How to Keep an Anonymous Blog Anonymous

by Laurel Storm

As the famous cartoon from the "New Yorker" says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" -- unless, of course, you unwittingly give yourself away. To truly remain anonymous while running a blog, you need to understand how to protect your privacy before you even make the first post.

Start Fresh

The first line of defense is to keep your anonymous blog completely separate from the rest of your online presence. If you're using a blogging service that requires the creation of an account instead of hosting your blog on your own website, set up a brand new email address to use for that and all other blog-related situations that require one. Similarly, if you plan on using social media to advertise your posts, create completely new accounts instead of using those you already have -- even if those accounts are very old and you have rarely used them.

Mind Your Pseudonym

While the pseudonym you choose is unlikely to give you away by itself, people who know you may be able to use it, along with other details, to determine who you are. Avoid basing your pseudonym on your real name, your favorite anything, the street you grew up on, or any other personal or semi-personal detail. If you absolutely can't come up with anything, open a dictionary at two random pages and combine one word from each. If you're planning to write about people in your life, the same goes when picking out a nickname for them.

Keep Your Name Off It

Using a pseudonym is just a start. If you purchase a domain name for your blog, for instance, your full name and address will be visible to anyone running a simple WHOIS search on it, unless you specifically use a company that provides private registration services. If a service you use for something related to the blog requires you to sign up with your real name and only then hide it using a display name, sign up with your pseudonym instead; you can never be 100 percent sure that your name won't be cached by a search engine in the brief period of time it is visible, or that a bug in the service won't expose it for everybody to see.

Obfuscate, Obfuscate, Obfuscate

The less honest you are about your life and the fewer personal details you include, the better. How well you can do this does, of course, depend on the type of blog you're going to be running -- it's easier to keep a sarcastic movie review blog anonymous than a blog about daily life at your office. Always keep in mind, however, that even insignificant details can be put together like so many pieces of a puzzle, to form the greater picture that is your real identity.

Use an Anonymizing Service

Even something as simple as the Internet connection you blog from could give you away -- IP addresses can be traced to locations with a high degree of precision. Although your IP won't show on your blog, people may see it in other ways, such as in email headers or if you click on a link on social media -- this may end up being what gives you away, especially if somebody is already suspicious and manages to get your IP address when you are not acting anonymous and then compares the two. Whenever you do anything that is even peripherally related to your blog, use an anonymizing service that changes your IP, such as a proxy server, a VPN or Tor.

About the Author

Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.

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