How to Know If a Website Is Reliable

By Thomas King

According to an April 2010 survey conducted by, roughly 205,368,103 independent websites existed in 2010. Determining which of these are reliable and which ones are not can be difficult. There are, however, several questions you can ask yourself when viewing a website to gauge its credibility. That said, there is no full-proof method to determine a website's reliability.

Step 1

Identify the name of the individual, group or institution that created the website. A reliable website should clearly state the name of its creator. Generally, websites created by government institutions (.gov) and educational institutions (.edu) are considered more reliable.

Step 2

Identify the source of any facts mentioned on the website. A reliable website should reference the published or unpublished source of any facts found on the site.

Step 3

Identify any contact information supplied by the website. A reliable website should provide a way for users to contact an individual associated with the website. Contact information allows users to ask questions regarding the website and dispute any information found on the site.

Step 4

Identify the purpose of the website or motivations of its creators. A reliable website should be objective in presenting information. If the purpose of a website is to sell wooden baseball bats, you should be suspicious of the information it presents regarding the problems associated with metal baseball bats.

Step 5

Identify the date that the website was last modified. A reliable website should present up-to-date information. The importance of this may vary depending on the information presented. For example, because computer technology is constantly changing, websites discussing operating systems need to be up to date. This is less important for a website discussing the works of William Shakespeare.

Step 6

Conduct your own independent research. A reliable website should contain information that can be verified by another source. For example, the information regarding bone fractures presented by a website should be supported through links to medical books or other medical websites.