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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 is accessed by, the general public. It provides a standard way to publish company policy, news, schedules, medical and insurance forms and training manuals. The intranet is also a venue for publishing blogs, wikis and social activities such as sports and exercise schedules.

Since the Web browser is the primary interface, intranets offer cross-platform support between Windows, Mac and Linux desktops. See private cloud.

An Internal Web
Intranets use the same HTTP server (Web server) technology, protocols and hypertext links as the public Web. Like all the organization's internal databases, the intranet server resides within the local network (LAN) inside the firewall and fortified from the outside world. See HTTP, firewall, LAN and cloud computing.

A Tongue Twister
For anyone discussing intranets, the terms intra-net and Inter-net must be pronounced very carefully to avoid confusion. The term was popular in the mid-1990s and has thankfully fallen away for the most part. Today, the intranet is just "the LAN." Contrast with extranet. See LAN, website, Web server and Internet.