A person holding a laptop in their hands with a book, next to them. A cup of coffee and a bowl of snacks.

How To Cite A Website In An Essay

Here's What We'll Cover

When writing an essay, it is important to credit the author or the publisher you have gotten information from. Why? Because it builds your credibility as a writer and also prevents plagiarism. It is unfair to make somebody else’s work look like yours. Not only will you attribute work to the correct sources but you will also help those reading your work to locate the sources and determine whether the referenced material supports your argument. Since more people use online sources to help in their research, it is essential to know how to cite a website in an essay. There are various citation styles, and this article will help you learn everything you need to know about citation in an essay.

Paper writing service

Things To Take Note Of On How To Cite A Website In An Essay

The following are some of the things you should consider regarding how to cite a website in an essay. These are;

  • The URL
  • The DOI
  • Date of retrieval
  • Author’s name
  • Title of the article or page
  • Title of the website
  • Name of the Publisher 
  • Date the page or site was published (if available)

The URL 

The unique resource locator helps you identify where exactly online you found your source. It is important to include the URL in your end of text citation. However, you should note that updates continue to come out for the different citation styles. Most recently, MLA does not require that you include the URL in your end of text citation, as was the previous case. 

One of the main reasons for this is that website owners can bring down websites. Search engines can also bring down a website if the website violates certain guidelines. APA still requires that you include the URL if available. 

The DOI 

The digital object identifier works similarly to the URL. It allows the essay reviewer to locate the exact source of the reference you use in your essay. The DOI is more reliable compared to the URL. The reason for this is that even though a website owner may choose to bring down his or her website, the DOI will remain in place. 

It is, therefore, a better alternative to use the DOI rather than use the URL when writing your end of text citation. However, get to know whether the organization or institution you are writing requires that you list one or both of these resource identifiers. 

Date of Retrieval 

The exact date on which you access the source you are going to use in your essay is important to include in your end of text citation. This date is also vital in the in-text citation, especially for APA. As with a book or any other source, you will list the name of the author or publication and follow it up with a comma then the date. MLA requires that you list the date, month and the year at the end of text citation. 

For APA, MLA and Chicago, the in-text citation only requires that you write the year you accessed the source. The importance of listing the date you retrieved the source is to enable the reviewer or reader to gauge how old the source is. This is important because information quickly becomes obsolete online. 

Author’s Name

The author is responsible for creating the work, and it can either be an individual or a group. Usually, the author’s name is the first thing listed in a citation unless there is no author.

Title of The Article or Page

This is usually at the top of the page and sometimes at the very top of your browser. It also refers to one part or page of a website.

Title of The Website

It usually appears at the top of the tab. It is an HTML element that specifies the content of a webpage.

Name of The Publisher 

For websites, the publisher is the author of the post or page or the organization behind the website. Moreover, the publisher name may be omitted from the citation if it is the same as the website title. 

Date The Page or Site Was Published (if available)

 This represents the date when the web page was uploaded to the website.

Format Of How To Cite A Website 

The specifics of how to cite a website in an essay will depend on the citation style that your institution or program requires you to use. However, all the citation styles will follow a general format, albeit with a few variations. 

The surname of the author will come first and the first name will come last in all citation styles. In the absence of the name of the author, the name of the Publication will replace the name of the author.

An example of how to cite a website

how to cite a website in an essay

The title of the source will come next and depending on the specific citation style. This will be either in italics or in quotation marks. In the absence of the title of the post, the webpage will replace this. You will then follow up this with the date of retrieval and finally, the DOI or URL. Again, depending on the citation style in use, you will copy the entire URL or eliminate a part of it before, including in your citation.

Essay help

Final Thoughts 

Citing a website is essential for avoiding plagiarism and giving credit where it’s due. It is advisable to know the citation style used by the institution you are writing to help you cite your web sources correctly. Additionally, refer to any handbook or guide that your institution offers to ensure that you are always citing websites correctly. 

How do you list sources?

There are various types of listings, and they include; listing a website, listing a book, and finally listing a magazine or article.

Let Us Help You Get Better Grades

Achieve academic success with Bright Writers

Let Us Help You Get Better Grades

Achieve academic success with Bright Writers

Unlocking A+ Essays


Insider Tips Your Professor Won't Share

Don't leave before you grab this deal!!

Get 20% OFF your first order. Professional essays at $10 a page

No thanks, I don't want great essays

Do you need better


Let us handle your essays today

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top