Difference between the Internet and the Intranet

December 7, 2016 by Editorial Team

The Internet and the Intranet are two of the most popular tools when it comes to data transfer and exchange. While they are often mistakenly used interchangeably, the two greatly differ in a number of ways.


Internet vs Intranet
Both the Internet and the Intranet provide access to information

The Internet is a global connection of networks that allow the exchange of information among computers and mobile phones worldwide. It carries and permits the transfer of large amounts of data across different networks, regardless of geographical location.

Interconnected computer networks are composed of a broad range of smaller networks linked by wireless, electronic and optical networking technologies. Pioneered back in the 1960’s, the Internet has revolutionized the way people communicate.

Meanwhile, the Intranet is a private connection of networks maintained and accessed by an organization. It is composed of internally connected local area networks linked by rented lines.

The Intranet allows data transfer and exchange among employees. It can also be used for facilitating meetings and giving broadcast messages and updates to the members of the organization. The Intranet rose in popularity in the year 1995. Since then, cheaper computing software became available for companies and organizations. 

Internet vs Intranet

So, what is the difference between the Internet and the Intranet? One word: accessibility. While information found on the Internet can be accessed by the public, only permitted members of an organization can view company files and documents shared via the Intranet.

The Internet is a wide spanning network that can be accessed by anyone. It is a global system of smaller networks, computers, and mobile devices connected by a variety of networking technologies. Just like on the Internet, users can view information on the Intranet via a web browser. However, the Intranet is a private version of the Internet. It is a local network mainly composed of a few servers and computers that are interconnected, maintained, and accessed on an organizational level.

The Internet is the backbone of all connections used to share or transfer information and files. The Intranet also utilizes Internet protocols such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol).

Lastly, the Internet is used to share and exchange information and to provide entertainment. The Intranet, however, is primarily used for job-related activities.

Comparison Chart

Used by the publicUsed by a private organization/company
Connects networks on a global scaleConnects company computers
Used for communication and entertainment purposesUsed mainly for sharing company files and documents
Unlimited number of usersLimited number of users


Below is a video that shows the difference between the Internet and the Intranet.