How to Cite a Website in MLA Format Without an Author or Publishing Date

It is important to cite your work properly so that you avoid plagiarism. To site a website according to the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 9th Edition," you don't need to include a website's author or publishing date unless the information's available.

Good to Know. Each citation style is unique.

For example, APA style follows different rules than the MLA style guide. MLA style follows specific rules when referencing a website’s publisher, the name of the website, date of publication, and an author’s last name.

MLA Works Cited Guide for Websites:

Here is a helpful citation guide when using MLA format

  • In your references list, enter an open quotation mark, list the name of the page where you found the article followed by a period, and then enter a closed quotation mark.
  • Italicize the website's name followed by a period.
  • After the website name, list "n.p." if no publisher is available, and "n.d." if no date is available.
  • Enter the word "Web" followed by a period, and enter the full date you visited the website by day, month and year.

References Section

On the works cited list, a complete citation should look like this:

"Office of Teaching Initiatives." ​NYSED​. New York State Education Department. n.d. Web. 6 May 2013.

MLA In-Text Citation Guide:

When citing a website with no author or publishing date in-text, in parentheses, cite the first item that appears in the references list entry exactly as it appears.

For example: "New York State Education Department" or partial URL

MLA citation doesn't require paragraph or page numbers. If you are citing a full Web page and not a specific article, use the entire website name or partial URL

An in-text citation looks like this: Prospective teachers can apply for certification online ("Office of Teaching Initiatives"). In the absence of a Web article, an in-text citation looks like this: Many New York teachers apply for certification online (New York State Education Department).

What Your Final Citation Should Include:

  • Title of the work or title of the source
  • Title of article/title of website
  • Day, month, year (if applicable)
  • Date of access
  • Name of publisher


What is a MLA parenthetical citation?

A parenthetical citation is an in-text reference to the work using the author’s last name and a page number. From above, without an author, use the first part of the reference in your works cited list, so (NYSED.govI).

What does the MLA Stand for?

MLA is the Modern Language Association of America. The association is most active in the humanities.

What are the latest editions of the MLA Handbook?

The latest edition is the 9th edition released in 2021. The prior 8th edition was released in 2016.

The alternatives to the MLA citation style include:

APA and Chicago Style. The APA format is favored by academic science fields. The MLA by the humanities.

Where to find the Title of the Article?

In general, choose either the text within the HTML title tag or H1. Websites are encouraged to have only one H1 element on the page. It is the largest header element.

Where to find the Title of the Website?

The home page, found at the root URL location: will have the title of the website. You can also find it on the About page and if you are stuck, the Copyright and Privacy Policy will have the title of the website.

The MLA Handbook 9th Edition favors using the shortened version of a URL, the versus including the protocol, like http:// or https://.

The Handbook also wants you to truncate long urls. The key to shortening long URLs is to find the question mark ‘?’ and remove everything after and including the question mark. The URL will usually still be retrieved and the shortened URL will be more readable.

What if the website is a youtube video?

You should reference the youtube video directly. If you are citing a song, or a performance include the date accessed, and the specific page.

What is a DOI?

Digital Object Identifier, (doi) or doi is a permalink system. Clicking on a DOI link will take you to a resource, no matter if the resource moves. It’s a permanent method to reference a resource as the host location changes.

Need help with a citation? Try our citation generator.

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