What is internal versus external?

An internal network address, also called a local IP address or a private IP address, is not usually visible on the Internet. Typically your router or other Internet gateway has an external IP address, also called a public IP address that is visible on the Internet.

Network activity or traffic is also called internal or external based on the sending and receiving IP addresses:

  • Internal network activity is internal to the local network.
  • External network activity is to or from an external network address

Your router ensures that any external communication out to the Internet does not leak the internal IP address. The router also ensures that any incoming communications will be routed to the correct internal address using a technique like NAT (Network Address Translation).

Internal and external are often interchangeable with local and remote or private and public


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