VPNs are often used on public networks to protect against hackers and snoopers. They are also used to conceal your IP address, browsing activities, and private information on any Wi-Fi network, including your own.
However, sometimes choosing a VPN service that works best for you might not be an easy task. Thus, we have reviewed the most popular VPN services here so that you can decide which service will work for you.
If you want to find out whether the most popular Tunnelbear VPN is the right VPN choice for you, keep reading!
- Availability of free version
- Easy to use for beginners
- No-logs backed by annual audits
- Top-notch security features
- Lesser server locations
- Lack of advanced features
- Limited customer support
- Less value for a high price
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows
Number of devices
Amount of servers
With the widespread knowledge and awareness regarding cyberattacks, internet users are becoming more concerned about their privacy day by day.
According to the latest research, as of February 2019, 39 percent of internet users in Europe were greatly or somewhat concerned about their online privacy compared to a year ago. At the same time, 53 percent of internet users worldwide agreed with the statement.
To cope with this privacy threat, one must take action to secure your workplace and digital household devices. Using a VPN is one such security measure that you must consider while using public and private networks.
What is a Tunnelbear?
Tunnelbear is a public VPN service based in Canada that offers about 500+ servers in 49 countries. Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk founded and operated this VPN service in 2011, but a cybersecurity firm – McAfee, acquired it in 2018.
It is an excellent VPN service if you’re a complete beginner and have no idea about using VPNs. This is because of its basic and easy-to-use apps. Although the limited number of advanced features may not satisfy advanced users, it makes the process much simpler if you’re new to utilizing a VPN.
The custom apps are likewise simple to set up. All you have to do is download the software from the Tunnelbear website and login in. It’s a little more complicated with Linux, but the Tunnelbear website has easy step-by-step instructions for Linux installation.
How much does Tunnelbear cost?
Like Hotspot shield and Proton VPN, which we have reviewed earlier, Tunnelbear also offers a free VPN version. However, this free version limits you to 500 MB bandwidth per month, similar to the Hotspot shield free version. Hence, the free version of Proton VPN is better since it provides unlimited bandwidth.
There are two kinds of paid plans offered by Tunnelbear, which are compared below:
|Price||From $3.33 per month||$5.75/user per month|
|Number of devices||5||5 per user|
|Customer Support||Priority customer service||Dedicated account manager
Centralized team billing and management
However, this “Unlimited” subscription plan is divided into three tiers based on the purchase period. These three tiers are described below:
- Monthly plan: This is the most expensive plan in which you will have to pay $9.99 for a one-month subscription.
- Yearly plan: If you buy the annual plan, it will be much more affordable since it costs a $59.88 annual payment ($4.99 per month).
- 3-year plan: This plan is the most budget-friendly as it requires you to pay $99.99 for the first two years ($3.33 per month).
This shows that Tunnelbear has diverse short and long-term paid plans. However, we recommend you test the free version and see if it works for you before buying one of these long-term paid plans.
All the payments made for Tunnelbear subscriptions are non-refundable, and there is no money-back guarantee.
The payment methods are limited, including payments from credit and debit cards and Bitcoin. However, some international payment methods are not accepted, such as PayPal, Union Pay, and AliPay.
Is Tunnelbear suitable for streaming?
No, Tunnelbear is not the best choice for streaming since it can be a hit or miss. It helps unblock region-restricted content on US Netflix and HBO Max, but not on Disney+, BBC iPlayer, or Hulu.
The free version can also unblock US Netflix, but the 500 MB bandwidth limit will not let you stream for long. Also, since there are no city-level server locations available, if the US server that streams Netflix stops working, there are no backup alternatives.
However, we could stream HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video, which are only available in the United States. Tunnelbear can be used if you’re a fan of these platforms, but still, we cannot guarantee its accuracy.
Is Tunnelbear secure?
Yes, Tunnelbear is a safe VPN to use. Its security is reliable and leak-free, but it isn’t extensive. There aren’t many advanced features or customization possibilities. On Android, however, there is a split tunneling functionality.
For Windows, Mac OS, and Android, both the free and premium versions are fully encrypted with the AES-256 encryption. Also, on iOS and Windows, the Open VPN protocol is the default, but the IKEv2 protocol is also available. Though Open VPN protocol is the current mainstream technology, both IKEv2 and OpenVPN are safe and reliable VPN protocols.
By testing Tunnelbear’s apps, no IP address or DNS leaks were observed. This is because full disc encryption, virus scanning, and intrusion security features are installed on each Tunnelbear server.
Moreover, private DNS servers, total forward privacy, and a secure Diffie-Hellman key exchange are also used by Tunnelbear VPN. The latter assures that you’re connected to a confirmed Tunnelbear server every time you use the VPN.
Tunnelbear Advanced Security Features
In addition to the security protocols mentioned above, Tunnelbear also includes a limited number of other advanced security features described below.
“VigilantBear” is the name of Tunnelbear’s kill switch. If the VPN connection is lost, it restricts web traffic. This is an essential component of any leading VPN because it protects your actual IP address from being revealed. 🤩
On Windows, Mac, and Android smartphones, VigilantBear is available. However, it is not available on iOS because of Apple’s strict guidelines.
Tunnelbear’s Ghostbear protocol is another powerful security feature.
