All academic fields require students and researchers to document their sources. Those studying the humanities, including fields in language literature, will typically follow MLA format when structuring their papers as well as when documenting sources.
Citing your sources is a necessary part of any research paper or project. This element serves both to give credit to the researchers and authors whose work informed yours, as well as to preserve academic integrity. Any source that provided you with ideas or information that you have included in your work and which are not considered common knowledge must be included, including websites.
If you are a student faced with creating an MLA website citation for the first time, you may be confused about where to begin. This guide is here to answer all of your questions and take the guesswork out of creating an MLA citation for websites.
The Modern Language Association is not associated with this guide. All of the information, however, is based on the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition as well as the MLA website, and is presented as guidance for students writing in this style.
MLA 8 Citations for Websites
Students who have created an MLA citation for a website using previous versions of their handbook may recall that each source’s publication format determined which elements were to be included in its Works Cited entry. The eighth edition has shifted focus and offers universal guidelines for all citations regardless of the source’s publication medium.
The Modern Language Association refers to these guidelines as “The Core Elements.” If your teacher has asked you to cite your sources in this format, these elements will form the foundation for each MLA website citation included in your MLA Works Cited list, as well as the entries for sources in any other format.
- Title of source.
- Title of the container,
- Other contributors (names and roles),
- Publication Date,
- Location of the source (such as URL or page range).
If one of the elements does not apply, students may omit it. Optional items may also be included when necessary. In addition to the optional details discussed below, a list of additional optional components can be found on the MLA website.
Changes to MLA Citation for Websites in Eighth Edition
Previously, students and researchers creating an MLA website citation were not required to include the URL. When creating an MLA 8 citation for a website, however, it is recommended that you include the URL unless your teacher instructs you otherwise. Even though web pages and URLs can be taken down or changed, it is still possible to learn about the source from the information seen in the URL.
When including URLs in a citation, http:// and https:// should be omitted from the website’s address. Additionally, If you are creating a citation that will be read on a digital device, it is helpful to make the URL clickable so that readers can directly access the source themselves.
If the website’s publisher includes a permalink or DOI (Digital Object Identifier), these are preferable as they are not changeable in the same manner as URLs. Whether you include a URL, permalink, or DOI, this information should be included in the location portion of your citation.
Another change with the eighth edition that impacts how to cite a website in MLA is the removal of the date the website was accessed. While you may still find it useful to include this information or your teacher may request it, it is no longer a mandatory piece of your citation. Should you choose to add this optional information, you may list it after the URL in the following manner:
Accessed Day Month Year.
For an overview of additional formatting changes in the eighth edition, including resources to help with writing an MLA annotated bibliography, check out the rest of EasyBib.com’s writing and citation guides, and try out our plagiarism checker for help with grammar and to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
MLA 8: Citing Websites With an Author
To make an MLA 8 citation for a website, you will need the following pieces of information:
The author’s name
The title of the article or page
The title of the website
The name of the publisher (Note: Only include the name of the publisher when it differs from the name of the website.)
The date the page or site was published (if available)
How to cite a website in MLA 8:
Place the author’s name in reverse order, the last name first, followed by a comma, and then the first name followed by a period. The title of the web page or article is placed in quotation marks, with a period before the end quotation. The title of the website is written in italics followed by a comma. If the name of the publisher differs from the name of the website, include it after the title. Immediately following the publisher is the date that the page or article was published, or posted. Finally, end with the URL, permalink, or DOI.
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the Website, Name of the Publisher, Date of Publication in Day Month Year format, URL.
McNary, Dave. “Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter Returning for ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music.’” Variety, Penske Media Corporation, 8 May 2018, variety.com/2018/film/news/bill-and-ted-3-keanu-reeves-alex-winter-1202802946/.
The in-text citation for a website with an author is reflected as the author’s last name in parentheses, followed by a period. Unless the website includes numbered paragraphs or sections, you should not include any additional information. For the website used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:
To learn more about formatting an MLA in-text citation, be sure to check out the rest of EasyBib.com’s resources and citation guides.
For a website with two authors, your citation should place the authors’ names in the same order as the source. The first name should be formatted in reverse order as was done for a single author. The second name, however, is written as First Name Last Name and is followed by a period, as demonstrated in the template that follows:
Last name, First name of Author 1, and First Name Last Name of Author 2. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date Published in Day Month Year format, URL.
Wadhwa, Vivek, and Alex Salkever. “How Can We Make Technology Healthier for Humans?” Wired, Condé Nast, 26 June 2018, www.wired.com/story/healther-technology-for-humans/.
