HONcode certification

HONcode certification is an ethical standard aimed at the provision of quality health information.

Benefits of HONcode certification

for your health website, your team and your organisation:

Plugs your site and your organisation into a restricted community of HONcode certified websites.
Gives confidence in your site for users; communicating a positive message of trustworthiness, and thus increases visitor satisfaction.
Highlights deficiencies, and improve the quality of the website.
Demonstrates commitment to quality via independent audit.
Provides continuous assessment and improvement through tools and recommendation that increase the website experience. As a results, the hard work of your team will be rewarded for meeting high level quality guidelines and continuously improve processes.
Is used by associations, not for profit organisation, governmental and public organisations, patients and family and health professionals world-wide ensures common rules for transparency.

Subscription fees for the HONcode certification membership

The HONcode membership is free for the first year, after which, it is a fee-based service. This membership allows the evaluation of a health website. he HONcode team provides the initial HONcode review completely free of charge and conducts as many reviews as is necessary to get the website to be HONcode compliant. From the second year onwards, there is a membership fee which is calculated based on the type of site and its visibility.


Request certification

The HONcode members are a community of people who believe that providing ethical, accurate and trustworthy online health information to the readers is an important and noble commitment.  Which is why HONcode members commit themselves to respect the HONcode, and by doing so, they commit themselves, through the certification of their website, to ensuring the health information they provide is quality trustworthy health information. 

The HONcode membership certification is in place in nearly a hundred countries providing guidance to both, the readers and health information providers alike to ensure the publication of trustworthy health information online.

More information

Respect the 8 HONcode criteria

Structure your site to follow the eight HONcode criteria in order to respect ethical and transparency criteria.

Improve the way information is presented on your site to make it accessible to all.

Add the HONcode seal to your site to promote its certification.

Engage your visitors

Give your users access to reliable and transparent information.

Engage your visitors by offering content respecting specific criteria.

Increase your site's visibility thanks to the presence of the HONcode seal on your site.

Become a reference

Add your site to our KConnect search engine, which references certified health sites, and add your site to our toolbar.

Join the international network of certified sites

Be part of the 8,000 certified sites; the HONcode has been translated into 35 languages.

The HONcode Principles

The HONcode and its eight principles (available in 35 languages) aim to improve the quality of health information available on the Internet.

To assess sites that have requested certification, our teams use the following principles:

1. Authority
Any medical or health advice provided and hosted on this site will only be given by trained and qualified medical professionals unless a clear statement is made that the advice offered is from a non-medically qualified individual or organization.
2. Complementarity
The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and the patient's/site visitor's physician.
3. Privacy policy
Personal information about patients and visitors to a medical site, including their identity, is confidential. The website's owners pledge to respect the legal requirements for medical information confidentiality applicable in the country in which the server (as well as any mirror sites) is located.
4. Attribution and date
The source of the information provided on the site is explicitly mentioned and includes, if possible, a hyperlink to the original source. The date of the last modification of the content must appear on the web page (for example, at the bottom of each page).
5. Justifiability
Any claims relating to the benefits or performance of a particular treatment, product or commercial service will be supported with appropriate and balanced evidence and referenced according to principle 4 above.
6. Transparency
The creators of the site aim to provide the information in a manner as transparent as possible and will provide contact information for visitors who seek further information or support. This address (email) must be clearly displayed on the website pages.
7. Financial disclosure
The financial support of a site must be clearly identified, including the identities of commercial and non-commercial organizations that provide funding, services or materials for the site.
8. Advertising policy
The site will clearly indicate if advertising is a source of funding. The website owner will provide a brief description of the advertising policy adopted. Advertising and other promotional material will be clearly presented to the user to differentiate it from the information created by the institution managing the site.

As a webmaster, what does the HONcode bring me?

The HONcode enables webmasters managing health websites to provide users with information respecting ethical and transparency criteria.

The HONcode thus helps in the production and shaping of online information into a structure that responds to the 8 principles.

Does the HONcode increase my site's visibility?

Once your health website has been certified, every effort is made for maximum visibility with our users. It appears on our social networks and on the homepage of our site.

Your site is also listed in our search engines and thus appears in searches by users looking for reliable and transparent health information.

Are the sites assessed outside of this process?

Mechanisms have been put in place to ensure compliance and detect HONcode violations. HON is the only organization to enforce its code through a formal complaint mechanism.

Why certify my site?

The HON Code of Conduct, which is aimed at health and medical websites, addresses one of the main issues of the Internet: the reliability and credibility of medical and heath information.

Thus your users can trust that they are accessing information that respects ethical and transparency criteria.

How does the certification process work?

A certified HONcode reviewer assesses the compliance of your website with the 8 HONcode principles and communicates the results by email, listing any changes that need to be made to your site.

Once you have made the required changes, the expert reassesses your site.

Once the principles are respected, you will receive notice of certification and the dynamic seal that goes with it.

How long does certification last?

HONcode certification is valid for one year from the date of certification.

A site reassessment is required in order for the HON team to ensure that the site still respects the 8 HONcode principles.

Thus the site is reassesed every year.

What do the various HONcode seals mean?

The certified site respects the HONcode principles.
The site no longer respects the HONcode principles and is being reassessed..
The site no longer respects the HONcode principles and is no longer certified


Submit your comment about a HONcode certified site and our team will look into it as soon as possible.