How to Cite a URL in MLA
Students studying the humanities and liberal arts often cite sources in Modern Language Association, or MLA, style. According to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, you aren't required to list the URL of a website on the Works Cited page. MLA doesn't require URLs because web addresses change, and readers can usually find websites through search engines. In some cases, however, you might want include a URL.
When to Include a URL
If the web page might be difficult to find through a search engine, you might want to include a URL in your citation. You should also include a URL if your instructor or editor asks for this information. But don't rely on a URL for your reference -- because websites change, you should always print or save a copy of the page you referenced, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
Works Cited Format
If you decide to include a source's URL, place it at the end of the full citation on the Works Cited page, after the date of access. Use angle brackets to enclose the URL and put a period after the final bracket. For example, your citation for Google would appear as: http://www.google.com. If the URL is long enough to require a line break, break it after a slash.
An in-text citation for a website should include only the first item listed in the Works Cited citation, which may be an author name, an article title, a website name or another item. Do not include URLs in in-text citations. In-text citations for websites shouldn't include page or paragraph numbers either, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
- Penn State University Libraries: MLA Quick Citation Guide
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.