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What Does Extranet Mean?

An extranet is a controlled private network allowing customers, partners, vendors, suppliers and other businesses to gain information, typically about a specific company or educational institution, and do so without granting access to the organization’s entire network. An extranet is often a private part of a website. It is restricted to select users through user IDs, passwords and other authentication mechanisms on a login page.


Techopedia Explains Extranet

An extranet may be viewed as an intranet mapped onto the public Internet or onto some other private network.

Advantages of extranets include:

  • The ability to exchange large volumes of data using electronic data interchange
  • Sharing product data or catalogs with business partners
  • Joint company collaboration and training
  • Sharing services such as online banking applications among affiliated banks

Disadvantages are expensive implementation and maintenance if hosted internally and the potential for compromised sensitive or proprietary information. Alternately, it may be hosted by an application service provider.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.