TunnelBear is a Canadian company that offers a secure and user friendly VPN service. They have over 1,000 servers working in 20 different locations and can be compared to some of the top VPN servers available at the moment.
TunnelBear provides a high quality, safe service while still being extremely affordable. Its biggest differentiation from other VPN servers is that it offers a free plan and not just a trial version. Users are given 500 MB of data per month, and while this is not the ideal amount of data to browse freely, it gives users a great insight into what this service has to offer.
Their service can be used on smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop PC and VPN friendly router. TunnelBear offers browser plug-ins for Chrome and Opera and software for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.
If you’re looking into VPN servers and are curious about TunnelBear‘s performance, in this review we’ll leave aside TunnelBear’s charming website and extremely appealing design in order to help you understand how it works, the features it offers and if you should consider it an option.
What is a VPN?
VPN means Virtual Private Network and what it does is it allows users to safely connect to different networks. If you’ve ever wondered why you get warnings on your smartphone when you access a public Wi-Fi, it is because public connections are not exactly safe.
By connecting a device to a public network connection, all of your activity can be inspected and sold to advertisers (which is why all the ads you randomly see on website are correlated to your web searches).
Another use for a VPN server is that users can gain access to content that has been restricted in their areas as is bypasses geographical restriction and internet censorship. Currently, VPN is being used for streaming purposes, such as accessing Netflix’s contents from other countries or to watch sports events that only stream in some areas. However, it also used for safety purposes since it doesn’t show the exact location of the device, and of often used in countries where internet access is restricted.
By using a VPN server, you keep all your web traffic information protected from being accessed or your information sold to advertising companies. You are essentially using the server’s IP address which can be all the way across the world, and this protects your identity and location when it comes to internet browsing.
Why use TunnelBear VPN?
TunnelBear aims at allowing individuals to browse the internet in a safe and private way, having access to the same content and information as everyone else of the planet. They equip users with a private and secure connection so that they can access unrestricted content.
TunnelBear VPN allows you to:
Secure personal information: Especially when using a public Wi-Fi connection, this VPN server will protect your information and personal data from being accessed, hacked or even sold to advertisers.
TunnelBear offers a strong AES 256-bit encryption that will ensure that your personal information remains private. The server does not log users network activity, which is something most users will look for when choosing the ideal VPN service.
Protect IP address and location: While using TunnelBear‘s VPN, you’ll be able to maintain your location and IP address hidden. An IP address is a number that websites use to identify your exact location. Because you’ll be using a different server than your own, the IP address of your connection will not be where you are physically, protecting all your web traffic from being accessed or sold.
Access unrestricted internet: Because VPN servers bypass geographical boundaries, if you’re in a country with censorship or limited internet access, you’ll be able to access information from a more open internet, with less restrictions. With TunnelBear you’ll be able to access any of the 20 countries that are currently on their network.
Avoid being tracked: If you’re online, chances are companies and advertisers are tracking your web traffic and activity. TunnerBear’s servers will block these trackers, providing users with privacy while browsing the internet. Advertisers will no longer use and sell your information or track your activity.
Travel: Because TunnelBear doesn’t have geographical restrictions, while using their servers you can access your local news, websites and email in a safe way. When traveling, we’re constantly exposed to public Wi-Fi connections, but with TunnelBear you can rest assured that your connection is secured.
TunnelBear offers quite a few features in order to improve user experience and safety while browsing the internet. On their official website you can learn more in detail about these features, they include:
No Logging: As mentioned previously, TunnelBear does not log user’s activities. They aiming at providing the utmost privacy and a secure connection.
Access closest server: If you want to quickly and safely browse the internet without needing to be connected to a specific location, TunnelBear allows you to just use whichever tunnel, or server, is available closer to you.
Vigilant mode: TunnelBear remains active in case user’s connection gets disrupted. Their servers block unsecured traffic until the connection is restored and it is safe for the user to get back online.
Constant protection: TunnelBear launches when the device is turned on so that users don’t have to worry about turning on their safe connection. Anyone using TunnerBear’s services doesn’t have to worry about whether their connection is protected or not, servers are always on.
User-friendly: TunnelBear’s website is a pure reflection of the brand, simple, clever and easy to use. You can find all the information you need in easy to understand lingo so you won’t feel like a fish out of water if you’re not a tech person. Their design is not only cute and charming but it’s also clever and makes the whole experience much more pleasant and fun for users.
Safe connection: TunnelBear is all about providing secure and private connection, protecting users from public or unsafe Wi-Fi connections.
Customer support: TunnelBear has a customer support base with dedicated and knowledgeable staff that are always available via email.
Locations around the globe: TunnelBear offers servers in 20 different countries at the moment, and their list of locations is planned to expand soon.
High speed: TunnelBear is an award winning service that provides lightening fast speed. However, if you’re using their free plan, you might experience issues with speed since you’ll be limited to 500 MB of data.
Free plan: TunnelBear is one of the only VPN servers to offer a completely free plan. By signing up to the Little plan, users get 500 MB of data per month. Data can be increased by an extra 1 GB if users tweet about TunnelBear.
