What’s the Difference Between an Intranet and the Internet?

There’s one major distinction between an intranet and the Internet: The Internet is an open, public space, while an intranet is designed to be a private space. An intranet may be accessible from the Internet, but as a rule it’s protected by a password and accessible only to employees or other authorized users.

From within a company, an intranet server may respond much more quickly than a typical Web site. This is because the public Internet is at the mercy of traffic spikes, server breakdowns and other problems that may slow the network. Within a company, however, users have much more bandwidth and network hardware may be more reliable. This makes it easier to serve high-bandwidth content, such as audio and video, over an intranet.