A snowflake stage really is just a logical pointer to a physical file staging directory whether its within Snowflake or one of the cloud providers as an External Stage. IN the Snowflake Data Cloud, there are two types of Snowflake Stages, INTERNAL and EXTERNAL. Conceptually, all cloud based data systems expect you to get physical data to the cloud before operations can start on it. \n\nInternal Stages are controlled within Snowflake and some of them are created by default related to Snowflake objects. For example, BOTH User Stages and Table Stages are created by default. So every time you or someone creates either a user or a table on Snowflake, the snowflake data cloud creates sort of these default shadow stages. You have access to your own User Stage associated with your user. This is where you can load data from local data storage into your own stage. This is useful when you want to load many tables instead of just one. The Table Stage is ONLY specific to that particular table its related too. Most of the time though I only see Snowflake customers use Named Internal Stages. The one main difference between these Internal Stages and the External Stages is that you can use the commands PUT and GET with snowsql to either put or get files to and from Snowflake. \n\nExternal Stages are associated with the external cloud providers. You can currently create an external stage which references any of the three cloud platforms that Snowflake runs on including AWS, Azure, and GCP. Also, Snowflake or Snowflake Cloud based EXTERNAL stages can be created to connect to a DIFFERENT cloud provider than the cloud provider you are running your Snowflake Account on. Also, External Stages can have different security and encryption keys related to the cloud provider file storage they are referencing within the CREATE STAGE command.