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What is I2P?


Dominic David

Apr 15, 2023 | 8 min read
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You may already be aware that the Internet is not a completely free and open space . Some countries and regions engage in internet censorship , restricting access to certain websites or content. Some companies and organizations monitor your online activities, collecting your personal data or browsing history. Hackers and criminals may exploit vulnerabilities in your network to steal your passwords, bank accounts, or other sensitive information. These are all infringements on your privacy and can make you feel unsafe on the internet.


So, is there any way to mitigate these risks and maintain privacy on the internet? The answer is yes, and there is more than one solution. One of them is I2P , which is a privacy-focused network protocol, also known as a distributed anonymous network. I2P stands for Invisible Internet Project, indicating an internet project that remains unseen. Its goal is to provide users with a secure, private, and censorship-resistant communication platform, enabling users to access various services and resources on the darknet.




How does I2P work?

Advantages of I2P

Disadvantages of I2P

Differences between I2P and Tor Browser

MetroVPN - A Better Privacy Protection Solution


How does I2P work?


I2P is a distributed, decentralized, peer-to-peer network protocol that establishes an overlay on the internet, allowing your traffic to be transmitted within this layer instead of being directly exposed to the internet. This way, you can avoid censorship, surveillance, or tracking.


I2P utilizes a technique called Garlic Routing , which not only encrypts your traffic but also divides it into multiple small packets, each with different destination addresses and paths. This fragmentation resembles cloves of garlic, slicing your traffic into numerous small pieces. The benefit of this approach is that even if someone intercepts your traffic, it is challenging for them to reassemble your complete information since each packet has different destination addresses and paths.


Another characteristic of I2P is that it is not a client-server model network but a peer-to-peer network. In other words, on I2P, every user is a node and can both send and forward traffic. This self-organizing, self-optimizing, and self-healing network structure allows I2P to operate without relying on any centralized servers or institutions. Consequently, I2P can provide higher availability, scalability, and resistance to interference.


Advantages of I2P


① Decentralized

It is a decentralized network without any central servers or authoritative entities, making it challenging to censor or shut down.

② Garlic Routing

It employs Garlic Routing technology, dispersing your traffic across multiple nodes, making it difficult to trace your identity and location.

③ Open-source

It is an open-source project, allowing anyone to participate in its development and improvement.


Disadvantages of I2P


① Slow speed

Your traffic needs to pass through multiple nodes to reach its destination, and these nodes may be unstable or congested.

② Complex installation and configuration

You need to download a client and perform some settings based on your network environment.

③ Inability to access regular internet websites

Unless you use an exit node or a proxy service, accessing regular internet websites would compromise your privacy and security.

④ Bandwidth and resource consumption

It requires your bandwidth and resources as you not only act as a user but also as a node, serving other users.


Differences between I2P and Tor Browser


You may already know that Tor Browser is a popular privacy tool that allows anonymous access to the internet and darknet. So, what are the differences between I2P and Tor Browser? Let's compare their main features.

① Routing mechanism

Tor Browser uses onion routing , which means it routes your traffic through three randomly selected nodes, each node applying a layer of encryption or decryption to the traffic. Consequently, only the last node (exit node) knows your destination but not your source, while the first node (entry node) knows your source but not your destination. On the other hand, I2P utilizes garlic routing , dividing your traffic into multiple small blocks, each with its encryption layer and path. As a result, each node can only see the previous and next nodes in the path, without knowledge of the entire path or destination. Garlic routing is more complex than onion routing, making it more difficult to track.

② Network structure

Tor Browser is a layered network with two types of nodes: relay nodes and bridge nodes. Relay nodes are public and can be viewed by anyone on the Tor website, while bridge nodes are hidden and can only be discovered through specific means. Bridge nodes assist users in regions subject to censorship or blocking in using Tor Browser. In contrast, I2P is an equal network without a layered or centralized structure. Each user is a node, capable of providing services and requesting services. I2P lacks a public directory or list, with all nodes dynamically changing and remaining anonymous.

③ Service content

Tor Browser is primarily used to access websites on the internet and darknet (referred to as onion services), and it can also access websites on I2P (known as garlic services) with additional configuration. In contrast, I2P is primarily used to access websites on the darknet (referred to as garlic services), and it can also access websites on the internet (referred to as exit services) with additional proxies. I2P offers a more extensive and active range of garlic services compared to Tor's onion services, including forums, chats, email, blogs, file-sharing, games, and more.


MetroVPN - A Better Privacy Protection Solution


While I2P is a powerful privacy network tool, it also has some drawbacks such as slow speed, complex configuration, and poor compatibility. If you only seek to maintain privacy on the internet without delving into the darknet, you may not need to use I2P. There is a better alternative: MetroVPN .


MetroVPN is an excellent VPN service provider that allows you to browse the internet anonymously, hiding your real IP address and geographical location to prevent traffic interception or tracking. MetroVPN has multiple servers located globally , allowing you to switch to any country or region to bypass geographical restrictions or censorship. MetroVPN also provides encryption to ensure data security and integrity. It supports various devices and platforms, whether you are using a computer, smartphone or tablet, making installation and usage effortless.


MetroVPN offers more than just privacy protection; it also delivers faster internet speeds and access to a broader range of content and services. With MetroVPN , you can enjoy streaming vast video libraries on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and play various online games without worrying about latency or disconnections. Additionally, MetroVPN has a professional customer support team ready to assist you with any issues or difficulties.


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