TunnelBear is a middle range VPN that offers both a free VPN, albeit very limited, and a paid service. Even though they are among the middle tier VPNs, this hasn’t stopped them from offering a well-priced and easy to use service, with excellent security and privacy features. Their VPN speed is decent and does the trick, even though the number of servers and locations cannot compare to the top dogs in the business. All in all, TunnelBear offers a moderately priced VPN, with an excellent service, which is truly worth the money.
TunnelBear Pros & Cons
Rated #4th out of 35 VPNs
TunnelBear is an old company with a great track record as they have been around since 2011 and always operated well. On the home page of their website it says that they are “lightning-fast, super secure, and really simple”. But is that truly the case? Well, from what we can see, they do have decent speeds and in some areas, its truly lightning fast, and they indeed are super secure and very simple to use. But let’s take a good look at what they have to offer so you can see for yourself how good they really are and decide whether or not you should pay for their services.
Their security is backed up by a super secure OpenVPN protocol, the industry standard. Their main obfuscation technology (or the “stealth mode”) is called GhostBear, which secures your browsing and allows you to go around firewalls and blocks online. The strong encryption methods they employ will always keep you safe from your government, your internet service provider and other private businesses that tend to keep track of what people do online.
What’s more, the stealth mode they have is just an optional feature, it keeps you safe by masking the fact that you are using a VPN, but even without it, TunnelBear’s encryption methods still keep you safe enough and enable you to do what you want online.
TunnelBear seems to value transparency a lot, so it wasn’t hard for us to find out what kind of encryption they use. The strong 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard is used across all of the platforms they offer their clients for, together with SHA256 authentication. So all in all, they use an encryptionmethod that everyone would expect them to, nothing less.
All in all, with the minimal amount of users’ datawhich they do actually keep, your VPN usage can never be discovered by anyone, not even TunnelBear themselves.
However, bear in mind that even though their privacy is excellent, surpassingmany of the top VPNs in the world, they still in many ways ‘wash their hands’ of any kind of responsibility for many things in their Terms of Service (like we mentioned in the pros and cons section). This means that you should be aware that they still can change their no logs policy in time and start collecting user data. Fortunately, all indications are that they won’t do such a thing, they just seem to be saying all of this because of the fact that they truly value transparency.
Besides all the privacy and security features we already mentioned in the previous sections, TunnelBear offers several others that are worth mentioning.
One of the best features TunnelBear has is their client, especially the main Windows client. As we have already mentioned, it was obviously designed for ease of usage and with great care for the details. Everything you need is in it, from connection options to customer support. It will connect you to the nearest server by default, but it still offersthe option to chose a specific location if you want to. Furthermore, you can turn on the kill switch and stealth mode easily from the client.
You can also add trusted networks and have TunnelBear connect to one of their servers automatically if you connect to an unknown network, which will always keep you safe when using public WiFis. As for other platforms, their clients there are very similar to the Windows client, so you can expect such ease of use on all of your devices.
Unfortunately for all of you that like to use torrents, you won’t be able to with TunnelBear. As they are located in Canada, they are bound by the local laws which forbid downloading torrents.
It’s also worth mentioning that they have a decent killswitch feature called VigilantBear that will always stop your internet connection when the connection to the VPN servers drops out, keeping you safe and securing your privacy at all times.
You can naturally change your geo-location and get the ability to visit sites that are otherwise blocked for foreign IPs. The only site that you won’t be able to visit is US Netflix. However, this is expected as Netflix has recently been very successful at blocked VPNs so you will have to settle for the Netflix content from your own country either way.
TunnelBear doesn’t offer any kind of money back guarantee but since they do offer their service for free as well (which is basically a free trial of their service) they don’t have to.
You can use the free plan that offers some 500MB of usage which will give you plenty of time to test them out for yourself before you pay for them. This is quite necessary as well, as TunnelBear doesn’t offer any refunds either.
Furthermore, payment is pretty straightforward and transparent as well. You can use a credit card or a bank card to make the payment, but not PayPal as they don’t support it. The interesting thing is that they also allow payments with bitcoins.
TunnelBear’s help section is sufficiently filled with a lot of helpful things and in essence, it does offer everything you need to know about their service. If you still need further support, you should know that their customer support service is definitely decent enough, but it has its flaws. First of all, they don’t offer a live chat so you can’t expect 24/7 help like some other VPNs.
You can always contact them for help via email by using the ticket support system and you can always expect an answer within the next 24 hours. Furthermore, they are helpful and friendly, which isn’t something that can be said for every other VPN service.
For those who don’t like the fact that TunnelBear doesn’t offer 24/7 support, you’ll be pleased to know that they do have a service called TunnelBear for Teams, which is their business side offer, where you can get priority support. So if you have a company and need a reliable and always available support team from your VPN provider, TunnelBear for Teams will definitely be good for that.