Bear-grade Encryption: TunnelBear uses AES 256-bit encryption which is a strong and provides the protection and safety that the company strives to achieve.
No leaks: Because TunnelBear uses a really strong and advanced encryption, their VPN servers are incredibly private and safe and prevent any information from leaking. As the company says, you’re protected by a bear.
Multiple devices: When using TunnelBear VPN, you can have up to five devices protected simultaneously in the same connection.
Ghost bear: Some websites can detect and block VPN. One example is Netflix, in order to avoid people from using VPN servers to access content from different countries, Netflix is constantly attempting to block VPN users. However, TunnelBear has the Ghost Bear feature which can curb these blockers. It helps to keep your VPN data undetected by websites, ISPs, government and companies.
One of the essential parts of using a VPN service is to be untraceable and defy geographical restrictions and censorship of different areas or countries. TunnelBear offers servers in 20 different countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, United States, Japan, France, Sweden, Singapore, Denmark, India, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil and Norway.
This allows TunnelBear users to access content from any of these localities. The paid plans, namely Giant and Grizzly give users access to all 20 locations, and the free plan, Little, gives access to all servers except Australia.
The number of servers that a VPN service offers is highly important because it means you likely won’t be sharing one particular server with many other users. In this area, TunnelBear is on the right track, offering over 1,000 serves around their 20 locations. But while it offers a large number of servers, their list of locations is still quite short when compared to other top VPN services.
Users can access TunnerBear’s services from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop PC and even a VPN-friendly router which will protect all devices connected to it. In each of TunnelBear’s plans, free or paid, users are allowed five devices to be used simultaneously.
TunnelBear offers three different plans: Little, Giant and Grizzly. Most VPN services do not offer a free option. In some cases, providers offer a very limited trial version of a few days only, usually without a refund policy so if you’re not satisfied with the short trial, you’ll be charged anyway. This is where TunnelBear differs from most of the VPN services out there.
TunnerBear’s Little plan offers users a free option that allows them to use 500 MB of data per month. Even though it’s a small amount of data, it is a great option to test out TunnelBear’s service, speed and quality before purchasing a bigger plan.
Keep in mind that users of the Little plan are given access to all locations except Australia, so essentially this plan offers 19 locations in total.
TunnelBear’s Giant plan offers unlimited data to its users and costs $9.99 per month.
And TunnelBear’s Grizzly plan is an annual plan that costs $4.17 per month for a whole year and it also offers unlimited data.
In all plans, you can use up to five devices to be protected by TunnelBear VPN Services, which is a common number offered by most VPN services. Payments can be made using Visa, Master or American Express credit cards, Tunnel Bear also accepts payments via BitCoin.
It is important to remember that TunnelBear does not offer a money back guarantee or refund of any kind. The company states that: “Many issues can contribute to sub-optimal performance (ISP, location, censorship, settings, etc.) The TunnelBear team goes to exceptional lengths to satisfy users who experience sub-optimal performance or the occasional outage. However, TunnelBear does not offer financial reimbursement due to these issues.”
Even though TunnelBear has great reviews and a functional customer support, it is always recommended to read Terms of Agreement and Policies carefully before purchasing your plan of choice.
What are the cons of TunnelBear?
TunnelBear offers a free plan and great overall service. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding to use TunnelBear’s services:
Speed: It is normal for VPNs to slow down your connection a bit since you’re adding extra traffic to your connection. TunnelBear’s free plan offers 500 MB per month, which is not enough to experience a high speed connection.
However, some TunnelBear users have complained about its speed even when using their paid plans. This could be due to their limited locations, especially if you’re using a server that is very far away from your location.
Customer support via email only: TunnelBear has a functioning and active customer support, but you can only contact them via email. There are no phone number or live chat available to fix any issues you might encounter, so the whole process might be a bit slower than usual.
Streaming issues: Streaming services such as Netflix are constantly evolving in their VPN-blocking game. Even though TunnelBear offers the Ghost Bear feature, users have had both experiences of getting through to Netflix and not being able to access Netflix while using TunnelBear. We’re guessing it depends on location and connection speed.
TunnelBear is a great option if you’re looking into VPN servers for a private and protected network. Because they offer a free plan, it becomes a great alternative to test the benefits of using VPN and understanding how TunnelBear functions.
Their focus on providing the utmost privacy has been highly recognized, their features are all targeted at using a rock-solid encryption and adding more technology to ensure that their users activity remains private, not logged and not leaked.
Their prices are extremely affordable for all plans and justified by their services. Even with the small issues that users have commented upon, TunnelBear is still worth checking out, their website is extremely easy to navigate and their design and bear-motif is very well-created and pleasing.
TunnelBear does appear to have been carefully designed, both technologically and aesthetically and it delivers a service that can be compared to some of the top VPN services available today.
We do recommend checking them out and trying their free plan called Little first, and then seeing if it’s something that is interesting to you to purchase. Browse through their website and contact their customer support if you have any questions. Enjoy your secure, private browsing!