APA Basics: Web Rules

APA provides citation formats for many different source types found on the web, such as online newspapers, encyclopedias and blogs.

Tips for citing sources you find on the web:

All sources

  • Only include retrieval date information if the source’s information is likely to change (i.e., wikis). Format it as follows: Retrieved Month Date, Year, from http://xxxxx
  • If a URL runs across multiple lines of text in the citation, break the URL off before punctuation (e.g., periods, forward slashes) – except http://.

Journal/newspaper articles

  • Include the DOI (digital object identifier) in the citation. Format it as follows: doi:xxxx
  • If no DOI is provided, include the URL of the homepage for the journal that published the article. Format as follows: Retrieved from http://www.xxxx.
  • Do not include database information

Note: Purdue OWL includes database information, but the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) does not. Check with your instructor to see if they required database and/or retrieval information.

General websites

If the source is not easily identified as an online:

  • Periodical
  • Book/chapter
  • Reference work
  • Government document
  • Conference paper/proceeding
  • Thesis/dissertation
  • Review
  • Audiovisual media
  • Internet message board/mailing list post
  • Blog post
  • Software, data set, training video
  • Informally published work

…cite it as a general website

For example:

  • Websites like TechCrunch and Gizmodoregularly publish articles, but are considered neither a blog, nor an online newspaper. These would be general websites.
  • Only include retrieval date information if the source is likely to change over time (i.e., wikis).
  • Format it as follows: Retrieved Month Date, Year, from http://xxxxx

Examples of citations for an/a:

General website article with an author


Limer, E. (2013, October 1). Heck yes! The first free wireless plan is finally here. Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/heck-yes-the-first-free-wireless-plan-is-finally-here- 1429566597


General website article with no author

India: Country specific information. (2013, October 3). Retrieved 2013, October 23 from http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1139.html

Note: Include the retrieval date and URL if the information on the site may change (this website includes information about laws, which can change over time).

Online newspaper article


Kaplan, K. (2013, October 22). Flu shots may reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com

Note: Include the homepage URL of the online newspaper at the end of your citation.

Journal article (found in a database or elsewhere online)

Trier, J. (2007). “Cool” engagements with YouTube: Part 2. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(7), 598-603. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.50.7.8

Online encyclopedia article

Musser, G. (2013). Hedgehog. In Encyclopedia Brittanica. Retrieved from http://www.brittancia.com/EBchecked/topic/259273/hedgehog

Blog post

Silver, N. (2013, July 15). Senate control in 2014 increasingly looks like a tossup [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.cmo/2013/07/15/senate-control-in-2014-increasingly-looks-like-a-tossup/

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