The Tin Hat

I2P Browser Setup Tutorial | Using The Tor Browser For I2P

Category: darknets
A 3 Minute Read

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Note: if you’re not familiar with I2P, click here for a simple explanation before continuing.

While I2P is a fantastic network, there is definitely one thing it lacks when compared to Tor: a purpose-built browser. While Tor users are given the gift of the Tor Browser, I2P users are forced to scavenge for a browser and add-ons that fit their security and anonymity needs. Fortunately, with just a few tweaks the Tor Browser can be configured to work with both Tor and I2P. This tutorial will cover exactly how to do just that.

Why The Tor Browser?

If you don’t already know, the Tor browser isn’t just a standard version of Firefox. Instead, it is a custom-built browser based on Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release), the more mature and stable version of Firefox without the flashy bells and whistles. The Tor Project team makes a range of changes to the browser that range from removing identifiers that would otherwise give the browser a unique fingerprint (you can test your browser’s fingerprint here), to ensuring that there isn’t any evidence of your browsing session left on your computer after the browser is closed. As well, the Tor Project adds a few add-ons to the browser that help increase privacy, security, and anonymity, such as NoScript, HTTPS-Everywhere, as well as the Tor Button. All in all, this same setup that makes the Tor Browser perfect for Tor makes it equally suitable for I2P.

Adding I2P Support To The Tor Browser

Assuming that you have already installed I2P, the first step to setting up this I2P browser is to download the Tor Browser, extract it, and run it (no installation is necessary). If you don’t have I2P installed yet, stop now and go to the I2P website to download and install it first.

Next, the way that we will configure the browser to work with I2P is through the use of an add-on called FoxyProxy. Using the Tor Browser, navigate to the FoxyProxy page on Mozilla’s website and install the add-on. After doing so, you will be prompted to restart the browser to complete the installation.

After restarting, download this configuration file for FoxyProxy. I’ve mirrored it here to make it accessible (just right click the link and select “Save As”), but originally it was the product of KillYourTV. With that downloaded, press CTRL+SHIFT+A, and open the preferences for FoxyProxy. Go to File > Import Settings, on the Preferences panel and import the configuration file that you just downloaded.

This may cause the browser to crash, but after re-opening it FoxyProxy will have a complete rule-set for how it handles traffic such that any requests to either the clearnet (techno-jargon for the regular internet) or to Tor hidden services will travel through the Tor network, but any requests to a domain ending in .i2p will travel through the I2P network. In other words, you are ready to browse I2P.

Security Considerations

While you could start browsing right now, there is one last optional modification you may wish to make. Click the onion on the top left of the Tor Browser and select Privacy and Security Settings.... This will allow you to adjust the security slider. For the utmost security and anonymity on both Tor and I2P, set the security slider to the maximum level, which disables a number of features in favour of security at the cost of usability, such as Javascript. Alternatively, select whichever setting you are most comfortable with (I find Medium-High to be a good compromise).

Another quick security consideration to be aware of is that with this setup you are relying on both the anonymity of Tor and I2P. If either is broken, you are at risk of being deanonymized, which could be of little consequence, or of life-altering consequence. If your threat model is towards the latter, this configuration may not be for you. Instead, a dedicated browser that only connects to I2P (not Tor) will be the more secure choice. However, that is outside the scope of this tutorial.

I personally use NordVPN and Digital Ocean.
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