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Definition: intranet

An in-house website that serves employees only, and most medium-sized and large companies have one. Although intranet pages may have links to websites on the Internet, the intranet is not exposed to, or accessed by, the general public. It provides a standard way to publish company policy, news and schedules, along with internal forms and training manuals. The intranet is also a venue for blogs, wikis and social activities.

Since the Web browser is the user interface, intranets offer cross-platform support between desktop and mobile platforms. See private cloud.

An Internal Web
Intranets use the same HTTP Web server technology, protocols and hypertext links as the public Web. However, like all company databases, the intranet server resides in the local network (LAN) behind the firewall and fortified from the outside world. See HTTP, firewall, LAN and cloud computing.

A Tongue Twister
For anyone discussing or teaching intranets, the terms intra-net and Inter-net must be pronounced very carefully to avoid confusion. Popular in the mid-1990s, the term has thankfully fallen away because it is a verbal disaster. Today, an intranet is generally just the "company website," or if it offers a variety of functions, the "company portal." Contrast with extranet. See LAN, website, Web server and Internet.