The in-text citation for a website with two authors should include both authors’ last names, in the order in which they are listed in the source and your works cited:
(Wadhwa and Salkever).
For a source with three or more authors, you should place the authors’ names in the same order as the source. The first name is listed in reverse order and is followed by a comma and et al. Et al is the abbreviation for et alia, a gender-neutral Latin phrase meaning “and others.”
First listed author’s Last name, First name, et al. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date published in Day Month Year format, URL.
The in-text citation for a website with three or more authors should contain only the first author’s last name, followed by et al:
(Last Name 1 et al.).
MLA 8 Citation for Websites with No Author
Sometimes, websites do not state who wrote the information on the page. When no author is listed, you may omit the author information from the MLA citation for the website and begin, instead, with the title.
How to cite a website with no author in MLA 8:
“Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date published in Day Month Year format, URL.
“One Health and Disease: Tick-Borne.” National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, https://www.nps.gov/articles/one-health-disease-ticks-borne.htm.
The in-text citation for a website without an author is noted with the first word or words in the title in parentheses, followed by a period. Unless the website includes numbered paragraphs or sections, you should not include any additional information. For the website used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as:
How to cite a website in MLA 8 Without a Formal Title
When citing a web page that does not include a formal title, it is acceptable to include a description of the page. Do not place the description in italics or quotation marks. Follow the description with the name of the website.
General Information on the New York Mets. NYCData, The Weissman Center for International Business Baruch College/CUNY, www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/sports/nymets.htm.
MLA 8 Website Citation: Social Media
In an increasingly digital world, social media platforms have become one of the most popular sources students turn to when writing a research paper. When citing social media in your work, follow the same format as an MLA citation for a website. Here are some examples of ways you can cite various social media platforms in your work:
To cite a tweet, you will begin with the account holder’s twitter handle, followed by a period. After this, in quotations, you should enter the full text of the tweet, including any hashtags. The publisher, Twitter, is then listed in italics, followed by the date in Day, Month, Year format and the time the tweet was posted. Finally, include a URL to the tweet followed by a period.
@TwitterHandle. “Content of Tweet.” Twitter, Day Month Year, Time stamp, URL.
@Lin_Manuel. “Gmorning from a sky still blue above the smoke from a world still full of love and hope beyond the headlines from your own best self, whispering, ‘I’m still here, and it’s never too late to put me to work.’” Twitter, 22 June 2018, 7:21 a.m., twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/1010165965378719745.
To cite an Instagram post, begin with the account holder’s name or username. In quotations, list the title of the photo, if it is given. If there is no title, write a brief description of the picture but do not place it in italics or quotation marks. The publisher, Instagram, is then listed in italics. Any other contributors (such as the photographer, if it is not the same as the account holder) are then listed, after which you will add the date and URL.
Account holder’s username. “Photo Title” or Description*. Instagram, Other contributors, Date photo was published in Day Month Year format, URL.
*If no title is available, create a simple description and do not place it in italics or quotation marks.
@natgeo. “Path of the Panther.” Instagram, photographed by Carlton Ward, 16 June 2018, www.instagram.com/p/BkFfT9xD6h6/?taken-by=natgeo.
To cite a Facebook post, begin with the account holder’s name or username. In quotations, list the title of the post, if it is given. If there is no title, write a brief description of the post but do not place it in italics or quotation marks. The publisher, Facebook, is then listed in italics, after which you will add the date, time posted, and URL.
Author Last Name, First Name or Account Name. Description of Post. Facebook, Day Month Year of Post, Time Stamp, URL. (Optional) Accessed Day Month Year.
GoatsofAnarchy. Loner Goats Become Stallmates and Fall in Love. Facebook, 25 June 2018, 9:55 p.m., www.facebook.com/thegoatsofanarchy/posts/2103455423030332:0. Accessed 26 June 2018.
Social Media and Website Comments
Citing the comments left on social media or a website begins with the commenter’s name or username. To indicate that you are citing a comment, follow the name with a period and then the words Comment on, followed by the title of the source (for example, the name of the article) in quotation marks. This is then followed by the title of the website in italics, and the publisher, if applicable. The date and time stamp are then listed, followed by the URL, permalink, or DOI.
Use the Username or Commentor’s Name as the author’s name. Comment on “Title.” Publisher, Day Month Year, Time, URL.
Wester, Gary. Comment on “Climate Reality and I are headed to Berlin this June to train leaders who want to help solve the climate crisis.” Facebook, 2 May 2018, www.facebook.com/algore/posts/10155643818533865:0.