EASY MLA CITATIONS FOR WEBSITES

Webpages are important resources, but they can be tricky to cite. This page outlines how to cite a website in MLA style. It also provides a summary of the different kinds of online sources that you might want to document. 

The information has been compiled by experts and comes from the most up-to-date version of the MLA Handbook (8th Edition).

KEY FEATURES OF AN MLA WEBSITE CITATION

You can break down the citation for an online source into two parts. The first part is an in-text citation, which is incorporated within the main body of your argument. The second part is a bibliographic entry that is included in the Works Cited list at the end of your document.

FORMING AN IN-TEXT CITATION

For this first part, simply list the author or the organization that created the website in round brackets. If the site does not have an author or an organization, then include the site’s title. The following is an example of how to cite a webpage written by a single author:

Solar panels are an effective source of green energy, but they are difficult to recycle (Stone).

Note that an MLA website citation will rarely include a page number since most online sources don’t use them. 

WORKS CITED LIST

At the end of your paper, you should provide a Works Cited list that includes the following details for any of your web-based sources:

  • Author Surname, First Name and/or Initial(s).
  • “Title of Webpage or Article in Quotation Marks with Important Words Capitalized.”
  • Title of the Website containing the Article in Italics with Important Words Capitalized,
  • Information About the Publisher or Organization with Important Words Capitalized,
  • Abbreviated date of publication if applicable,
  • A DOI (if available). Alternatively, a URL in the form: www.URL…
  • The date you accessed the material (optional but see the note on access dates below).

Then, lay the information out in the following format:

Author Surname, First Name and/or Initial(s). “Title of Webpage or Article.” Title of Website, Organization or Publisher Information, Publication Date in the form Day Abbreviated Month Year, doi: or www.URL. Accessed Day Abbreviated Month Year.

For example, the online article mentioned above would be documented as follows:

Stone, Maddie. “Solar Panels are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash.” Wired, Condé Nast, 22 Aug. 2020, www.wired.com/story/solar-panels-are-starting-to-die-leaving-behind-toxic-trash/#intcid=_wired-category-right-rail_5f3c8026-6b03-4b9b-bfd0-82d5f34388a3_popular4-1. Accessed 26 Aug. 2020.

The information you need to cite your source will generally be located at the top or bottom of the relevant page:

Fig. 1. “Where to find publication information on a web page.” Annotated screenshot from Wired

HOW TO CITE AN ENTIRE WEBSITE

MLA citations for websites as a whole follow the same format as above. You should list the site’s authors if it has been compiled by one or two contributors (for sites with more authors see below). In many cases, though, a website as a whole won’t have an author, in which case you should use the title in place of the author’s name, like so:

The latest scientific research is continually updated online (Science).

If you identify your source by its title in your text, then you should identify it in the same way in your list of Works Cited:

Title of Website. Organization or Publisher Information, Publication Date if available in the form Day Abbreviated Month Year, doi: or www.URL. Accessed Day Abbreviated Month Year.

For example:

Science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, www.sciencemag.org. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.

WHAT’S A DOI AND WHEN SHOULD I USE ONE?

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. It is used mainly for academic articles and is a persistent way of identifying sources online. DOIs are considered more stable than URLs, because they never change, even if the article is moved to a different online location. If a source comes with a DOI, then you should cite it rather than the URL.

DO I HAVE TO INCLUDE AN ACCESS DATE?

Including the date you access a source is optional. You don’t need to include one with a DOI, but it’s recommended whenever you cite a URL, since this can be changed or edited easily. Think of it as an insurance policy in case a source is edited after you cite it.

EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF SOURCES

SOURCES WITH TWO, THREE, OR MORE AUTHORS

When citing a source with two authors, include both names in your text, like so:

In 2019, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress published five recommendations for congressional reform (Kilmer and Graves).  

