How to cite a website in Chicago style

Compared to other types of source, Chicago’s citation guidelines for web content are more flexible.

Chicago recommends citing most online articles – from news sites, blogs, and online journals – in the same way as a print article, but with an added URL.

Chicago online article citation
Footnote/endnote1. Rachel Riederer, “The Stark Inequality of Climate Change,” The New Yorker, October 17 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-stark-inequality-of-climate-change.
BibliographyRiderer, Rachel. “The Stark Inequality of Climate Change.” The New Yorker, October 17 2019. ttps://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-stark-inequality-of-climate-change.

For other web content (such as the homepage or “about us” section of a website), you can often just describe it in the text, no citation required. If you feel that a formal citation is more appropriate, it looks something like like this:

Chicago website citation
Footnote/endnote1. “Proofreading & Editing Example,” Scribbr, accessed October 10 2019, https://www.scribbr.com/proofreading-editing/thesis/example/.
BibliographyScribbr. “Proofreading & Editing Example.” Accessed October 10 2019. https://www.scribbr.com/proofreading-editing/thesis/example/.

Citing online articles and blogs

To cite an article from an online version of a newspaper, magazine or journal, you include the exact same information as you would for the print version, but with the addition of a URL or DOI.

To cite a book accessed online or an e-book, see our guide to Chicago book citations.

Newspaper and magazine articles

To cite an online newspaper or magazine article, use the basic Chicago citation format – article title in quotation marks, publication title in italics – with a URL included at the end:

1. Karl Vick, “Cuba on the Cusp,” Time, March 26, 2015, https://­time.com/­3759629/­cuba-us-policy/.

Journal articles

To cite an online article from an academic journal, the author’s name is followed by the article title in quotation marks; the journal name in italics; the volume, issue and date; the page range of the article; and, if available, the DOI (digital object identifier). If there is no DOI, use the URL instead.

2. Miriam Schoenfield, “Moral Vagueness Is Ontic Vagueness,” Ethics 126, no. 2 (2016): 260–261, https://doi.org/10.1086/683541.

Blogs

Blogs are cited in a similar way to newspapers. The blog title is italicized and followed by the word “blog” in parentheses (unless it already contains the word “blog”). The title of the individual blog post is enclosed in quotation marks. If the blog is part of a larger publication, the title of the publication appears, also italicized:

3. William Germano, “Futurist Shock,” Lingua Franca (blog), Chronicle of Higher Education, February 15, 2017, https://www.chronicle.com/­blogs/­linguafranca/­2017/02/15/­futurist-shock/.

Citing other web pages

For other online sources that do not follow the style of more traditional publications, the guidelines are similar, but the website name is not italicized.

If there is no author, you start either with the title of the page or the organization’s name (depending on the type of citation). If there is no publication date, add the date you accessed the page instead.

In notes and bibliography style, you can use a full note to cite a website (with no bibliography entry), or you can use a short note and bibliography entry.

Notes and bibliography website citation
Full note1. “Strategic Themes,” Utrecht University, accessed October 3, 2019, https://www.uu.nl/en/research/profile/strategic-themes.
Short note2. Utrecht University, “Strategic Themes.”
BibliographyUtrecht University. “Strategic Themes.” Accessed October 3, 2019. https://www.uu.nl/en/research/profile/strategic-themes.

In author-date style, if there is no author, use the name of the organization that published the page in its place (usually the same as the website name). If there is no publication date, add “n.d.” in its place.

Author-date website citation
In-text citation(Utrecht University n.d.)
Reference listUtrecht University. n.d. “Strategic Themes.” Accessed October 3, 2019. https://www.uu.nl/en/research/profile/strategic-themes.

Note that there are slightly different rules for citing interviews published online and citing YouTube videos.

Missing information in website citations

The sheer variety of web content makes it difficult to reliably cite – there’s no standard list of publication information that will always be available. Chicago suggests workarounds for some common issues.

No author credited

When a web text does not clearly credit an author, a note citation begins with the name of the article:

1. “Rock Climber Dies Doing What He Was Kind Of Into For 6 Months,” The Onion, October 1, 2019, https://local.theonion.com/­rock-­climber-­dies-­doing-­what-­he-­was-­kind-­of-­into-­for-­6-­1838650298.
2. “Rock Climber.”

In bibliography entries and in author-date in-text citations, begin with the organization that published the source instead. This is usually the website; if so, don’t then include the website name again:

(The Onion 2019)

The Onion. 2019. “Rock Climber Dies Doing What He Was Kind Of Into For 6 Months.” October 1, 2019. https://local.theonion.com/­rock-­climber-­dies-­doing-­what-­he-­was-­kind-­of-­into-­for-­6-­1838650298.

Publication dates, revision dates, and access dates

When a web text includes a clear publication date, use this as the date for your citation, as you would with any other source. When it does not have a formal publication date, look for the date of last revision or update and use that instead.

In a note or bibliography entry, you can also use both if you think it’s important for the reader to know:

1. Shane Bryson, “Word Order Rules in English,” Scribbr, April 21, 2015, last modified February 20, 2019, https://www.scribbr.com/­academic-writing/­word-­order-­rules-­in-­english/.

Where neither a publication date nor a revision date are available, include the date when you accessed the page. Only use this when there are no other options:

Wikipedia. “Data Analysis.” Accessed March 28, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/­wiki/­Data_analysis.

To use an access date in author-date style, replace the date with “n.d.” (no date) and include the access date after the title in the reference list:

(Wikipedia n.d.)

Wikipedia. n.d. “Data Analysis.” Accessed March 28, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/­wiki/­Data_analysis.

Citing social media content

Social media content is frequently just described in the text, instead of being cited formally. Still, if you want to provide a citation, there are guidelines for doing so.

Since most social media posts are untitled, it’s advised to use the beginning of the post, anything up to 160 characters, in place of the title. If the post is less than 160 characters long, you can quote the whole thing:

Chicago Manual of Style. “Is the world ready for a singular they? We thought so back in 1993.” Facebook, April 17, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/­ChicagoManual/­posts/­10152906193679151.

Users of many social media sites use screen names in place of or in addition to their real names. These should be included in brackets where available. If a user’s real name is unknown, it’s also acceptable to use their screen name in place of it:

1. Jack Dorsey (@jack), “We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation,” Twitter, March 1, 2018, https://twitter.com/­jack/­status/­969234275420655616.

Forums are cited in a similar way to social media sites, except that the thread title is used instead of the text of the post, and the name of the specific forum (e.g. a subreddit) is included:

Bedi, Neil (u/NeilBedi). “I’m a reporter who investigated a Florida psychiatric hospital that earns millions by trapping patients against their will. Ask me anything.” r/IAmA, Reddit, October 1, 2019. https://www.reddit.com/r/­IAmA/­comments/­dbtthv/­im_a_reporter_who_investigated_a_florida/.

Citing emails and private messages

Private digital communications – emails, text messages, direct messages, but also content in private Facebook groups or other webpages not accessible to everyone – should be cited as personal communications.

Citations of personal communications do not follow a standard format; rather, you should just describe where the source you’re citing comes from:

1. James Smith, Twitter direct message to author, September 19, 2018.

(John Jones, comment in a private Facebook group, August 12, 2018)

Personal communications should not appear in your bibliography or reference list.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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