We have a mix of links on our public website and we're trying to style them with icons to convey certain things about them.


  • external links have an icon with a little arrow leaving a box to show they're leaving the site
  • links requiring a password (trying to decide on either a key or a padlock icon)

but we have some links that are only accessible only from the internal network - and we can't find any method of conveying this other than writing "intranet" next to them.

are there any example or clever approaches out there to this? would the word "intranet" be considered sufficiently clear? it means something to me but I can see the public being confused.

I would really like to just not have such links on our website to begin with (why put them on the public site...) but that is not an option - at which point I want to convey as clearly as possibly that people on the internet will not be able to reach them.

perhaps like some site have that warning page that says you're about to leave the site (I don't normally like these...) I could have a warning page when clicking on the links saying they will only work if you are on the internal network? perhaps that combined with the intranet text will be sufficient.

  • 1
    Why are you showing private links on the public web site? Dec 18, 2014 at 20:29
  • 3
    yes. as I said, I would like not to but it's not a choice I have :) think of say a university site listing student resources. check your grades - password required. professor admin portal - internal only. it's listed there because that's the place everyone goes to find stuff
    – bkr
    Dec 18, 2014 at 20:36
  • 2
    Detect if the user is not on the internal network and if so disable or remove the links.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 19, 2014 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


It's a bit difficult when I don't know the context, but here are some suggestions:

You could use a script that makes an AJAX request to a resource on the intranet (or you could use Image.load). If the load fails, remove all Intranet links or grey them out with the title text "[UniversityX Intranet Connection Required]".

Also, use a standard color, icon, and title (mouseover) text to convey that it is an intranet link. (The icon and title text will remove ambiguity and also add distinction for the visually impaired.) The key or lock icon is a good idea if the user needs to log in to access. If not, I would create a banner that goes on all internal sites with a specific logo like this one:

Intranet logo by Zero Designs (Not my own; copied from http://www.zerodesigns.in/portfolio/logo-design/intranet-36; example only don't use this on your own site without permission from Zero Designs)

Then use a small version of that logo as the icon for all intranet links.

  • I'm going to try get this dynamic testing of whether the link is reachable working. I don't like the Intranet icon since looking at it doesn't mean anything to me but the idea of a consistent icon is good. I'm not going to hide the links if they're not reachable but perhaps show a warning that they are only accessible internally. I think it's better to have some kind of JS/ajax test than an IP based filter.
    – bkr
    Dec 30, 2014 at 0:16
  • Definitely agree about AJAX over IP filter, that sounds like a maintenance nightmare. And yeah, the example icon doesn't really mean anything, but perhaps you could come up with something better for it (probably a separate question here or on Graphic Design SE). Dec 30, 2014 at 1:02
  • did end up going with a script test.
    – bkr
    Sep 2, 2016 at 22:25

I'm totally with you, don't put those internal links on a public website. If possible, try to find a technical solution. I don't know if you have those options, but if yes, try :)

1) Determine your users IP Adress and show the internal links in a separate place on the website if inside the correct IP Range.

2) Only show the links if a user is logged in or recognized as a person who will possibly have access to the intranet (speaking cookie here)

3) If you really have no other choice: Tell the users what to expect in as much detail as possible. E.g. bla bla bla (Students can check their results on their evaluation site) bla bla bla bla bla.

I don't think that an icon would be enough.

just my 2 cents. hope it helps.

  • I like the idea of hiding the links based on whether they're accessible - but I'm also kind of on the fence about it - because part of the purpose of these pages is to advertise that these links exist even if you can't reach them currently.
    – bkr
    Dec 22, 2014 at 18:32

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