The paper reviews various approaches to the problem of evaluation and numerical representation of the magnetic field distributions produced within the magnetosphere by the main electric current systems including internal Earth's sources, the magnetopause surface current, the tail plasma sheet, the large-scale systems of Birkeland current, the currents due to radiation belt particles, and the partial ring current circuit. Some basic physical principles as well as mathematical background for development of magnetospheric magnetic field models are discussed. A special emphasis is placed on empirical modeling based on datasets created from large bodies of spacecraft measurements. A review of model results on the average magnetospheric configurations and their dependence on the geomagnetic disturbance level and the state of interplanetary medium is given. Possibilities and perspectives for elaborating the ‘instantaneous’ models capable of evaluating a current distribution of magnetic field and force line configuration based on a synoptic monitoring the intensity of the main magnetospheric electric current systems are also discussed. Some areas of practical use of magnetospheric models are reviewed in short. Magnetospheric plasma and energetic particle measurements are considered in the context of their use as an independent tool for testing and correcting the magnetic field models.