In your Works Cited list, include both authors’ names, but only reverse the name of the first author. Give the second author’s name normally:

Kilmer, Derek, and Tom Graves. “The Bipartisan Effort to Reform Congress.” CNN, 21 June 2019, edition.cnn.com/2019/06/20/opinions/select-committee-on-modernization-of-congress-kilmer-graves/index.html. Accessed 3 Sep. 2020.

If a source has three or more authors, include the first name followed by “et al.” (which means “and the rest”) in your text.

Researchers are investigating new ways to bring art to the visually impaired (Elmsey et al.).

In your Works Cited list, you should include the first author’s names (in reverse), followed by “et al.”  

Elmsey, Iain, et al. “Heritage: Please Touch the Art.” University of Oxford, 2020, www.ox.ac.uk/oxford-heritage-projects/museums-and-blind. Accessed 6 Sep. 2020.

SOURCES FOR WHICH THE AUTHOR IS A GROUP OR AN ORGANIZATION

If the author of a page is a group or an organization, then you should include their name in your text and in the Works Cited list.

In-text:

Some cities are warming faster than others (BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team).

Works Cited:

BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team. “How Much Warmer is Your City?” BBC News, 31 July 2019, www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-985b9374-596e-4ae6-aa04-7fbcae4cb7ee. Accessed 20 Aug. 2020.

Note, however, that if the organizational author and the publisher are the same, then you should cite the source using its title, and list the organization only as a publisher. This is common for posts written by companies:

In-text:

Technology companies are investing in clean energy in China (“Apple-launched China Clean Energy Fund”). 

Works Cited:

“Apple-launched China Clean Energy Fund invests in three wind farms.” Apple, 24 Sep. 2019, www.apple.com/uk/newsroom/2019/09/apple-launched-china-clean-energy-fund-invests-in-three-wind-farms/. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020.

A COURSE OR DEPARTMENT WEBPAGE

To cite a course, include the instructor’s name and italicize the course title. Department pages should also be italicized, like so:

Bushnell, Rebecca. Tragedy. University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2018, www.english.upenn.edu/courses/undergraduate/2018/spring/engl103.402. Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.

Faculty of English Language and Literature. University of Oxford, 2018, www.english.ox.ac.uk. Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.

The following is a list of works cited on this page. Feel free to use it as a guide when compiling your own lists.

WORKS CITED

“Apple-launched China Clean Energy Fund invests in three wind farms.” Apple, 24 Sep. 2019, www.apple.com/uk/newsroom/2019/09/apple-launched-china-clean-energy-fund-invests-in-three-wind-farms/. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020.

BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team. “How Much Warmer is Your City?” BBC News, 31 July 2019, www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-985b9374-596e-4ae6-aa04-7fbcae4cb7ee. Accessed 20 Aug. 2020.

Bushnell, Rebecca. Tragedy. University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2018, www.english.upenn.edu/courses/undergraduate/2018/spring/engl103.402. Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.

Elmsey et al. “Heritage: Please Touch the Art.” University of Oxford, 2020, www.ox.ac.uk/oxford-heritage-projects/museums-and-blind. Accessed 6 Sep. 2020.

Faculty of English Language and Literature. University of Oxford, 2018, https://www.english.ox.ac.uk. Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.

Kilmer, Derek, and Tom Graves. “The Bipartisan Effort to Reform Congress.” CNN, 21 June 2019, edition.cnn.com/2019/06/20/opinions/select-committee-on-modernization-of-congress-kilmer-graves/index.html. Accessed 3 Sep. 2020.

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, www.sciencemag.org. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.

Stone, Maddie. “Solar Panels are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash.” Wired, Condé Nast, 22 Aug. 2020, https://www.wired.com/story/solar-panels-are-starting-to-die-leaving-behind-toxic-trash/#intcid=_wired-category-right-rail_5f3c8026-6b03-4b9b-bfd0-82d5f34388a3_popular4-1. Accessed 26 Aug. 2020.

Hannah Berry (Ph.D.)

Hannah Berry has lectured at several colleges and teaches at the WEA. Besides publishing extensively, she has taught citation skills and written multiple style guides.