GUIDE

How to use I2P: An idiot’s starting guide

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If you have read our article introducing the Dark Web and I2P, and are champing on the bit to explore this exciting new world, then you may have headed straight over to the official IP2 website. Unfortunately, you may also have been in for a bit of a shock, as the website is very techie-orientated, and in our view does not do a good job of explaining in simple newbie-friendly terms how you actually connect to the I2P network.

This, then, is a fairly brief guide to get you up and running with the I2P Darknet in Windows (since that is the system we run). If security is a top priority for you, then you should not use Windows (or OSX), instead opting for a Linux distro (and preferably a security orientated one such as Tails or Liberté Linux at that). Even better, use  Ipredia OS,  a Linux distro based on I2P, with websites and services only accessible through an I2P proxy tunnel.

Network-heads and Darknet enthusiasts will have a field day with I2P, as the service is very user-configurable, and much of the information available is very technical and jargon-heavy. This guide is not for them.

1. Download and install Java – I2P is written in the Java programming language, so to run it you will need to have Java installed. It is quite likely that you already have this on your system, but if not, then download the latest version and install it (if you are not sure then skip this step for a minute, and come back if I2P refuses to run).

java

2. Download, install and run I2P.

 run i2p

3. When you run I2P, a console window will open. If you need help, then you can copy and paste the log files from here, which will be useful to anyone assisting you.

isp34. A browser window will also open on the I2P Router Console page to let you know that you have connected successfully to the IP2 network. You may initially have to wait a few minutes while the software finds peers and connects tunnels to them.

i2p15. Once done, the Router Console will show that you are fully connected.

console 26. You now need to configure your Browser to connect through I2P. This can be done be done in any browser, but as we consider Internet Exploret to be insecure, and Chrome an open window for Google spying, we will use Firefox (the process is similar regardless of browser).

Go to Firefox -> Options -> Advanced tab -> Network tab -> Connection Settings

firefox settings

Check the ‘Manual proxy configuration’ box and enter the following values: HTTP Proxy: 127.0.0.1, Port: 4444. It is also a good idea to add ‘localhost, 127.0.0.1 to the ‘No Proxy for’ box

‘OK’ your way back out of Settings and you are done! It is commonly recommended that you use the Firefox Extension FoxyProxy to quickly change proxy settings if you use I2P often. This is a great idea, but we experienced connection problems when we tried it (which may the fault of our highly kinked Firefox browser).

7. You should now be able to connect to I2P websites (known as eepSites, and which have the .i2p suffix).  Enter the address of any eepSite (one of the .i2p links in the Router Console window is a good place to start).

eepsite 1At first you will not have any Eepsites in your router’s Address book, so you will need the help of a ‘jump’ service. The reasons for this is rather technical, but all you need do is click one of the jump service links. If one link doesn’t work then try another (we had much better luck using the second link down).

eepsite 2Click on ‘Save [website] to router address book and continue to eepite’, and the eepSite should load. Unfortunately, when you first start using I2P you may have to go through this process a few times.

8. You should now be connected to an eepSite, and are ready to explore the I2P darknet. A good place to start finding interesting eepSites is the eepsite.com search engine.

Enjoy! A great deal more information (including info on configuring firewall ports) is available from the main website, but is beyond the scope of this beginners guide.

ip loc
You can also use I2P to surf the visible (‘normal’) web anonymously. Here the IPligence website shows our IP as that of an I2P HHTP Outproxy address


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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28 responses to “How to use I2P: An idiot’s starting guide

  1. iNTERESTED in methods of surveillance as used against the public?
    I have DNS/ Names/ Business/ methods abuse of power/ tyrrany; Business/ Internet/ Telecom Fraud }noting amount of money spent on cybersec}

    Seeking Human rights activists. I have documentd evidence re abuse of tech, by whom violating basic Human rights.

    Seek to solidify public for bringing accountability to those defrauding global public security.

  2. No I really don’t think I need to learn Linux to get this. You just don’t know how to write it down (I am a SAP trainer) so that most of us can understand. I could definitely do this and I know nothing about Java and Linux but I can fake my way through it with a little effort. I don’t need to know every detail. But I do appreciate it! I have VPN now so I would love to take advantage of snooping around! Legally of course! 🙂

  3. Will give it a try soon, I have used TOR and TAILS and am an avid Linux user, although I do still use Windows (Win 10 currently) for day to day stuff.
    I will point out you may wish to have a second party on your end edit your posts, as I have noticed on more than one page that you have several typos and grammatical mistakes. I was an editor for five years for a business magazine, as well as a educational book publisher in mainland China.
    When you put something out there, it’s always best to let someone else proof it before you publish. Even I had someone proof my work! it’s natural to make mistakes.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks. I am aware of that self-proofing is not ideal, and BestVPN may look into using a separate editor in the future. Having just re-proofed this article, I must that I think it contained a more than usual number of typos etc. (hopefully now corrected!). Thanks.

      1. if you are using zonealarm go to the fire wall click settings then click at bottom advanced then view zones then click add then click “host/site” add the host name- localhost description-4444 then click lookup and click ok done now you should see host name and ect… as trusted

        1. Hi henry,

          I think this should be in the thread started by Madi, but thanks. This is very useful info.

    1. Hi Madi,

      Sounds like you need to tell your firewall to allow I2P through it (exactly how to do this depends on the firewall you are using).

  4. Why Java? Java has many vulnerablies which can be exploited by a hacker and then your information is worldwide. Should be written in c/c++.

