How Anonymous is a Web Page?

I am quite upset with my employer and am presently having childlike fantasies of taking my revenge by buying a web page where I could let the world know the Whole Truth. On the other hand, I am too much of a wuss to do it if I could get caught.

Besides that would negate the thrill of watching them go nits when someone discovers the web page.

So, how easily can someone find out the name of the owner/author of web page? What step could I take to throw them off the trail?

Without sounding like a putz, I have to ask - aren’t you doing pretty well, financially, being an American working in Saudi? The last guy I talked to who did that made hundreds of thousands of dollars and returned to America very rich and content. Be thankful you have the opportunity to profit.

Hm. And selling out is the American dream to you, obviously.


To answer the question, though - Websites are not at all anonymous. It’s very easy to find the registrant of a domain name.

Not that there’s Also note that they will deny or suspend service and will disclose personal information for several reasons, including:

“If it comes to DBP’s attention that You are using DBP’s services for purposes of engaging in, participating in, sponsoring or hiding Your involvement in, illegal or morally objectionable activities, including but not limited to, activities which are designed, intended to or otherwise: (i) appeal purely to the prurient interests of third parties; ** (ii) defame, embarrass, harm, abuse, threaten, or harass third parties**…”

So maybe the best thing is to just not do it.

It certainly is - however, there are services out there that will act as a proxy for you, so their details display, rather than yours.

Also, you can just not get a domain name, and instead use the URL a lot of free hosting providers give you: or something like that.

It depends how far you think your investigators are likely to go. If they find the site, and think “hmmm… could belong to that disgruntled employee” and have a quick look, then you’re fine. However, if they’re going to dig deeply, they can find out.

IANAL (obviously), but I believe that companies are under obligation to divulge information if a court request is made. If you were to use the domain proxy thing I mentioned, I’m sure the proxy are required to supply names of people using the service if required by legal request. Also if you were to go for the no-domain solution, the hosting providor is probably required to give out information for similar reasons. And, even if you use a pseudonym to set those up (somehow), someone can find out the IP address of the person who put the pages up there, and then get your ISP to blab.

Reckon they’d go to all that trouble?

Damn you, cricetus, and my slow-typing fingers!

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. I am still kicking the idea around.

I am making USD36K per year as an English teacher, that is about the going rate. My most recent paycheck was six weeks late. They have cut the pay of my Filipino coworkers by twenty-five percent. They are planning to move me from this very nice villa to a slum.

I am very angry about the treatment of the Pinoys.

In any case, I would suppose I could pay some kid in the US (maybe a nephew?) to do the technical stuff for me. The page would be aimed at alerting potential recruits of the company’s problems. (One Pakistani guy paid the usual huge fees to get here for a job we do not have. We are flying him back this week.)

When the page is discovered, the company would be as inept investigating it as they are with everything else they do. They will know it is the work of a disgruntled employee, but they will be unable to get any sort of court order, or to do any heavy-duty investigating. They are evil, but not very capable.

Other means of revenge going through my mind are even less mature.

you can be completely anonymous on free sites (geocities, tripod, etc.) but they suck. it’s a bit trickier when you buy a domain name, but I can’t really think of a reason why you couldn’t lie about who you are when you buy it online. In fact, I think I’ve done it before. Also, I believe has a way of anonymizing your registration information for a small additional fee.

Also, check out this cool webhoster. I made an anonymous website here once.

it’s extremely cheap and completely anonymous.

Can you document any of your grievences? presumably you would be on much safer ground if your site was discovered if you could actually demonstrate that your claims were true.

As some others have noted, there’s a difference between an anonymous domain name and an anonymous web site. Normally, a domain name’s owner can be found by looking it up in the WHOIS database. (See here , for example). Some domain registrars allow you to register a domain anonymously. I think that means that your information is just withheld from the WHOIS system; I presume that the registrar knows who you are, since you have to pay them. Assuming that’s the case, then your degree of anonymity depends on the registrar’s privacy policy (i.e., will they refuse to tell your employer who you are) and your employer’s willingness/ability to press the issue (i.e., are they prepared to hire a lawyer and go to court to compel the registrar to identify you?).

If you’re satisfied with putting up some content without your own domain name, anonymity is a bit easier. Assuming that you’re using a free service, I don’t see any reason that you can’t put in fake identifying information. I’m no expert on this, but I think the only way you could be tracked down in that case is if the service hosting your content logs your IP address. If they do, then in theory someone could subpoena the IP information from the hosting service, then serve a subpoena on your ISP to find out who was using that IP address at that time (again, assuming the ISP has that information). This is potentially a fair bit of work, if either the hosting service or the ISP wants to be difficult.

Note: I’m assuming that the entities with your information (domain registrar, web host, ISP) are in the U.S. If the “paper trail” is entirely in Saudi Arabia, all bets are off; I have no idea how things work over there.

One final caveat: Remember that tracking you down through technical means isn’t the only way to find out who you are. Sometimes people give themselves away through the content they post. If you post information that only a few people are privy to, or say things that echo remarks you’ve made around the office, they might be able to identify you with a bit of common sense.

And, the usual disclaimer: I’m not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Make you wonder how a nation of 250 million couldn’t figure out who Deep Throat was.

Yes, they have stopped giving us paper with bad news on it, as it was finding it way to the newspapers here. So now all bad news is handled verbally.

I hired a lawyer last month to look into it. He reported the prince who owns my company has a long history of ignoring court rulings against him.

Paul, I just wanted to say that I empathize with your situation. Here in Japan there are also many schools that are known to take advantage of foreign English teachers. A few years ago, a disgruntled formal employee from one of those schools did exactly what you are considering. I just did a search and the original site seems to be gone, but I was able to find it through the wayback machine here. I thought you might find it interesting. Unfortunately though, it looks like most of the links on the page no longer work.

Here’s a quote from the site:

Unlike your plan, however, I think the individual who made that site did not do it until after he had already quit working for the school, and I also believe he never tried to keep his identity a secret.

At any rate, good luck to you. I hope your situation improves.

I guess it does not have the same appeal, but you could just make a post to newsgroups, and be reasonably sure of google and others archiving it.


If it’s Gulf/Middle East-relevant, which it presumably is, I would be happy to blog about it. That said, I have to always change/disguise/omit actual names and details for obvious legal reasons - truth is no defence to libel anywhere here, as you know. But if it amused you to think that at least a few other people were snickering over DodgyKSACompany and empathising with you, then by all means email me.

Of course, by admitting to it here, you’ve already created a electronic paper trail no matter what else you do.

Well istara, it is a start I will shoot you a PM on Wednesday or Thursday.

Much thanks.

While it’s not possible to be completely anonymous, there are several steps that someone could theoretically take to make tracking them down cumbersome.

  1. Use someone else’s computer. For example, many public libraries and some colleges have computers that are available for anyone to use.
  2. Use an anonymizing service, such as (there are many)
  3. Use a free website provider such as Geocities.

So let’s say you do all this. Someone stumbles upon your site and wants to find out who you are. They would have to convince Geocities to check their logs to find the IP that you visited them from. Which would lead them to the anonymizing service. So they’d then have to convince them to get the real IP you were using. That would lead them to the library or college or whatever. They’d then have to convince that place to figure out who was using X computer at Y time, assuming they keep such logs.

However, as has been already pointed out, there’s a real risk of revealing one’s identity merely through the content of the site.

Nitpick: It was already being handled verbally. Now it’s being handled orally.