English

Looking for Something?

5 Best VPNs for 4Chan That Work in 2018

What is 4Chan?

The 4Chan imageboard site is a riotous, internet version of a Wild West town. Visitors to the site include kids looking for funny cat pics to post on Facebook, hacktivists, pranksters, child pornographers, and anime and manga enthusiasts. The whole range of web life is here. Users of the site can post messages anonymously. However, arrests of users and traces of posters have shown that the system is not quite anonymous enough. If you don't want to be falsely accused of misdemeanors because of the company you keep, it is probably better to mask you identity when using 4Chan.

Editor's Choice 1. From $3.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
2. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.7 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
3. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
4. From $2.73 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.2 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
5. From $5.2 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

The 4Chan website began in 2003. A 15-year-old New Yorker, Christopher Poole, created it to meet fellow Japanese animation enthusiasts. As the site is free to use and minimizes advertising, it has never been a commercial success. However, 4Chan does attract millions of users. It is also a constant source of scare stories that fill the pages of the mainstream media.

You don't have to set up an account in order to use 4Chan. In fact, you don't have to give any personal details at all. The default name for any post on the site is "Anonymous." Some claim that this was the origin of the Anonymous hacktivist group. Users often organize pranks and attacks on the site, and it's the source of many viral memes. Posts on 4Chan form rallying calls to those who want to hijack public votes or wreck attempts to shut down torrent sites.

The 4Chan site is an imageboard. The main section of the websites is a series of category pages where visitors post pictures and graphics. A subsection of the site is a text message board. As such, you don't need a picture to post a message on 4Chan. Although the site is patrolled by volunteer moderators, the threshold of what is deemed acceptable is set pretty low. More or less anything goes.

Although the site claims that it doesn't record visitors' identities, Christopher Poole did reveal in a court case in 2010 that the site's audit logs keep a record of users' IP addresses. That court appearance was during the United States of America vs David Kernell case. Evidence against Kernell included 4Chan logs. 4Chan handed the logs over to the FBI in response to a search warrant.

The incident highlights the need to protect your identity when using 4Chan. You can achieve this with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN can also get around other difficulties that you may encounter when trying to get into the site. These include blocks on access imposed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and gateway filters on company, institutional, and educational networks that prevent access to 4Chan.

You can find out more about how VPNs work later on in this article. First, let's take a look at the five best VPNs for 4Chan.

4Chan Bans

An indication that the 4Chan site is not anonymous lies in its rules of use. 4Chan can ban you from the site. In order to ban you, it has to be able to trace you. However, the terms of service (ToS) include a "no rules" clause, which also applies to the actions of moderators. So, you can be banned from the site on the whim of a moderator. The fact that bans are possible is made clear by a couple of exceptions to the "no rules" philosophy. The ToS explains that users will be banned if they post child pornography, if they are under 18 and access adult channels, or if they participate in "invasions" of other sites.

So, 4Chan administrators can uniquely identify you even though you don't have to log in or identify yourself before posting content. The only way the site could impose bans on individuals who have given no personal information is if it records visitors' IP addresses. Not only would it have to log identifiers for users, but it would also have to keep those logs for a long period of time. As the David Kernell court case revealed, 4Chan will hand those logs over to the US authorities with little to no resistance.

4Chan VPNs

Your IP address is a vital piece of information. It can be used to control your activities on the web and can even land you in court. IP addresses uniquely identifies every user connected to the internet. This is essential because if a browser sends a request to a web server for a page, then that server has to know exactly where to send the page to.

You can't have two people connected to the internet from different locations using the same IP address at the same time. However, that doesn't mean that an IP address is like a Social Security number. Each address has to be unique on the internet at the moment. Thus the same address can be assigned to different users at different times.

Each VPN company owns a pool of thousands of IP addresses. When you connect to the VPN, it assigns you one of these addresses. Until you disconnect, every message that the VPN server sends out on your behalf will carry this IP address to represent you. No one gets to see your real IP address.

Under these circumstances, 4Chan cannot ban you from accessing its site. The moderators can only mark off the IP address that you used on your last visit. The next time you connect to the VPN, you get a different IP address, which the moderators didn't put on their blacklist. Thus you will be able to get in.

