Anonymous networks are networks that operate on the normal internet, but the data is encrypted and transmitted in a particular way and over multiple hops to hide the user’s identity and what data is being sent and to where.
I will not get deep into the technical details of these networks. All I am going to do is express what I love about each of them.
This is the most popular anonymous network. Most people, when they think of anonymity on the internet, they probably think of Tor. Tor has both hidden services, and exit nodes which are utilized to access normal clearnet services without revealing your “true” connection, usually done through the use of the Tor Browser.
A lot of websites utilize Tor to allow anonymous access, and it is a great choice simply because a lot of people will know how to access it, and it will be easy for them to do so. There is nothing big that is wrong with it, but there are a few particularities it has, that other networks try to fix.
Another popular choice among anonymous networks, I2P has technical differences from Tor, a lot of these other networks do. In contrast to Tor, every user becomes a node that routes traffic, this is different from Tor where you have to explicitly make yourself a relay. There are performance metrics done in real-time to ensure the best connection, and everything is distributed between the peers of the network so that everyone contributes and makes the whole network stronger. Because of this, I2P has the potential to become a lot faster than Tor if given enough users.
I2P has a substantially lower userbase compared to Tor, but it is an active and vibrant one. I highly recommend I2P. It feels very homely.
A blockchain (oh no?) anonymous network that utilizes Oxen to encourage the hosting of reliable non-malicious nodes. The development team claims that this incentive, and the expensive stake that you need to register a node, will lead to a substantial decrease of Sybil attacks.
Personally, I am off-put by cryptocurrency, except in the case of Monero, which is awesome. In fact, Oxen is actually based on Monero.1
The way you interact with the network is simple. All the data is being shoved into a single VPN tunnel, and all the work is done for you. This is different from I2P and Tor where you have to utilize a SOCKS proxy.
This network has not been utilized much by me, but it has a lot of potential to become big.
Use Anonymous Networks!
You should really be using them! They are fun, and they make you feel cozy by reassuring your privacy & security. You can host your services free of cost, that means no domain registration where you have to share personal details like your address and full name because ICANN demands that you do.