BACKGROUND Major depressive disorder (MDD) places a significant disease burden on individuals as well as on societies. Several web-based interventions for MDD have shown to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms. However, it is not known whether web-based interventions, when used as adjunctive treatment tools to regular psychotherapy, have an additional effect compared to regular psychotherapy for depression. METHODS/DESIGN This study is a currently recruiting pragmatic randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compares regular psychotherapy plus a web-based depression program ("deprexis") with a control condition exclusively receiving regular psychotherapy. Adults with a depressive disorder (N = 800) will be recruited in routine secondary care from therapists over the course of their initial sessions and will then be randomized within therapists to one of the two conditions. The primary outcome is depressive symptoms measured with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) at three months post randomization. Secondary outcomes include changes on various indicators such as anxiety, somatic symptoms and quality of life. All outcomes are again assessed at the secondary endpoint six months post randomization. In addition, the working alliance and feasibility/acceptability of the treatment condition will be explored. DISCUSSION This is the first randomized controlled trial to examine the feasibility/acceptability and the effectiveness of a combination of traditional face-to-face psychotherapy and web-based depression program compared to regular psychotherapeutic treatment in depressed outpatients in routine care.