This post is a complete review of TunnelBear with a comprehensive Guide on the features you need to know.
TunnelBear is a public virtual private network service based in Toronto, Canada. The company was founded by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk in 2011.
It can operate on Android, Linux, iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows. There’s also a browser extension for both Chrome and Opera
It offers its users both free and paid VPN services. However, the free version is only limited to 500MB/month bandwidth.
On a good note, their VPN software uses the industry standard (strong) OpenVPN protocol, as well as 256-bit AES encryption
Post-Overview of TunnelBear
I will keep it simple but concise and straight to the point. You will learn about its products and services offered.
Below is the breakdown of what I would be covering:
- About TunnelBear
- Compatible Devices
- Features of TunnelBear
- Speed and Performance
- Price (Free or Paid version)
- Privacy and Security
- Pros and Cons
1. About TunnelBear
TunnelBear has been on the market for 7 years now. But has it stood the test of time because of good service, or is it just all the adorable bears?
Formed in 2011 by Ryan Dochuk (Corporate Bear) and Daniel Kaldor (Quantum Bear) and based in Toronto, Canada, TunnelBear has built a pretty solid base as a reliable VPN.
Using AES 256-bit encryptions to protect data, TunnelBear has placed quite a high priority on security and privacy, despite being based in one of the “Five Eyes” countries.
It includes a kill-switch, called VigilantBear, which is constantly being checked, tested, and upgraded. Another handy feature, GhostBear, can allow you to disguise your connection.
This can help to bypass walls so you can watch US Netflix or BBC iPlayer, however these don’t always work.
With all that in mind, let’s take a closer look at their features and options.
2. Compatible Devices
In terms of compatibility, TunnelBear supports only a handful of devices.
From its official website, you can only use TunnelBear on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and browsers (Chrome, Firefox & Opera).
It currently doesn’t support Kindle/eReaders, Windows mobile phones, Apple TV, Android TV, gaming consoles and even modems/routers.
Finding a VPN that supports the devices you use is of course critical. Some VPNs are limited to supporting one single device or operating system, usually Microsoft Windows.
Some services support multiple devices, but you can only use a single type of device with each license.
For example, you would need to buy one license for your Windows devices, another for your Android devices, and so on.
Like other great VPN’s, TunnelBear supports multiple device types, and you can mix and match as you wish within a single license.
TunnelBear for Windows
The TunnelBear Windows client is attractive and can be navigated without any difficulty. It is uncomplicated and gets the job done within without any complex menus or configurations.
The client allows you to connect with different server locations through its map. You can access servers from 23 different countries by simply clicking on their respective tunnels.
The client allows you to toggle between GhostBear, VigilantBear and other security features. It does not confuse you with a plethora of options but does allow you to configure the software as per your liking.
TunnelBear for macOS
Similar to the Windows app, the macOS app of TunnelBear is just as good. Server selection is quite snappy and everything just works effortlessly. Here’s how the user interface looks like:
TunnelBear for Android
As I have explained above, this VPN has a sleek app for Android OS. I used the app myself and my experience was extremely pleasant.
Similar to the Windows app, the Android app of TunnelBear allows you to easily select different servers by navigating through a simple and intuitive map.
TunnelBear for iOS
The iOS version of TunnelBear is quite good. The app is lightweight and works without any glitches. Not only that but I also really like the subtle animations throughout the app.
The Browser support takes the form of plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Only browser content is protected with anything outside the browser left unprotected.
TunnelBear also provides limited support for devices that run the Linux operating system, but the instructions apparently haven’t been updated since 2014.
If you are interested in using TunnelBear with Linux be sure to test the connection using the free version before investing your money! All in all, TunnelBear provides support for the types of devices a typical user is likely to want to protect.
3. Features of TunnelBear
TunnelBear provides native app support for the big 4 device platforms: iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.
They also offer browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera platforms. In addition, TunnelBear offers an ad blocker extension for Chrome.
Although the provider doesn’t offer a native Linux app, they do provide details on how to use their service with the Linux operating system.
The service does not offer router compatibility. So, users who are looking for a way to protect all of their devices at once will be forced to take their hunt elsewhere.
