What is the difference between Internet, intranet, and extranet?

Updated: 03/01/2018 by Computer Hope
Internet, intranet, and extranet icons

Many of our users want to know the difference between the Internet, intranet, extranet. This question can be partially answered by looking at each of the words' prefixes; inter means between, intra means within, and extra means outside or beyond.

Essentially, the Internet is open to the entire world, whereas an intranet is a private space, usually within a business. An extranet is essentially a combination of both the Internet and an intranet. An extranet is like an intranet that allows access only to certain outside individuals or businesses.

Generally, intranet connections are much faster than Internet connections, because the electronic signals travel a shorter physical distance. Also, the network hardware on an intranet is controlled entirely by the organization using it, so there is less competition for network resources.