How to Know If a Website Is Reputable or Not

The popularity of the World Wide Web and the ease at which a website can be created has created an interesting problem. Because anyone with a basic knowledge of how the Web works can create a website, the Internet is full of sites with biased and even incorrect information. When you go online, you cannot trust everything you read. You must take the time to determine if a website is reputable before trusting the information that it contains.

Male office worker at workstation, view over shoulder
credit: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images

Step

Determine who the author or publisher is. If the author is a respected expert in a particular field or the site is published by a reputable company, the website is most likely reliable.

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Check the web address. The most reputable websites often end in .gov for government agencies, .edu for academic institutions or .mil for military sites.

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Find out the purpose of the site. Is it primarily used to sell a product, provide information for educational purposes or to promote a particular cause? This will help you determine any bias.

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Search for a way of communicating with the website’s author or owner. Reputable websites will offer a “Contact Us” option of some sort.

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Check the website for regular updates, if applicable. News sites and health-related sites, for example, should be updated and modified regularly to keep the information up-to-date.

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Look for documentation on important information. Determine if the resources used are also reliable.