Its purpose is to disguise your VPN traffic as “regular” data, making it more difficult for governments, businesses, and ISPs to detect and stop your VPN connection. However, it will cause the web traffic to slow down. 🤓
Two other features named RememBear (password manager) and SplitBear (split tunneling) are also available for Android devices.
Tools that are still needed
Although Tunnelbear has some excellent security features, it is still not wholly flexible and lacks other advanced security features.
There is no port forwarding or double (multi-hop) VPN. For example, you have no control over your encryption settings. 🙁
Tunnelbear has an apparent and transparent logging policy for its users, easily understood. The company does not keep track of any information that could be linked to your online activities.
The only information stored in Tunnelbear logs is the email address required to verify your account. However, your browsing history, DNS requests, IP address, and connection timestamps are not recorded.
Since Tunnelbear is based in Canada, it is also subjected to US data rules which means that your information can be revealed on demand. But, the strict logging policy and regular transparency reports indicate that it is still a safe VPN to use.
Byte 255 investigated Tunnelbear’s code in January 2017 and published the findings on Hacker Noon. ACCORDING TO THE PAPER, the VPN has no privacy problems, and it does not gather any unneeded telemetry data.
Moreover, since 2017, Tunnelbear has also hired cybersecurity firm Cure53 to conduct four annual independent security audits. Tunnelbear’s apps, code, and infrastructure were examined during these audits.
Hence, these pieces of evidence demonstrate Tunnelbear’s dedication to transparency and user protection, and we can safely say that Tunnelbear is a secure VPN to use.
Torrenting with Tunnelbear
Although Tunnelbear allows you to torrent on all of its servers, we still wouldn’t recommend you use this VPN for torrenting. This is because the company wants to avoid distributing copyrighted content, and hence, none of its servers are P2P optimized.
Moreover, the company also has the right to terminate your account without warning if it believes that you have violated copyright laws.
Furthermore, if you compare the torrent download speeds of Tunnelbear to the best VPNs for torrenting, you will find them to be relatively slow. For example, in our tests, we found that the average download speed of Tunnelbear was about three times slower than ExpressVPN.
However, there are some benefits of Tunnelbear if you use it for torrenting, such as the “VigilantBear” kill switch feature. This feature will hide your IP address if the connections stop during torrenting.
Secondly, the transparent logging policy of this VPN is sufficient to keep your torrenting activity hidden. No IP leaks were found during the torrent leak tests. The free version also allows torrenting, but the 500 MB per month bandwidth limit will not allow you to download large files.
Tunnelbear has had a reputation for being a slow VPN for the past years. It also performed poorly in our speed tests, probably because it is not equipped with the mainstream WireGuard protocol like its competitors.
Tunnelbear VPN reduced download and upload speed test results by 46.6 and 57.1 percent, respectively, in our tests. It resulted in a 100 percent increase in delay.
Hence, we do not recommend you purchase this VPN if speed is your main priority since many other faster VPNs are available in the market.
Device compatibility of Tunnelbear app
Tunnelbear includes bespoke VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android devices. However, for Linux Operating systems, you can install the VPN manually.
However, this VPN cannot be installed on any router. Additionally, there are no apps for Amazon Firestick or Android TV and no Smart DNS service. This means that Tunnelbear will not work with gaming consoles, Apple TV, Roku, or smart TVs, in general.
This terrible lack of compatibility goes against the company’s user-friendly image. As a result, more plug-and-play VPN options for your PlayStation, Xbox, and other devices are recommended.
Tunnelbear’s free and premium versions both let you use up to five devices simultaneously with only one subscription, which is the industry standard for VPN services.
FAQs - Tunnelbear
Yes, the free version of Tunnelbear is available with a limited bandwidth of 500 MB per month. Thus, it is not suitable for streaming or torrenting for a more extended period, and the overall speed is disappointing. Hence, we recommend using this version to test out this VPN service.
No, Tunnelbear doesn’t offer live chat support 24 hours a day which is a big drawback of this VPN. However, a bot can guide you regarding your queries by suggesting support articles from the Tunnelbear website. Although these articles are straightforward to understand, they are not as reliable as 24/7 live chat support.
Yes, Tunnelbear does offer split tunneling but only on Android devices. The split tunneling feature lets you share some web traffic to your ISP while sending the rest through an encrypted VPN tunnel. An example of this feature in action would be allowing you to watch geo-restricted content on Netflix through your ISP while browsing the web simultaneously.
Tunnelbear offers limited device compatibility. Although Tunnelbear has apps for the most commonly used devices, installing them on a router is impossible. There are no apps for streaming devices such as the Fire TV Stick. As a result, if you intend to utilize a VPN on your Smart TV or gaming consoles, Tunnelbear is not the right pick for you. Only use this VPN if you wish to use it on your desktop or mobile device.
Tunnelbear might not be the fastest or most advanced VPN service, but it is still the most beginner-friendly VPN we have reviewed. It’s an easy-to-use interface, and comprehensive support articles are helpful for those who are new to using VPNs.
However, this VPN service is not recommended for advanced users since it lacks many advanced features offered by other VPNs. Moreover, the slow speeds and high cost for less value just don’t cut it.
Hence, we highly recommend Tunnelbear free version if you are a complete beginner. However, if you are an advanced user, we suggest you look for other better options available.
Head of content