• 2-minute read
  • 5th July 2016

Harvard Referencing – How to Cite a Website

In our modern, digital world, it’s no surprise that students often go online before heading to the library when researching an essay.

The trick is finding the needly of useful knowledge within the haystack of online nonsense.
The trick is finding the needle of useful knowledge within the haystack of online nonsense.

However, no matter how study methods change, clearly referencing sources will always be essential.

But citing a website isn’t quite the same as citing a book, since you need to provide different information in the reference list. To help out, we’ve prepared this quick guide on how to cite a website using Harvard referencing.

In-Text Citations

The basics of Harvard citations for websites are the same as for a book, requiring you to give the author surname and year of publication in parentheses:

The internet allows you to find information quickly (Moxley, 2009).

The trouble is that finding the author name and year of publication can be tricky. Make sure to check carefully, but if you can’t find the information needed, you still have options.

Firstly, if you can’t find the individual author of an article, you can name an organisation:

The University of South Queensland (2016) says that citing sources is crucial to academic writing.

If this isn’t appropriate, you can give the page title in the citation instead:

Citing sources is a vital part of academic writing (Harvard citation style: Introduction, 2016).

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

Secondly, if you can’t find the date of a website, you can use ‘n.d.’ (short for ‘no date’) instead:

Academic writing involves engaging with other people’s ideas (Victoria University, n.d.).

Any missing information should also be clearly indicated in the reference list, using the page title when no author is named and ‘n.d.’ when no date is available.

Reference List

The general format for a website in a Harvard reference list is:

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) Title of web page [Online]. Available at URL [Accessed date].

As such, the first source cited in the examples above would appear in the reference list as:

Moxley, J. M. (2009) Library and Internet Research [Online]. Available at http://writingcommons.org/open-text/information-literacy/library-and-internet-research/732-library-and-internet-research [Accessed 31 May 2016].

Remember, however, that Harvard referencing conventions sometimes differ from one university to the next, so check your style guide before setting to work.

Comments (10)
15th June 2018 at 13:02
    16th June 2018 at 12:14
    Hi, Alka. If you're asking how to cite a journal article, see this link: https://proofed.com.au/writing-tips/harvard-referencing-cite-a-journal-article/ However, keep in mind that Harvard referencing can vary, so it is worth checking your style guide if you have one.
11th June 2019 at 08:29
Hi! How to cite this: https://blog.reedsy.com/metaphor-examples/?
    12th June 2019 at 09:44
    Hi, Emilia. If you are asking how to cite that website in an essay, then we have explained this in the blog post (i.e. in the OU version of Harvard referencing, you would cite the author - in this case 'Reedsy' - and a year of publication - in this case '2018'). You would then need to provide the full publication information in the reference list (see blog post for format). However, please remember that there are many versions of Harvard referencing, so you should also check your university's style guide if you have one to confirm their preferred format.
13th June 2019 at 10:03
In-text references are references written within the main body of text and refer to a quote or paraphrase. They are much shorter than full references . The full reference of in-text citations appears in the reference list. In Harvard referencing , in-text citations contain the author(s)’s or editor(s)’s surname, year of publication and page number(s).
    13th June 2019 at 16:41
    Hi, Carla. Thanks for commenting. We cover both in-text citations and the reference list format in the blog post. Your comment is broadly correct, but don't forget that: 1) generally, you only need a pinpoint citation when quoting a source; 2) a website won't usually have page numbers to cite. Some versions of Harvard referencing require you to give a paragraph number instead, though, so make sure to check your style guide.
26th September 2019 at 10:23
hello. how to cite a website in reference list with no author?? https://flowpsychology.com/4-cognitive-approach-strengths-and-weaknesses/ this as example
    26th September 2019 at 14:38
    Hi there. Harvard referencing rules can vary, so it would be a good idea to check your university's style guide. However, as mentioned in the post, when a website does not have an author, you can typically use the publishing organisation in its place. So for the website you link to there, you would use 'Flow Psychology' in place of an author's name in citations and the reference list.
26th April 2021 at 07:41
Hi, I'm mentioning the price difference between the same product from two different suppliers in my piece of work. Should I reference to the suppliers' websites? Thanks
    26th April 2021 at 10:26
    Hi, Emily. It sounds like a good idea to cite those sources, yes. Remember to include a date of access in the rerefences in case the prices on the websites change in the future, though!

Get help from a language expert.

Try our proofreading services for free.

More Writing Tips?
Trusted by thousands of leading institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.