I don't mean anonymous surfing. I mean hosting and having your own domain and such.

The reason is that my blog is about religious/political topics which may cause me trouble in the future.

This is the domain I am working on: www.james-croft.com

I know that using Whois search my name can come up: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/james-croft.com

The solution to that, as far as I understood, is to buy a privacy package from the domain registrar. in my case it is lucky register:

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Also hosting is a concern. I use the same hosting service for multiple websites.

My question is this: Can my hosting be tracked and be used to identify me?

Also: Are there other methods of finding out my identity from either Google Adsense or Amazon affiliate programs?

I couldn't find any relevant articles online. If there is anything else that is relevant, please let me know.

I appreciate any response.

  • are you are going to pay for this hosting with your credit card or wire transfer or a like?
    – Serge
    Oct 20, 2012 at 1:08
  • the hosting service that I already have (MDDhosting) is bought through paypal (with credit card). Then it can be tracked?
    – jamesCroft
    Oct 20, 2012 at 1:13
  • 2
    James, if it is religion and you are confident in your views why do you need to hide your identity? If you feel that your beliefs will not be popular with those with whom you live, then you probably need to change the place? Sorry, for my English, I am not a native speaker... Anyway, SU is not the right place to discuss this...
    – Serge
    Oct 20, 2012 at 1:35
  • 2
    Some people are not very tolerant and maybe James' financial or emotional stability relies on not offending such people. It's just speculation, but my point is that social ostracism is not a risk anyone would be willing to take. Oct 20, 2012 at 2:41
  • 1
    Great comment @jSepia . I learned a great word too. "Ostracism". Whether you work for the government or in an institution, one can be fired for some thoughts they have. It is very unfortunate. People are to be payed for the quality of work they offer, regardless of their job. However, a person can be discharged of their duties if they are found to do something "unethical" or questionable. well that is the society we live in. That is not my case though. I am originally an Iranian, and I know of Iranian who are jailed or sentenced to death for their speech. that is my concern.
    – jamesCroft
    Oct 22, 2012 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


You chance for total privacy on this domain is pretty much shot at this point. You've already connected yourself with the domain, but more importantly the domain has had your information listed in the public whois database meaning that it is already easily publicly accessible and likely stored in many places (Whois history services, marketing companies, maybe an evil government organization, etc).

Assuming you have a new domain that has always had the privacy protection enabled, you are better off, but your host, domain registrar, and other services that you work with are still bound by the laws of their country. If your host is subpoenaed, for example, they would probably be forced to release the information. Since you've mentioned MDDHosting, have you reviewed their Privacy Policy? ( http://www.mddhosting.com/privacy.php )

Going a step further, you also have to be sure that your hosting account is totally secure and not going to be hacked by an individual or group bent on getting into your site and seeing private information there, or on other sites hosted by your same hosting account.

At the end of the day, you should look at like this: The internet is a big place with many competing interests and at least one person/group who really wants to find something out probably will. Given your whois data and the other stories on the internet concerning that region, I wouldn't proceed without understanding the risks of being exposed in one way or another, which is likely to happen at some point.

(Disclaimer: I am currently employed by MDDHosting. The thoughts and views in the post are my own and shouldn't be taken to reflect upon MDDHosting in any way. All detail and information in this post as well as the information I reviewed prior to posting were done entirely using publicly available information without accessing private MDDHosting staff details.)


Noting the comments above on legal issues relating to content. These are some of the technical things to note.

  1. Find a host who let's you pay for your hosting with bit-coins. [Edit: you could probably use gift card type credit cards if they are not tied to you actual identity and you buy them a few towns over]
  2. Host your site in a country with good freedom and low censorship laws
  3. May providers will allow you to use private whois information or proxy information

If you use shared hosting, there are searches one can do against the host to see what else is hosted on that server, this would show you other sites hosted there and one can them look for identifiers or other information. The same can be down with your google analytics id, it it possible to search against an ID and find other sites using that analytics id, it's a unique value in the underlying HTML. Again, if there is identifying information on those sites they can track back to you.

If you are in fact doing something illegal, your access to update the content on your server can always be tracked by governments, potentially even if you go through TOR or private VPNs.

If you are truly concerned with privacy, you should not be using a shared host and should not do anything with any external services - they could potentially be subpoenaed to identify you. You should travel 50 miles from your house and use some free wifi with a live cd, randomize your mac, and post to a secure server.

An example of a shared host reverse search: http://www.axandra.com/free-online-seo-tool/shared-hosting-check.php

I can't find the tool I've used in the past to do Google Analytics Cross references, but here is an example of one: http://reverseinternet.com/

  • Thanks for the great and long comment. I was thinking of doing a customized wordpress site of my own. The above case seems a big headache. doable, but very hard. Just wanted to ask, how about blogger (using my own domain)? since Google is quite good with the secrecy thing. could that help with the purpose that I have? Your input is very much appreciated. :)
    – jamesCroft
    Oct 20, 2012 at 3:28
  • 1
    If the above is too much work it sounds like the actual risk is pretty low. Google is not good about privacy - check out this search on their own google news: google.com/…
    – Eric G
    Oct 20, 2012 at 16:51
  • thanks for the tip. The risk is high though. I am not a US citizen. I am an Iranian currently living in Malaysia. I want to blog about political/religious things mainly against my own country and perhaps US. I know of other bloggers who are jailed globalvoicesonline.org/2012/09/24/… That is why I want to keep my identity a secret as much as possible. again. I understand from above that doing it perfectly is quite very hard. Also from others I heard that since whois has the james-croft domain, I cannot use that and I need to find another.
    – jamesCroft
    Oct 21, 2012 at 10:19

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