Using the internet is a powerful way to exercise your right to free speech. Publishing your own content online allows you to communicate with people from all over the world. But now that we are living in an age of social media, every action you take online is logged, tracked and associated with one of your online profiles. Because of all this integration, starting an anonymous website is not as simple as registering a new WordPress blog using a fake name you made up. This is known as a semi-anonymous website. Even though your personal information is not easily visible to the average person, anyone with a basic knowledge of compute networking and a little motivation could find out your name, address, photo and other personally identifying information. Fortunately, it is possible to be fully anonymous on the internet.
We’ve compiled a simple, 5 step process that will allow you to create a website anonymously and guarantee security of your personal information.
Why should I create my website anonymously?
The importance of maintaining consistent online anonymity is best illustrated with the recent incident regarding KickAssTorrents.
Artem Vaulin was recently arrested after being identified as the owner of the popular torrent website. After being pursued by authorities for many years, the mistake that eventually lead to his arrest was a simple matter of him failing to separate his online identity from his real one.
His first major error was to operate a fan page for his illegal torrent site on Facebook. Although his Facebook account was registered with false information, the email he used for the Facebook account was active with several other services. Not only was the email receiving administrative notifications for the KickAssTorrents website, but he was also making purchases from an affiliated iTunes account. The IP address he used with iTunes led investigators to his Bitcoin wallet and several offshore bank accounts.
Although Artem employed some very advanced online security practices such as moving his website regularly around the globe and laundering his funds through multiple offshore bank accounts, just a single point of connection between his online and offline identities brought his entire operation to its knees.
While you may not be a criminal or even as high profile a target as Artem, his story serves to show how easy it can be to track somebody online. Even when you are not breaking the law in your own country, other governments or even hackers may attempt to personally identify you. The opinions you post online could negatively impact your career, or even your social life. Fortunately, creating an anonymous website is not too difficult. As long as you implement our 5 step plan, you’ll be able to keep your personal information secure for years to come.
Step 1: Protect Your IP
Whenever you send a letter, you put a destination address and a return address on the envelope. Just like a street address is used to route mail to your house, and IP address is used to route data to your computer. It can be used to track what online services you use, and even determine your location. By using a VPN, you are able to hide your IP address and encrypt your connection. There are many places to get a VPN, and for basic security any of them should do. But if you have specific concerns regarding the law or government censorship, it might be worth it to do a little digging on the service providers. More information about the factors in selecting a VPN service provider can be found here.
Step 2: Create an identity
Even though we want to remain anonymous, almost every online service requires some amount of personal information. While you can just make up gibberish, if you ever need to reset your password you may be asked to verify the identifying information you provided. For this reason, it’s helpful to keep everything consistent. If you can’t come up with any name and address on your own, you can use the fake name generator. Store this information somewhere safe so you will be able to access it if you need. With your VPN enabled, create a new email address with your name, you’ll be using this to sign up for services later.
Step 3: Get Bitcoin
Your payment information is one of the ways you can be easily tracked online. Since services like domain names and web hosting cost money, you’re going to need a way to pay for this stuff anonymously. Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency that is bought and sold on an open market. We’ll be using this currency to get our website up anonymously.
For security reasons, you’ll want to avoid all of the major online bitcoin wallet services. You’ll need to download bitcoin core, the backbone of the entire system. Once you install it, the program will create a wallet file for you to store your bitcoins. You won’t be able to send or receive any bitcoins until the program downloads 65GB of transaction information required to communicate with other users. While we wait, let’s find a way to buy bitcoin.
You’ll need about $50 in Bitcoin to start a basic website with an anonymous domain. In Bitcoin Core, click File and select “receiving address”. Under the address tab, you’ll see a string of number and letters. Copy this string and paste it somewhere safe. Now there are two places you can purchase bitcoins. If you’re in a major city, there may be a bitcoin ATM nearby. Look here for locations in the US. Using a bitcoin ATM is simple. Just walk up to it and carefully enter your wallet address, then insert cash and receive bitcoins moments later. If there is no bitcoin ATM in your city, you’ll have to head over to localbitcoins to find somebody who will sell them to you privately. Only do cash in person, or a cash deposit at a bank. Pick a vendor with lots of feedback to avoid getting scammed. Give them your wallet address, make the deposit and wait for bitcoins to show up in your wallet.
Step 4: Purchase Hosting and Domains
Now that you’ve got your bitcoin ready to go, it’s time to set up the services required to run your website. A domain name is the websites address, for example www.yourname.com. Hosting is rented server space, providing a connection for people to visit your website as well as an administrative panel for you to develop it. There are very few webhosts that allow for fully privatized service, but the most reliable and cost effective is anonymously.io. Order the domain of your choice, and move on to the hosting setup. A very simple website will do fine on the $4.95 package, but if you’re expecting high traffic you might want to go larger. Once you complete the order, wait a couple hours for your domain to become active and then you’ll be ready to start building your website.
Step 5: Upload your content
At this point, you’re ready to start creating your anonymous website. Even if you have never built a website before, anonymously.io makes it simple to get started with a WordPress blog. Log into your cPanel and go to Software/Services. Click on the Softaculous icon. Click the install button in the WordPress category. In the setup form, select your domain from the dropdown menu. Leave the “in directory” field blank. Admin username and Password will be what you use to log into your website. Admin email will be the address we created in step 2. You can now click install, and your blog will be set up in just a few moments. Go to your domain to begin publishing your content.
WordPress is an easy to use blogging platform. Now that the install has been completed, you have everything you need to run your anonymous website. You can start posting right away, or play around with the design of your website.
And there you have it: how to setup a website anonymously.