Its apps offer kill switch protection (known as “VigilantBear”), as well as a “GhostBear” feature that makes your encrypted traffic look more like regular internet traffic. (This is also known as connection obfuscation.)
The provider advises to only use GhostBear if you’re having issues connecting to its servers, as the feature will cause your VPN connection to slow down or not work at all.
When connecting to TunnelBear, you’ll have the option to connect to any one of the mere 22 countries where the Bear has server honeypots located.
You won’t find any options for connecting to specific cities, or for special purposes, such as streaming or P2P file sharing. The service doesn’t offer any server numbers.
Compared to most of its competitors, TunnelBear’s server network could be considered “bearly” there. (I promise, just a few more bear puns.) The provider does support P2P file sharing, but suggests keeping such activity to its servers in Canada, U.S., U.K., Romania, the Netherlands, Germany or Sweden.
The provider’s apps are arguably the easiest-to-use apps I’ve ever tested. If you’re a beginner VPN user who’s looking for an easy way to keep your online travels undercover, TunnelBear definitely “bears” a look.
4. Speed and Performance
Before I share TunnelBear’s connection speeds, I’d like to share with you Pixel Privacy’s methods of speed testing.
We conduct all VPN connection speed tests using a gigabit Ethernet connection located in the United States. We perform the tests using the provider’s Windows app and connect via OpenVPN over UDP.
We test by connecting to 3 separate server locations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Hong Kong. For 3 days, we perform 3 tests per day, spaced at least 4 hours apart. We then average all of the speed test readings.
TunnelBear’s download speeds measured in at an average of 55 Mbps. While these are certainly fast, the provider’s lack of streaming support and limited P2P file-sharing support mean these speeds can’t be put to much use for two of the most popular VPN activities.
TunnelBear doesn’t restrict your online access with a data cap or bandwidth restrictions on paid subscription plans. Free subscriptions are limited to 500MB data per month, but there are no bandwidth limitations.
5. Price (Free or Paid version)
TunnelBear offers two premium subscription options and one limited free account.
Signing up for a free account will grant you 500MB of free data per month, but you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account for unlimited data and other premium features, like multiple simultaneous connections.
You can choose a monthly or annual subscription. TunnelBear’s annual plan offers the best overall deal as it’s heavily discounted.
TunnelBear accepts MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and BitCoin.
6. Privacy and Security
TunnelBear does a top-notch job of protecting you, both online and after the fact.
The furry provider uses government-level encryption to protect your internet connection, using the OpenVPN (on macOS, Windows, and Android devices) and IPSec/IKEv2 (on iOS) protocols.
DNS leak protection is turned on by default, and the previously-mentioned VigilantBear feature kills your internet connection if contact is lost with the provider’s VPN servers.
TunnelBear also protects you from anyone finding out what online antics you enjoyed while connected to the Bear, as it keeps absolutely no logs of any kind related to your online activities.
It does, however, record which operating system you’re using, whether or not you’ve connected during the month and the total amount of data you’ve used this month.
The provider also accepts Bitcoin, which keeps your payment info completely anonymous.
In addition, TunnelBear offers another payment option, and here’s where things get sticky. The provider will accept jars of honey as payment for their services.
The USD/honey exchange rate can vary, so check with the provider’s customer support bears for the current rate.
7. Pros and Cons
- high security
- utilizes a no-log setting
- fast connection
- Speed Problems (Slow)
- No Router Installation
- No Netflix
TunnelBear is secure and easy to use. It offers great connection speeds, and some very useful privacy tools, like its GhostBear mode.
Unfortunately, it was not able to bypass Netflix US’ VPN block. So, if streaming is your main concern, I’d recommend trying a leading vendor instead.
Check out our top five recommended VPNs for unblocking Netflix. With these vendors, you have speed, reliability, and safe streaming.
However, if you’re security-minded, or looking for a VPN that works in China, TunnelBear may be the best choice for you.
This is where I will wrap up the post for today.
I hope I did not leave anything? If I did tell me below in the comment section.
Also, tell me:
Have you downloaded any VPN yet?
If not download and install TunnelBear, try it out and let’s know your experience in the comment section.
Or maybe you have a question let me know in the comment section.
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