How to reference websites in Harvard style

To reference a website in Harvard style, include the name of the author or organization, the year of publication, the title of the page, the URL, and the date on which you accessed the website.

In-text citation example(Google, 2020)
Reference templateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Page Title. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
Reference exampleGoogle (2020) Google terms of service. Available at: https://policies.google.com/terms?hl=en-US (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

Different formats are used for other kinds of online source, such as articles, social media posts and multimedia content.

Online articles

Blog posts and online newspaper articles are both referenced in the same format: include the title of the article in quotation marks, the name of the blog or newspaper in italics, and the date of publication.

Harvard referencing: Blog
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Blog Name, Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleRakich, N. (2020) ‘How does Biden stack up to past Democratic nominees?’, FiveThirtyEight, 28 April. Available at: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-does-biden-stack-up-to-past-democratic-nominees/ (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Harvard referencing: Newspaper article
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Newspaper Name, Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleRayner, G. (2020) ‘Boris Johnson sets out three-step plan to end lockdown on long road to freedom’, The Telegraph, 10 May. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/10/go-back-work-boris-johnson-says-britons-set-long-road-freedom/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

The format for a magazine article is slightly different. Instead of a precise date, include the month, season, or volume and issue number, depending on what the magazine uses to identify its issues.

The URL and access date information are included only when the article is online-exclusive.

Harvard referencing: Magazine article
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Magazine Name, Volume(Issue) or (Month) or (Season). Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleTaylor, P. (2020) ‘Susceptible, infectious, recovered’, London Review of Books, 42(9). Available at: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n09/paul-taylor/susceptible-infectious-recovered (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

Social media posts

To reference posts from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, include the username and the platform in square brackets. Write usernames the way they appear on the platform, with the same capitalization and symbols.

If the post has a title, use it (in quotation marks). If the post is untitled, use the text of the post instead. Do not use italics. If the text is long, you can replace some of it with an ellipsis.

Harvard referencing: Social media post
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. [username] (Year) ‘Titleor text. [Website name] Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleDorsey, J. [@jack] (2018) We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation … [Twitter] 1 March. Available at: https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616 (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

Images, videos and podcasts

Online content is referenced differently if it is in video, audio or image form.

Images

To cite an image found online, such as an artwork, photograph, or infographic, include the image format (e.g. ‘Photograph’, ‘Oil on canvas’) in square brackets.

Harvard referencing: Images
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Title [Medium]. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleTaylor, P. (2020) Grey squirrel [Photograph]. Available at: https://flic.kr/p/2iZBKhY (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

Videos

Online videos, such as those on YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Dailymotion, are cited similarly to general web pages. Where a video is uploaded under the name of an individual, write the name in the usual format. Otherwise, write the username of the uploader as it appears on the site.

If you want to locate a specific point in a video in an in-text citation, you can do so using a timestamp.

Harvard referencing: Videos
TemplateAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Title. Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleScribbr (2020) What is plagiarism? 23 January. Available at: https://youtu.be/Uk1pq8sb-eo (Accessed: 14 May 2020).

(Scribbr, 2020, 1:58)

Podcasts

For a podcast reference, you just need the name of the individual episode, not of the whole series. The word ‘Podcast’ is always included in square brackets. As with videos, you can use a timestamp to locate a specific point in the in-text citation.

Harvard referencing: Podcasts
TemplateAuthor/presenter surname, initial. (Year) Title [Podcast]. Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleCarlin, D. (2017) The destroyer of worlds [Podcast]. 24 January. Available at: https://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-59-the-destroyer-of-worlds/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

(Carlin, 2017, 25:55)

Referencing websites with missing information

Online sources are often missing information you would usually need for a citation: author, title or date. Here’s what to do when these details are not available.

No author

When a website doesn’t list a specific individual author, you can usually find a corporate author to list instead. This is the organisation responsible for the source:

Harvard referencing: No author
Example(Google, 2020)

Google (2020) Google terms of service. Available at: https://policies.google.com/terms?hl=en-US (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

In cases where there’s no suitable corporate author (such as online dictionaries or Wikis), use the title of the source in the author position instead:

Harvard referencing: No corporate author
Example(‘Divest’, 2020)

‘Divest’ (2020) Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divest (Accessed: 29 April 2020).

No date

In Harvard style, when a source doesn’t list a specific date of publication, replace it with the words ‘no date’ in both the in-text citation and the reference list. You should still include an access date:

Harvard referencing: No date
Example(Scribbr, no date)

Scribbr (no date) An introduction to referencing. Available at: https://www.scribbr.co.uk/category/referencing/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).

Frequently asked questions about Harvard website references

How do I know if a website is a reliable source?

It’s important to assess the reliability of information found online. Look for sources from established publications and institutions with expertise (e.g. peer-reviewed journals and government agencies).

The CRAAP test (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose) can aid you in assessing sources, as can our list of credible sources. You should generally avoid citing websites like Wikipedia that can be edited by anyone – instead, look for the original source of the information in the “References” section.

How can I specify a location in a source without page numbers?

You can generally omit page numbers in your in-text citations of online sources which don’t have them. But when you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a particularly long online source, it’s useful to find an alternate location marker.

For text-based sources, you can use paragraph numbers (e.g. ‘para. 4’) or headings (e.g. ‘under “Methodology”’). With video or audio sources, use a timestamp (e.g. ‘10:15’).

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in Harvard style?

In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘et al.

In-text citationReference list
1 author(Smith, 2014)Smith, T. (2014) …
2 authors(Smith and Jones, 2014)Smith, T. and Jones, F. (2014) …
3 authors(Smith, Jones and Davies, 2014)Smith, T., Jones, F. and Davies, S. (2014) …
4+ authors(Smith et al., 2014)Smith, T. et al. (2014) …

 

When do I need to use a Harvard in-text citation?

A Harvard in-text citation should appear in brackets every time you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source.

The citation can appear immediately after the quotation or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence. If you’re quoting, place the citation outside of the quotation marks but before any other punctuation like a comma or full stop.

Is this article helpful?
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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