    1. Hi James,

      Java applets on web pages are a major security risk and should never be used, but Java as an application development platform is no riskier than any other kind of software that you might run on a desktop or server.

    1. Hi the real arbiter,

      As I understand it, the real danger is danger is from Java exploits in the browser, rather than any inherent weakness in the Java programming language. As long as Java is disabled in your browser window, you should not be compromised while using I”P.

  5. I am a newbie to i2p..I ‘ve been using private tunnel vpn which is quite good..Will it be ok if i run both of these together..i mean i2p and vpn..??!

    1. Hi John,

      Unlike Tor, I2P is designed as a ‘pure’ darkweb, so it is not normally possible to connect to the ‘regular’ internet through it. As the official FAQ notes, ‘Unless an outproxy has been set up for the service you want to connect to, this cannot be done. There are only three types of outproxies running right now: HTTP, HTTPS, and email. Note that there is not a SOCKS outproxy. If this type of service is required, try Tor.’ For more information on using an outproxy to access tbhe regulare internet, see here.

  6. Hi, your guide looked quite usefull right up to the point where i try to open I2P in firefox browser and it tells me it cannot connect to the server.
    I followed the instructions above to set up firefox browser to connect through I2P but still no joy…..any advice

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Um… without being able to play with your system, it is difficult for me to troubleshoot where your problem lies. Above are the steps I used to connect successfully to the I2P network… If you want to email me the connection files from youI2P console window (step 3), I may be able to help…

  7. Thanks for the guide. I got everything set up on firefox but how do you use the torrent software that comes with i2p as you mentioned before?

  8. thanks for the awesome post! However my i2p console is showing “Warning: ECDSA is not available. Update your Java or OS”. I’m using Mac OS X Yosemite, and I’ve downloaded the most recent Java (7) but the error message is still there. I downloaded the BouncyCastle, opened it, moved it my i2p folder, and restarted i2p, but still get the ECDSA error message. Any idea how to fix it?

    1. Hi guest,

      Um… have you tried rebootng you Mac? Other than that, maybe other Mac owners can help?

    2. Problem resolved, I hadn’t properly stopped and started i2p. I finally noticed the “shutdown” button on my main i2p console, so clicked that, then restarted i2p from Terminal, and the error message was gone and everything’s working fine!

  9. Good guide.
    As for the comments on Linux well?
    Here’s my thoughts on this;
    If the only OS one has experienced is Microsoft Windoze I2P is NOT a good first
    anonymizer for first time users of this Dark net stuff. I love Darknets and adore Linux,
    However I cannot imagine trying to teach the layman Linux and darknets all in one whack.
    It’s like asking an Orderly to perform brain surgery. With much appreciation of your trying to
    advocate privacy and ten thumbs up for that!! I2P is a real Clanky high techie first
    time use nightmare Even for a SYSOP like me. ToR is far better for Microsoft OS
    end users. Though the two are far from the same thing. ToR has more “Open” doors to be
    ousted if the user sets it up to trust strangers:-( So enough about that.
    I2P has that dreaded handicap when the user is behind a firewall which most are, and worse
    if he or she cannot get to the firewall settings [more knowledge needed here] then I2P
    becomes totally useless, Internet service providers are nannying users also and blocking them. So the real work around for this is a tunneling service such as ViperVPN , IPreditor OPEN-vpn etc… which gives you all your ports back, OPEN!! now these anonymizers will work!!

    Unfortunately there are no “Out of the Box” solutions to give the general populace their privacy rights back. Because setting VPN services [5 dollars a month] and controlling
    local OS firewalls [Windows Defender, Firewall etc…] is a high tech task and and leaves
    the every day individual out of luck with personal privacy.

    On the last note, though I am a total Liberal with communication issues most my clients are freaked out when I get there privacy ploy in place they soon are sharing space with Pedo’s
    Gangsters, Alquida operatives, drug dealers and I even found a website that has a
    Mafia “Hit Man” for hire so make sure people are informed that freedom always comes at
    a cost of your neighbors being free also, and too often one will NOT approve of their freedom to do wrong. But that’s what you pay for YOUR freedom it’s an evil necessity.
    Don’t let the News propaganda miss-lead you, Silk-road is alive and well, they just changed the name that’s all.

    1. Hi Scott,

      Thanks for the comments. I did try to get over the idea that I2P is not for the technically faint of heart, and this guide is intended to provide a starting point for those interested in delving deeper.

  10. Thanks for the article. I know it’s virtually impossible for a techie to understand the “blank-slate” mind of a newbie, but since your article claims to be for beginners you should know that not all of us (or maybe not even most of us) will understand terms like “distro” or have even the vaguest idea how to use Linux. Your article naively (and ironically) assumes that your readers are NOT naive! Wrong!! You may want to re-write it with REAL idiots in mind 🙂 Having said all that, I still found some of your info useful and appreciate you taking the time to write and share the article.

    1. Hi David,

      Admittedly, when I wrote the article I was thinking of ‘newbie’ as being new to I2P and the Darknet, rather than the whole internet security thing. Your point is a valid one however, and I will consider doing a more basic article, but jumping into something like I2P without knowing the basics is (I hope you don’t mind me saying) running before you can walk! Did you read I2P: an idiot’s introduction (https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/8360/i2p-idiots-introduction/), which sets out to explain the principles behind I2P? Linux is only tangentially related to the article (I recommend using it for maximum security), but I do think that writing an Idiot’s Guide to Linux may be an excellent idea!

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