed frameworks for referencing different types of books and periodicals, it can be more challenging to find information about how to reference electronic sources. Each citation style includes guidelines for directly referencing a website in your work and for listing it as a source in your bibliography -- a page that follows your paper and lists all the sources used in your research. Check with your teacher to determine which citation style is appropriate for your paper. When writing your bibliography, all references should be double-spaced and each line of a reference after the first should be indented.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style

The following style is used in MLA style when citing a website on a bibliography page:

Editor/author/compiler Lastname, Firstname (if available). Site Name. Version # (if applicable). Publishing Organization of Website, Creation Date (if available). Web. Access Date.

For example:

Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. University of Miami, 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.

When citing a specific Web page or article, the name of that article's author is used, and the page title is included in quotes before the site name:

Flores, Mike. "The Philosophy of Fire." Star City Games. Star City Games, 23 Apr. 2004. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.

While a URL may be added at the end of a bibliographic citation, it is not necessary. If no publisher name is available, it is replaced by "n.p."; if no publication date is available, it is replaced by "n.d."

When referencing a website in the body of your paper, MLA uses an in-text citation that references the first piece of information in that website's bibliographic entry. For example:

Aquaponics studies food production in light of the ecosystems (Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science).

As noted by several important theorists, examining personal biases is important to make sure you are getting the most value out of your designs (Flores).

American Psychological Association (APA) style

APA style uses the following format for bibliography citations:

Author Lastname, First Initial(s). (Date published). Page Title. Website Name. Retrieved Access Date, from URL.

For example:

Flores, Mike. (2004, April 23). The Philosophy of Fire. Star City Games. Retrieved February 21, 2015, from http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/7157_The_Philosophy_of_Fire.html.

If a publication date is not available, replace it with "n.d." If the website cited is a blog post, [web log post] is included in brackets after the page title.

APA in-text citations should include the author's name -- or the title of the page or article if the author's name is unavailable -- and the publication date; "n.d." should be used in the citation if no date is available. For example:

As noted by several important theorists, examining personal biases is important to make sure you are getting the most value out of your designs (Flores, 2004).

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style uses the following basic format for bibliographic Web citations:

Author Lastname, Firstname, "Web Page Title," Website Name or Publishing Organization, Publication Date and/or Access Date, URL.

For example:

Flores, Mike, "The Philosophy of Fire," Star City Games, April 4, 2004, http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/7157_The_Philosophy_of_Fire.html.

If any information can be located on the website, omit it from the citation. The access date should replace the publication date only if you cannot locate the last date that the Web page was updated.

When referencing a work within the body of the text, Chicago style uses a footnote or endnote for the referenced sentence. The first footnote/endnote that references a Web source lists the same information as the bibliographic citation, with the author listed in Firstname Lastname format:

Mike Flores, "The Philosophy of Fire," Star City Games, April 4, 2004, http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/7157_The_Philosophy_of_Fire.html.

Any further footnotes/endnotes use only the author last name and the title:

Flores, "The Philosophy of Fire."

If the same source is referenced multiple times in a row, each reference after the first is noted as follows:

"Ibid."

Harvard Citation Style

A bibliography citation in Harvard style references a website as follows:

Author Lastname, First Initial(s). Date. Page Title. Website publisher, location (if available). Accessed date. Available from URL.

Flores, Mike. 23 April, 2004. The Philosophy of Fire. Star City Games, Roanoke, VA. Accessed 21 February, 2015. Available from http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/7157_The_Philosophy_of_Fire.html.

If no publication date is found, replace it with "n.d."

A Harvard style in-text citation notes both the author and the date of publication. If the author is not available, use the institution that published the article or website instead. For example:

Aquaponics studies food production in light of the ecosystems (Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science 2010) .

As noted by several important theorists, examining personal biases is important to make sure you are getting the most value out of your designs (Flores 2004).

About the Author

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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