If the FBI raids the 4Chan offices with a search warrant, it will get its hands on records of all the IP addresses that connected to the site. Your IP address won't be on that log. Instead, it will hold the various IP addresses that your VPN assigned you on your separate visits to the 4Chan site.

4Chan Blocks

An IP address has to be visible to routers and networking devices in order to get a message across the internet. All internet communication is broken up into a series of chunks, each of which is carried in a packet. The front of the packet contains the source and destination address in a header.

Network owners and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can control internet access at the point that a packet passes through a router or gateway. It takes just a simple line of program code to drop a packet. When the packet comes in, the router reads the destination address. It then checks whether that address is on a banned list. If the address isn't on the list, it looks up which of its neighboring routers will get that packet to its destination and then sends it on. If the destination address is on the blacklist, then processing ends and the router sits and waits to receive another packet.

A blocked packet simply disappears. However, it is a standard routine for the router to send back a message to the browser with a code explaining that the destination the packer requested is banned. This is how network owners and ISPs can block access to 4Chan.

Why You Should Use a VPN with 4Chan

The VPN software on your computer intercepts every packet and encrypts it. The HTTPS protocol protects internet traffic from snoopers by encrypting all of the data in a packet. However, this still leaves the header visible. VPNs encrypt the header as well. If routers can't read the header, they can't decide to drop the packet because they won't be able to see the blacklisted destination address. However, if the router can't see the destination, it can't send it on, so the packet would get dropped anyway.

VPNs encapsulate encrypted packets. They put that packet inside another packet. Before you turn the VPN service on, you have to select a VPN server. This is the location that you will appear to be in as long as the VPN is engaged. The VPN client program puts the IP address of your chosen VPN server on the front of its outer packets as the destination. The destination address on the outer packet is visible to the router, but it is not on the blacklist so the router forwards it on.

When the packet arrives at the VPN server, a program there strips off the outer packet, decrypts the inner packet and substitutes a temporary IP address for yours in the header of the packet. It then sends that packet on to the 4Chan server. For the duration of the connection, the VPN client on your computer and the VPN server will coordinate to pass all packets back and forth between your browser and the 4Chan server.

Best VPNs for 4Chan: Conclusion

The case against David Kernell illustrates the importance of logs. It shows that you can only be protected by a VPN if that service keeps no logs. Certain countries have particularly strong data retention laws to make sure that all digital service providers keep logs. This makes information available to the authorities, should they get a court order.

You don't want to get caught up in a raid against terrorists just because you posted a cat pic on 4Chan. Therefore, it is important that you use a VPN when you access the site. Make sure that your VPN cannot hand over records of your connections to the authorities.

Pick a VPN that keeps no logs and which is located in a country without data retention laws. All of the services on this list of the five best VPNs for 4Chan are located outside of the US and keep no activity logs. You can keep yourself safe while visiting the 4Chan site by using any of these five VPNs.

Editor's Choice 1. From $3.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
2. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.7 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
3. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
4. From $2.73 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.2 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
5. From $5.2 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

4 Comments

  1. toto
    on August 2, 2018
    Reply

    yeah 4chan bans vpns and as far as i can tell all nordvpn addresses are banned and have been for years

  2. Dubs
    on August 2, 2018
    Reply

    I read an anonymous post on that site somewhere, who mentioned that 4chan can block/ban you if they discover you've posted from a VPN address. Idk how they know, but they seem to. I personally haven't tried it, but this sounds consistent with what Larry has said above. And it just goes to show, again and again, that we're being misled into giving up our privacies to use these services. I have a gut feeling this could yield consequences for us in the future, particularly in the States, when everyone is proxy chipped by those national ID cards.

  3. Larry
    on July 6, 2018
    Reply

    Thank you for your article. 4chan says however that it blocks vpns? Or even bans users permanently when it finds out they have been using one. Is it possible to use a VPN and continually switch IP addresses to work around this? 4chan appears to know when you are using a VPN. Thanks

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Larry
      on July 9, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Larry, Stephen is no longer with us, and I must admit to not knowing much ab9out 4Chan. We will look into it and update this article if needed (which sounds like it might do).

We apologize, our comments section is under maintenance. Please check back soon.