Citing a website following the MLA format requires specific information to properly credit the source. This includes the author’s name, the title of the webpage or article, the name of the website, the publisher, the publication date, and the URL. Websites used in academic writing are typically owned and managed by organizations, companies, and institutions. If there is no author available, use the title of the website instead. Knowing how to cite a website in MLA is critical to make your research credible and avoid plagiarism.
Definition: MLA website citation
MLA website citation is guided by the framework of the MLA style of writing. Modern Language Association (MLA) is a format of writing used by students in various academic disciplines. It stipulates ways of formatting sources such as websites, as we shall see in the subsequent sections.
How to cite a website in MLA – Online articles
Articles from online sources such as magazines, newspapers, or blogs are often cited as primary and secondary sources for research publications. Researchers should know how to cite online sources to avoid plagiarism. It would be best if you used a title case for the article’s title and always included the publication date in full where it is available, i.e., year, month, and date.
Use the following guidelines where applicable:
- Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Name of Website, Day, Month, Year, URL
Sometimes, MLA web citation users may cite websites with no known author or date of publication. For sources without an author, it’s best to omit the author element in the citation. Use the title of the article or the page cited instead. In the in-text citation, a shortened version of the article is the most appropriate style. Your shortened title should match the first words of the entry in the Works Cited section.
Format your MLA website citation with no author as shown below:
- “Article Title.” Name of Website, Date (Day, Month, and Year), URL
MLA website citation with no author or date
Where a website has no publishing date, don’t include the date element. Use the date you accessed the website in your citation. Write your source as follows:
- “Title of Article.” Name of Website, URL. Accessed on Day Month Year.
How to cite a website in MLA – An entire website
Sometimes, a student or researcher may want to cite an entire website. You can cite an entire website if there is no known author.
In MLA website citation, you should cite an entire website in the following format:
- Name of Website. Day Month Year, URL
When should a whole website be cited?
In most cases, you should reference a specific section or page of a website as the primary source. However, it is permissible to cite the whole website under certain circumstances. This is often used when mentioning a website in general without referring to any particular information or segment of the website. When citing several pages or articles from one website, ensure you include a distinct Works Cited entry for each.
How to cite a website in MLA – Publishers
If the website and the organization that manages it have different names, make sure to cite them.
Where the publisher and the website have the same name, you can omit it from the citation.
The publisher’s name is located in the footer section, close to the copyright symbol.
MLA website citation includes:
- Author’s names (Last, first)
- Title of the source page
- Website name in italics
For sources without a known date or author, you should exclude these elements.
The guidelines on how to cite a website in MLA stipulate rules for citing several articles from a single website.
Always write a separate entry for Works Cited for each article!
Some websites owned by organizations may not have an author associated with the work.
If you are citing a website without an author, use the article’s title and don’t include the name element.
The MLA site citation is documented in the MLA guide for writing academic papers and gives guidelines on properly citing sources and structuring your work.